Conflicting Psychologies of Learning

Conflicting Psychologies of Learning

Conflicting Psychologies of Learning

Conflicting Psychologies of Learning

Excerpt

During recent years there has been much activity in the field of psychology. New movements are appearing, and old beliefs are undergoing criticism and revision. In spite of the fact that psychology prides itself on being a science, its deepest problems are of a kind that cannot be solved by the application of scientific technique. These problems are problems of interpretation, and they all trace back to the fundamental problem of the nature of mind. Consequently, psychology at present is a scene of confusion and violent disagreement. There is a steadily mounting mass of data, but we do not know what they mean.

When considered as part of a teacher's professional equipment, psychology is of significance for the light that it sheds on the nature of the learning process. To the teacher it is all-important whether the learning process centers in habit-formation, or the cultivation of "insight," or the untrammelled development of original tendencies. Unfortunately, the choice among such alternative views cannot be decided by appeal to experiment. In the end it must rest on a theory of mind, and the considerations which determine our theory of mind extend far beyond the data of experimentation. This may be a hardship for the teacher, but it cannot be helped. For the teacher, a study of psychology that does not clarify his thinking regarding the nature of mind is Hamlet with Hamlet left out.

That much of our educational psychology does not concern itself greatly with the question of the nature of mind . . .

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