Principles of Mental Development: A Text-Book in Educational Psychology

Principles of Mental Development: A Text-Book in Educational Psychology

Principles of Mental Development: A Text-Book in Educational Psychology

Principles of Mental Development: A Text-Book in Educational Psychology

Excerpt

Recent developments in Biology, Neurology and Psychology have been slow to find their way into the field of Education. Since these developments demand a revision in points of view regarding the nature of the learning process, the mental development of the child, and methods of instruction, a textbook in Educational Psychology, based on the new discoveries, should prove to be useful for prospective teachers. Not only the sciences just named but in all science, including Physics and Mathematics, radical changes are taking place. These changes all have the one feature in common of repudiating atomistic and mechanistic preconceptions, based upon absolutistic methods of thinking. In Physics the movement, now familiar in a general way to everyone, is based on principles of relativity. In Biology the corresponding development may be characterized as organismic, while the advances in Psychology have their origin in the concept of Gestalt.

Since the main feature of all these developments is logically the same, even the most conservative of thinkers are forced to the recognition that a new and general basis for an interpretation of Nature has been discovered. This fact becomes all the more obvious when one inspects the history of science. Since man first attempted to give a rational account of natural phenomena, mechanistic assumptions have prevailed. That they are now being abandoned, independently, in practically every branch of human thought, is reason for the supposition that progress in science, including the conception of problems for experimental attack, is a product of evolution. That the progress should have been made independently by specialists in various fields gives added weight to its significance.

These facts explain why experiment has yielded such striking and surprising results. Progress is not alone a matter of empirical discovery. Theory advances with experiment and experiment with theory, and at all times theory has prevailed . . .

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