The Development of Modern Education: In Theory, Organization, and Practice


In the fast changing world of today there is evidence on every hand to indicate that even the most conservative thinker has accepted the view that radical reconstruction of our social life is necessary if we as a nation are to bring ourselves out of these difficult times and to readjust the social order in the interest of human welfare. We can no longer follow a laissez-faire policy, characteristic of the 19th century, and avoid such serious calamities as have overtaken us from time to time in our history. There is need for a definitely planned social order if we would avoid further chaos. While thinkers are in disagreement as to methods, they are in full agreement as to fundamental needs. Our problem, therefore, is one of method of procedure.

Moreover, one of the most vital and fundamental considerations of our social life -- one that is receiving most continuous attention -- is education. In its earlier history, education followed a more or less planless procedure. The scientific movement of the 19th century has had a vast influence upon the schools; the change has led to the expansion of curriculum subject matter and to new methods of instruction. There has been a reòmphasis upon subject-matter values rather than a fundamental change in the purpose and function of education itself or in the schools as instruments of formal instruction.

It is clear that we are today at the crossroads where we shall have to select a new direction, where education must serve a new purpose, if it is to contribute to the solution of the problems of the new social order. Education must be a planned procedure, and not a hit-and-miss process. It must concern itself with the whole individual as a member of our social life, a unit functioning in a complex social order. We can no longer concern ourselves primarily with subject matter and method, however important they may be as means to an end. We shall have to concern ourselves with the whole in-

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • E. George Payne.
  • William Rainey Harper
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1934


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