Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
TEACHER, STUDENT, AND PROBLEM

The Measure of Social Study . The measure of man's quest for social guidance will be found largely in the study of the social problems which have arisen in his career of adjustment and readjustment to his human backgrounds and relationships. This is particularly true in the modern era, with its rapid change, its complex civilization, and its multiplied social relationships. Such a quest, guiding process of social development, golden ideal of the ages, has become in the modern world, not only the keynote of social effort and aspiration, but the fundamental objective of social science and social study. Measures of success in social study will be conditioned partly by general cultural situations and social forces. But most of all the successful study of social problems will be conditioned by teacher and student, on the one hand, and by scope, methods, and facilities, on the other. This will be true of the general results of social study as expressed in social policy and social progress, as well as in effective teaching in college classroom. The purpose of this chapter, therefore, is to introduce teacher, student, and field of study through a prefatory discussion of problems, scope, and methods.

The Good Teacher . In the annals of social guidance, education, and leadership, the story of the good teacher is preëminent. In our American Masters of Social Science we have pointed out how the record of the social studies, as revealed in progress from meager beginnings to the larger accomplishments of the new era, can be told most effectively in the lives and work of pioneer teachers and masters. In the story of the work which these great teachers did and in the individuals whom they inspired to follow after them will be reflected one of the most important epochs of modern social development. Here was a Burgess, dignified, gracious, urbane, firm; a Turner, with lively and irrepressible intellectual curiosity; a Ward, with quiet dignity, deep emotion, and fine sympathy; a Small, bearing himself with the quiet elo-

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