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THOUGHT AND MEMORY
A CONTRIBUTION TO PEDAGOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
G. STANLEY HALL, LL.D.
HERMAN T. LUKENS, PH.D.
DOCENT IN CLARK UNIVERSITY
D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS
A SHORT time ago a teacher complained to the author that she could not get any real help in her school-work from reading psychologies and books on education. It is hoped that the following book will give help to such teachers, not only by the central idea that stands out so prominently, but by its copious illustrations and descriptions of mental phenomena, as well as by the practical applications in the last chapters. The teacher needs descriptive psychol ogy far more than metaphysical psychology.
Even a few simple exercises, such as those recommended on page 5 for grammar school pupils, would greatly help teachers toward appreciating the character of the mental processes with which they have to deal. Observation work thus begun will be found so interesting and attractive that it will easily lead to further introspection and study of the laws of association (cf. pp. 41, 42). But still more help will be gained if teachers will watch how their own pupils think and reason. Make notes of the observations, and compare them with such records as those reported in the Pedagogical Seminary, vol. ii. pp. 358–396.
There is nothing in all of this that any bright teacher cannot readily understand. But the mistake is too frequently made of supposing that whatever the teacher learns she must forthwith tell her pupils. Nothing could
be more fatal to good teaching than to attempt to make the child think logically, or learn lessons by the Herbartian formal steps. But every teacher should know how children do think, and what the necessary steps in acquiring knowledge really are, so as to be able to get out of the way and not hinder the pupil's progress, as well as to be able when necessary to give just the help that is needed.
The monograph treatment is eminently adapted to a work of this kind. Two of the most helpful and suggestive books for teachers are already published in this form: Radestock's Habit and Its Importance in Education, and Lange's Apperception. It is earnestly hoped that others will follow. Until the chief points in school-work are thus treated, we cannot expect any firm basis for a general work, nor would the teachers get much assistance from such general reading. For self-instruction, the teacher needs clearness, fulness, and practical applications. These are the qualities aimed at in a monograph.
The German monograph on which the following work is based grew out of round-table conferences in a teachers' reading circle formed for the purpose of study in educational psychology. In writing a book for American teachers I have tried to keep true to the best ideals in the German, while at the same time being perfectly free to add to, omit, or modify, any statement or ideas whatever. When I visited Rector Dörpfeld in 1890, to talk over these and other matters with him, he not only gave me full permission to translate his work, but urged me to make any changes and additions I saw fit. Thus it has come to pass
that this work, while quoting very largely from Dörpfeld's, and being based on it so far as its essential central idea is concerned, is yet in no strict sense a translation. Whenever better ideas have been found elsewhere, they have been unhesitatingly substituted. The explanation of the common origin of the two laws of memory, for instance, is radically opposed to the view expressed by Dörpfeld and all other Herbartians. But I do not believe in the Herbartian view on this point, and hence have re-written that part entirely. The same is true of many other less important parts. All of the bibliographical references, and likewise many of the illustrations, are additions.
On the other hand, everything that was essentially German and local in its allusion has been omitted. For the many controversial points with other German educators, and long explanations applicable to religious instruction in Germany only, the reader is referred to the German work. It is now in its fifth edition, in the present issue of the Collected Works of F. W. Dörpfeld, 11 vols. Gütersloh; C. Bertelsmann, 1894-1895. Dörpfeld died in October, 1893.
In conclusion, I wish to thank President G. Stanley Hall and Dr. Wm. H. Burnham for their encouragement and help in the work of revision and of publication. I am also greatly indebted to the following friends: President Charles De Garmo, Dr. C. C. Van Liew, Dr. Charles A. McMurry, and Dr. Frank M. McMurry, for valuable suggestions while the book was passing through the press.
CLARK UNIVERSITY, June, 1895.
H. T. L.