SCORES AMERICAN SYSTEM OF CHARACTER EDUCATION
HOLDS THINKING NOT INCIDENTAL TO KNOWLEDGE
The deepest and perhaps the most interesting difference between the French and American point of view can be expressed in a few words: formation of character versus training of intelligence," Professor Andre Morize, Associate Professor of French Literature, told a CRIMSON reporter, when interviewed at his office in the Widener Library stacks yesterday. "The underlying idea of American education seems to be to regard teachers of every grade as pedagogues rather than as trainers."
Professor Morize resents certain newspaper write-ups of his recent address before the New Jersey Federation of Women's Clubs, which merely exaggerated minor points of his speech and missed the real purpose. "It seems to me," he continued, explaining to the reporter just how he felt that American education, on the whole, puts the formation of character before the training of intelligence. This is natural if you go back to the origins and traditions of both nations--Anglo-Saxon mind versus Latin Culture. One may ask, today, however, whether the general conditions of our civilization do not call for a revision and readjustment of the old values.
Ranks Brains Before Character
"Last year in a convention in Canada one of your leading American educators said that it was less dangerous in a nation to have second class brains than to have second class character. I cannot agree with this. For an ideal community consisting of ideal individuals there may be something in it, but we are not living in an ideal world. We are living in a hard, exacting, tremendously complicated world, in which problems, values, and issues are so diversified, interwoven, obscure often, that character alone is not a sure and practical guarantee, unless it is. I do not say helped, but led and directed by intelligence.
Thinking Not Incidental to Knowledge
"Often today," Professor Morize went on, "the most difficult thing is not to do one's duty, but to know what that duty is. A first class character will strongly desire to do his duty, but with a second class brain it may lead to a bad mistake. I find that in American colleges and universities thinking too often appears as an incidental result of knowledge, rather than as the main and essential aim of education."
Quotes President Hadley
Professor Morize gave the reporter the following quotation from a speech of President Hadley's, which the Harvard Professor says shows that others beside foreigners uphold his views. "Nine people out of ten believe that the way to train a boy to think is to impart as much knowledge to him as possible. They do not distinguish between the possession of information and the power or habit of thought; or at any rate they assume that if you can secure the former, the latter follows as a matter of course. In no other field of life do we meet this confusion. No sensible man could think that the way to train a boy to ride was to give him as many horses as possible, or that if you could secure the necessary horses the riding would follow as a matter of course."
Scores Lavish Building
Professor Morize next discussed the question of the enormous expenditures of money on the buildings and equipment of American institutions and their machinery, of learning. "When a Frenchman comes to this country, he is over whiningly impressed by the splendid buildings of your universities. Even your high school buildings are often superior to anything we have. The French teacher accustomed to sort of laissez-faire and casy-going ways, notices quickly her that your machinery works with a perforation that he has never known nor imagined. But he cannot escape the impression that the machine itself sometimes assumes an importance somewhat too great and that something of the automatic and of the mechanical enters into the whole of education.
"You realize that modern society must have not only writers, orators, and lawyers, but good workmen, good technicians, men capable of producing, of administering, of trading, of buying, and selling, in the most scientific and effective way. We, with our old-world minds are not ready for the day when the Sorbonne and the College de Francs will have professorships of laundry management, of ten-room management, or of leo-cream making. But when we think of the time when, in the Chamber Des Deputes, they wanted to forbid the development of the railroads because they would prevent the cows from grazing at liberty and giving good milk, we are forced to admit that our ancient prejudices in favor of general culture and humanism have at times made us narrow minded, and a belt out-of-date.
French Teach Real Composition
"We do have a better system of teaching writing in France than you have, though," concluded Professor Morize. "Here at Harvard I doubt if there are more than a dozen men who can really write an original composition, and they are mostly the men who write editorials for the CRIMSON or the Advocate. When a man writes a thesis for his Ph. D. degree, he really rewrites something from an encyclopedia. There is nothing really original about it. You can't blame him, however, for not being original for he has never been taught to English A is a good course, but it involves mechanical writing, net imaginative. In the French schools the students are made to write at least one original essay each week. In this way they really learn to write."