Writing in a recent issue of the Harvard Alumni Bullotin, Professor Hocking of the Philosophy department presented a view of education that gently rebukes the modern schools of educational theory that say the only way to learn is by doing. Acknowledging the importance of translating thoughts into action, he emphasizes the importance of fostering ideals and values of life before any decisive action is taken.
College youth because of its plasticity and transitory nature is peculiarly susceptible to the influx of new ideals and standards of value. But there are few men who consciously strive for some definite formulation of their ideas on these subjects of vital importance. The vast majority of students are engaged in the accumulation of facts and rarely are they concerned with the implications of these upon their personal life. Content to amass a rich store of factual data most students see in this process only a means of either pleasantly spanning the years of their youth or of acquiring a technical background for a career in the world. Why they want to engage in one occupation rather than another, what values in life are important, and how they fit into the plan of the universe are questions that are neglected either from sheer indifference or a failing to appreciate their significance.
If men are to realize themselves and engage in any kind of rational action they must find for themselves certain values and a feeling tone that may sift the stimuli they encounter in some ordered way. Students should be aware that learning is a great deal more than the acquisition of details and that it is but a basis for fostering wisdom and understanding, a preparation for action that cannot be decisive or personally worthwhile without some conscious formulation of values.