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X. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES FOR THE TEACHER






From: How to Teach

t has been indicated here and there throughout the previous chapters
that, despite the fact that there are certain laws governing the various
mental traits and processes, still there is variation in the working of
those laws. t was pointed out that people differ in kind of memory or
imagination in which they excel, in their ability to appreciate, in the
speed with which they form habits, and so on. n other words, that boys
and girls are not exact duplicates of each other, but that they always
differ from each other. Now a knowledge of these differences, their
amounts, interrelations, and causes are very necessary for the planning
of a school system or for the planning of the education of a particular
child. What we plan and how we plan educational undertakings must always
be influenced by our opinion as to inborn traits, sex differences,
specialization of mental traits, speed of development, the respective
power of nature and of nurture. The various plans of promotion and
grouping of children found in different cities are in operation because
of certain beliefs concerning differences in general mental ability.
Coeducation is urged or deplored largely on the ground of belief in the
differing abilities of the sexes.

Exact knowledge of just what differences do exist between people and the
causes of these differences is important for two reasons. First, in
order that the most efficient measures may be taken for the education of
the individual, and second, in order that the race as a whole may be
made better. Education can only become efficient and economical when we
know which differences between people and which achievements of a given
person are due to training, and which are due more largely to original
equipment or maturity. t is a waste of time on the one hand for
education to concern itself with trying to make all children good
spellers--if spelling is a natural gift; and on the other hand, it is
lack of efficiency for schools to be largely neglecting the moral
development of the children, if morality is dependent primarily on
education. Exact knowledge, not opinions, along all these lines is
necessary if progress is to be made.

The principal causes for individual differences are sex, remote
ancestry, near ancestry, maturity, and training. The question to be
answered in the discussion of each of these causes is how important a
factor is it in the production of differences and just what differences
is it responsible for. That men differ from women has always been an
accepted fact, but exact knowledge of how much and how they differ has,
until recent years, been lacking. Recently quantitative measurement has
been made by a number of investigators. n making these investigations
two serious difficulties have to be met. First, that the tests measure
only the differences brought about by differences in sex, and not by any
other cause, such as family or training. This difficulty has been met by
taking people of all ages, from all sorts of families, with all kinds of
training, the constant factor being the difference in sex. The second
difficulty is that of finding groups in which the selection agencies
have been the same and equally operative. t would be obviously unfair
to compare college men and women, and expect to get a fair result as to
sex differences, because college women are a more highly selected group
intellectually than the college men. t is the conventional and social
demands that are primarily responsible for sending boys to college,
while the intellectual impulse is responsible to a greater extent for
sending girls. Examination of children in the elementary schools, then,
gives a fairer result than of the older men and women. The general
results of all the studies made point to the fact that the differences
between the sexes are small. Sex is the cause of only a small fraction
of the differences between individuals. The total difference of men from
men and women from women is almost as great as the difference between
men and women, for the distribution curve of woman's ability in any
trait overlaps the men's curve to at least half its range. n detail the
exact measurements of intellectual abilities show a slight superiority
of the women in receptivity and memory, and a slight superiority of the
men in control of movement and in thought about concrete mechanical
situations. n interests which cannot be so definitely measured, women
seem to be more interested in people and men in things. n instinctive
equipment women excel in the nursing impulse and men in the fighting
impulse. n physical equipment men are stronger and bigger than women.
They excel in muscular tests in ability to "spurt," whereas women do
better in endurance tests. The male sex seems on the whole to be
slightly more variable than the female, i.e., its curve of distribution
is somewhat flatter and extends both lower and higher than does that of
the female; or, stated another way, men furnish more than their
proportion of idiots and of geniuses.

Slight though these differences are, they are not to be disregarded, for
sometimes the resulting habits are important. For instance, girls should
be better spellers than boys. Boys should excel in physics and
chemistry. Women should have more tact than men, whereas men should be
more impartial in their judgments. With the same intellectual equipment
as women, men should be found more often in positions of prominence
because of the strength of the fighting instinct. The geniuses of the
world, the leaders in any field, as well as the idiots, should more
often be men than women. That these differences do exist, observation as
well as experiment prove, but that they are entirely due to essential
innate differences in sex is still open to question. Differences in
treatment of the sexes in ideals and in training for generation after
generation _may_ account for some of the differences noted.

What these differences mean from the standpoint of practice is still
another question. Difference in equipment need not mean difference in
treatment, nor need identity of equipment necessarily mean identity of
training. The kind of education given will have to be determined not
only by the nature of the individual, but also by the ideals held for
and the efficiency demanded from each sex.

Another cause of the differences existing between individuals is
difference in race inheritance. n causing differences in physical
traits this factor is prominent. The American ndians have physical
traits in common which differentiate them from other races; the same
thing is true of the Negroes and the Mongolians. t has always been
taken for granted that the same kind of difference between the races
existed in mental traits. To measure the mental differences caused by
race is an extremely difficult problem. Training, environment,
tradition, are such potent factors in confusing the issue. The
difficulty is to measure inborn traits, not achievement. Hence the
results from actual measurement are very few and are confined to the
sensory and sensorimotor traits. Woodworth, in summing up the results of
these tests, says, "On the whole, the keenness of the senses seems to be
about on a par in the various races of mankind.... f the results could
be taken at their face value, they would indicate differences in
intelligence between races, giving such groups as the Pygmy and Negrito
a low station as compared with most of mankind. The fairness of the test
is not, however, beyond question."[14] The generality of this conclusion
concerning the differences in intelligence reveals the lack of data. No
tests of the higher intellectual processes, such as the ability to
analyze, to associate in terms of elements, to formulate new principles,
and the like, have, been given. Some anthropologists are skeptical of
the existence of any great differences, while others believe that though
there is much overlapping, still differences of considerable magnitude
do exist. At present we do not know how much of the differences existing
between individuals is due to differences in remote ancestry.

Maturity as a cause of differences between individuals gives quite as
unsatisfactory results as remote ancestry. Every thoughtful student of
children must realize that inner growth, apart from training, has
something to do with the changes which take place in a child; that he
differs from year to year because of a difference in maturity. This same
cause, then, must account to some extent for the differences between
individuals of different ages. But just how great a part it plays, what
per cent of the difference it accounts for, and what particular traits
it affects much or little, no one knows. We say in general that
nine-year-old children are more suggestible than six-year-old, and than
fourteen-year-old; that the point of view of the fifteen-year-old is
different from that of the eleven-year-old; that the power of sense
discrimination gradually increases up to about sixteen, and so on. That
these facts are true, no one can question, but how far they are due to
mere change in maturity and how far to training or to the increase in
power of some particular capacity, such as understanding directions, or
power of forced attention, is unknown. The studies which have been
undertaken along this line have failed in two particulars: first, to
distribute the actual changes found from year to year among the three
possible causes, maturity, general powers of comprehension and the like,
and training; second, to measure the same individuals from year to year.
This last error is very common in studies of human nature. t is taken
for granted that to examine ten year olds and then eleven year olds and
then twelve year olds will give what ten year olds will become in one
and two years' time respectively. To test a group of grammar grade
children and then a group of high school and then a group of college
students will not show the changes in maturity from grammar school to
college. The method is quite wrong, for it tests only the ten year olds
that stay in school long enough to become twelve year olds; it measures
only the very small per cent of the grammar school children who get to
college. n other words, it is measuring a more highly selected group
and accepting the result obtained from them as true of the entire group.
Because of these two serious errors in the investigations our knowledge
of the influence of maturity as a cause of individual differences is no
better than opinion. Two facts, however, such studies do make clear.
First, the supposition that "the increases in ability due to a given
amount of progress toward maturity are closely alike for all children
save the so-called 'abnormally-precocious' or 'retarded' is false. The
same fraction of the total inner development, from zero to adult
ability, will produce very unequal results in different children. nner
growth acts differently according to the original nature that is
growing. The notion that maturity is the main factor in the differences
found amongst school children, so that grading and methods of teaching
should be fitted closely to 'stage of growth,' is also false. t is by
no means very hard to find seven year olds who can do intellectual work
in which one in twenty seventeen year olds would fail."[15]

The question as to how far immediate heredity is a cause of differences
found between individuals, can only be answered by measuring how much
more alike members of the same family are in a given trait than people
picked at random, and then making allowance for similarity in their
training. The greater the likenesses between members of the same family,
and the greater the differences between members of different families,
despite similarities in training, the more can individual differences be
traced to differences in ancestry as a controlling cause. The answer to
this question has been obtained along four different lines: First,
likenesses in physical traits; second, likenesses in particular
abilities; third, likenesses in achievement along intellectual and moral
lines; fourth, greater likenesses between twins, than ordinary siblings.
n physical traits, such as eye color, hair color, cephalic index,
height, family resemblance is very strong (the coefficient of
correlation being about .5), and here training can certainly have had no
effect. n particular abilities, such as ability in spelling, the stage
reached by an individual is due primarily to his inheritance, the
ability being but little influenced by the differences in home or school
training that commonly exist. n general achievement, Galton's results
show that eminence runs in families, that one has more than three
hundred times the chance of being eminent if one has a brother, father,
or son eminent, than the individual picked at random. Wood's
investigation in royal families points to the same influence of ancestry
in determining achievement. The studies of the Edwards family on one
hand and the so-called Kallikak family on the other, point to the same
conclusion. Twins are found to be twice as much alike in the traits
tested as other brothers and sisters. Though the difficulty of
discounting the effect of training in all these studies has been great,
yet in every case the investigators have taken pains to do so. The fact
that the investigations along such different lines all bear out the same
conclusion, namely, that intellectual differences are largely due to
differences in family inheritance, weighs heavily in favor of its being
a correct one.

The fifth factor that might account for individual differences is
environment. By environment we mean any influence brought to bear on the
individual. The same difficulty has been met in attempting to measure
the effect of environment that was met in trying to measure the effect
of inner nature--namely, that of testing one without interference from
the other. The attempts to measure accurately the effect of any one
element in the environment have not been successful. No adequate way of
avoiding the complications involved by different natures has been found.
One of the greatest errors in the method of working with this problem
has been found just here. t has been customary when the effect of a
certain element in the environment is to be ascertained to investigate
people who have been subject to that training or who are in the process
of training, thus ignoring the selective influence of the factor itself
in original nature. For instance, to study the value of high school
training we compare those in training with those who have never had any;
if the question is the value of manual training or Latin, again the
comparison is made between those who have had it and those who haven't.
To find out the influence of squalor and misery, people living in the
slums are compared with those from a better district. n each case the
fact is ignored that the original natures of the two groups examined are
different before the influence of the element in question was brought to
bear. Why do some children go to high school and others not? Why do some
choose classical courses and some manual training courses? Why are some
people found in the slums for generations? The answer in each case is
the same--the original natures are different. t isn't the slums make
the people nearly so often as it is the people make the slums. t isn't
training in Latin that makes the more capable man, but the more
intellectual students, because of tradition and possibly enjoyment of
language study, choose the Latin. t is unfair to measure a factor in
the environment and give it credit or discredit for results, when those
results are also due to original nature as well, which has not been
allowed for. t must be recognized by all those working in this field
that, after all, man to some extent selects his own environment. n the
second place, it must be remembered that the environment will influence
folks differently according as their natures are different. There can be
no doubt that environment is accountable for some individual
differences, but just which ones and to what extent are questions to
which at present the answers are unsatisfactory.

The investigations which have been carried on agree that environment is
not so influential a cause for individual differences in intellect as is
near ancestry. One rather interesting line of evidence can be quoted as
an illustration. f individual differences in achievement are due
largely to lack of training or to poor training, then to give the same
amount and kind of training to all the individuals in a group should
reduce the differences. f such practice does not reduce the
differences, then it is not reasonable to suppose that the differences
were caused in the first place by differences in training. As a matter
of fact, equalizing training _increases_ the differences. The superior
man becomes more superior, the inferior is left further behind than
ever. A common occurrence in school administration bears out this
conclusion reached by experimental means. The child who skips a grade is
ready at the end of three years to skip again, and the child who fails a
grade is likely at the end of three years to fail again. Though
environment seems of little influence as compared with near ancestry in
determining intellectual ability _per se_, yet it has considerable
influence in determining the line along which this ability is to
manifest itself. The fact that between 1840-44, 9.4 per cent of the
college men went into teaching as a profession and 37.5 per cent into
the ministry, while between 1890-94, 25.4 per cent chose the former and
only 14 per cent the latter, can be accounted for only on the basis of
environmental influence of some kind.[16]

Another fact concerning the influence of environment is that it is very
much more effective in influencing morality than intellect. Morality is
the outcome of the proper direction of capacities and tendencies
possessed by the individual, and therefore is extremely susceptible to
environmental influences. We are all familiar with the differences in
moral standards of different social groups. One boy may become a bully
and another considerate of the rights of others, one learns to steal and
another to be honest, one to lie and another to be truthful, because of
the influence of their environments rather than on account of
differences in their original natures. We are beginning to recognize the
importance of environment in moral training in the provisions made to
protect children from immoral influences, in the opportunities afforded
for the right sort of recreation, and even in the removal of children
from the custody of their parents when the environment is extremely
unfavorable.

Though changes in method and ideals cannot reduce the differences
between individuals in the intellectual field to any marked extent, such
changes can raise the level of achievement of the whole group. For
instance, more emphasis on silent reading may make the reading ability
of a whole school 20 per cent better, while leaving the distance between
the best and worst reader in the school the same. Granting that
heredity, original nature, is the primary cause of individual
differences in intellect (aside from those sex differences mentioned)
there remains for environment, education in all its forms, the
tremendous task of: First, providing conditions favorable for nervous
health and growth; second, providing conditions which stimulate useful
capacities and inhibit futile or harmful capacities; third, providing
conditions which continually raise the absolute achievement of the group
and of the race; fourth, providing conditions that will meet the varying
original equipments; fifth, assuming primary responsibility for
development along moral and social lines.

Concerning those individual differences of which heredity is the
controlling cause, two facts are worthy of note. First, that human
nature is very highly specialized and that inheritance may be in terms
of special abilities or capacities. For instance, artistic, musical, or
linguistic ability, statesmanship, power in the field of poetry, may be
handed down from one generation to the next. This also means that two
brothers may be extremely alike along some lines and extremely different
along others. Second, that there seems to be positive combinations
between certain mental traits, whereby the presence of one insures the
presence of the other to a greater degree than chance would explain. For
instance, the quick learner is slow in forgetting, imagery in one field
implies power to image in others, a high degree of concentration goes
with superior breadth, efficiency in artistic lines is more often
correlated with superiority in politics or generalship or science than
the reverse, ability to deal with abstract data implies unusual power to
deal with the concrete situation. n fact, as far as exact measures go,
negative correlations between capacities, powers, efficiencies, are
extremely rare, and, when they occur, can be traced to the influence of
some environmental factor.

ndividuals differ from each other to a much greater degree than has
been allowed for in our public education. The common school system is
constructed on the theory that children are closely similar in their
abilities, type of mental make-up, and capacities in any given line.
Experimentation shows each one of these presuppositions to be false. So
far as general ability goes, children vary from the genius to the
feeble-minded with all the grades between, even in the same school
class. This gradation is a continuous one--there are no breaks in the
human race. Children cannot be grouped into the very bright, bright,
mediocre, poor, very poor, failures--each group being distinct from any
other. The shading from one to the other of these classes is gradual,
there is no sharp break. Not only is this true, but a child may be
considered very bright along one line and mediocre along another.
Brilliancy or poverty in intellect does not act as a unit and apply to
all lives equally. The high specialization of mental powers makes
unevenness in achievement the common occurrence. Within any school grade
that has been tested, even when the gradings are as close as those
secured by term promotions, it has been found in any subject there are
children who do from two to five times as well as others, and from two
to five times as much as others. Of course this great variation means an
overlapping of grades on each side. n Dr. Bonser's test of 757 children
in reasoning he found that 90 per cent of the 6A pupils were below the
best pupils of 4A grade and that 4 per cent of 6A pupils were below the
mid-pupils of the 4A, and that the best of the 4A pupils made a score
three times as high as the worst pupils of 6A. Not only is this
tremendous difference in ability found among children of the same class,
but the same difference exists in rate of development. Some children can
cover the same ground in one half or one third the time as others and do
it better. Witness the children already quoted who, skipping a grade,
were ready at the end of three years to skip again. ariability, not
uniformity, is what characterizes the abilities and rate of intellectual
growth of children in the schools, and these differences, as has already
been pointed out, are caused primarily by a difference in original
nature.

There is also great difference between the general mental make-up of
children--a difference in type. There is the child who excels in dealing
with abstract ideas. He usually has power also in dealing with the
concrete, but his chief interest is in the abstract. He is the one who
does splendid work in mathematics, formal grammar, the abstract phases
of the sciences. Then there is the child who is a thinker too, but his
best work is done when he is dealing with a concrete situation. Unusual
or involved applications of principles disturb him. So long as his work
is couched in terms of the concrete, he can succeed, but if that is
replaced by the _x, y, z_ elements, he is prone to fail. There is
another type of child--the one who has the executive ability, the child
of action. True, he thinks, too, but his forte is in control of people
and of things. He is the one who manages the athletic team, runs the
school paper, takes charge of the elections, and so on. For principles
to be grasped he must be able to put them into practice. The fourth type
is the feeling type, the child who excels in appreciative power. As has
been urged so many times before, these types have boundaries that are
hazy and ill defined; they overlap in many cases. Some children are of a
well-defined mixed type, and most children have something of each of the
four abilities characteristic of the types. Still it is true that in
looking over a class of children these types emerge, not pure, but
controlled by the dominant characteristics mentioned.

The same variation is found among any group of children if they are
tested along one line, such as memory. Some have desultory, some rote,
some logical memories; some have immediate memories, others the
permanent type. n imagery, some have principally productive
imagination, others the matter-of-fact reproductive; some deal largely
with object images that are vivid and clear-cut, others fail almost
entirely with this type, but use word images with great facility. n
conduct, some are hesitating and uncertain, others just the reverse;
some very open to suggestions, others scarcely touched at all by it;
some can act in accordance with principle, others only in terms of
particular associations with a definite situation. So one might run the
whole gamut of human traits, and in each one any group of individuals
will vary: in attention, in thinking, in ideals, in habits, in
interests, in sense discrimination, in emotions, and so on. This is one
of the greatest contributions of experimental psychology of the past ten
years, the tremendous differences between people along all lines,
physical as well as mental.

t is lack of recognition of such differences that makes possible such a
list of histories of misfits as Swift quotes in his chapter on Standards
of Human Power in "Mind in the Making." ndividual differences exist,
education cannot eliminate them, they are innate, due to original
nature. Education that does not recognize them and plan for them is
wasteful and, what is worse, is criminal.

The range of ability possessed by children of the same grade in the
subjects commonly taught seems not always to be clear in the minds of
teachers. t will be discussed at greater length in another chapter, but
it is important for the consideration of individual differences to
present some data at this time. f we rate the quality of work done in
English composition from 10 to 100 per cent, being careful to evaluate
as accurately as possible the merit of the composition written, we will
find for a seventh and an eighth grade a condition indicated by the
following table:


==========================================
QUALTY OF COMPOSTON GRADES
7 8
------------------------------------------
_No. of Pupils_
Rated at 10 2 1
Rated at 20 6 6
Rated at 30 8 8
Rated at 40 7 8
Rated at 50 2 4
Rated at 60 1 1
Rated at 70 1 1
Rated at 80 1 1
Rated at 90 1 1
==========================================

The table reads as follows: two pupils in the seventh grade and one in
the eighth wrote compositions rated at 10; six seventh-grade and six
eighth-grade pupils wrote compositions rated at 20, and so on for the
whole table.

A similar condition of affairs is indicated if we ask how many of a
given type of addition problems are solved correctly in eight minutes by
a fifth- and a sixth-grade class.

=============================================
NUMBER OF GRADES
PROBLEMS 5 6
---------------------------------------------
_No. of Pupils_
0 2 3
1 6 6
2 6 6
3 6 6
4 4 5
5 4 5
6 3 4
7 1 2
8 1 1
9 1 1
=============================================

n like manner, if we measure the quality of work done in penmanship for
a fifth and sixth grade, with a system of scoring that ranks the
penmanship in equal steps from a quality which, is ranked four up to a
quality which is ranked eighteen, we find the following results:

===============================================
QUALTY OF PENMANSHP GRADES
5 6
-----------------------------------------------
_No. of Pupils_
Rated at 4 5 6
Rated at 5 1 1
Rated at 6 0 0
Rated at 7 2 4
Rated at 8 10 4
Rated at 9 12 1
Rated at 10 3 6
Rated at 11 3 8
Rated at 12 3 3
Rated at 13 1 2
Rated at 14 1 1
Rated at 15 0 1
Rated at 16 1 1
Rated at 17 0 0
Rated at 18 0 0
===============================================

Results similar to those recorded above will be found if any accurate
measurement is made of the knowledge possessed by children in history or
in geography, or of the ability to apply or derive principles in physics
or in chemistry, or of the knowledge of vocabulary in Latin or in
German, and the like.

All such facts indicate clearly the necessity for differentiating our
work for the group of children who are classified as belonging to one
grade. Under the older and simpler form of school organization, the
one-room rural school, it was not uncommon for children to recite in one
class in arithmetic, in another in geography or history, and in possibly
still another in English. n our more highly organized school systems,
with the attempt to have children pass regularly from grade to grade at
each promotion period, we have in some measure provided for individual
differences through allowing children to skip a grade, or not
infrequently by having them repeat the work of a grade. n still other
cases an attempt has been made to adapt the work of the class to the
needs and capacities of the children by dividing any class group into
two or more groups, especially in those subjects in which children seem
to have greatest difficulty. Teachers who are alive to the problem
presented have striven to adjust their work to different members of the
class by varying the assignments, and in some cases by excusing from the
exercises in which they are already proficient the abler pupils.

Whatever adjustment the school may be able to make in terms of providing
special classes for those who are mentally or physically deficient, or
for those who are especially capable, there will always be found in any
given group a wide variation in achievement and in capacity. Group
teaching and individual instruction will always be required of teachers
who would adapt their work to the varying capacities of children. A
period devoted to supervised study during which those children who are
less able may receive special help, and those who are of exceptional
ability be expected to make unusual preparation both in extent and in
quality of work done, may contribute much to the efficiency of the
school. As paradoxical as the statement may seem, it is true that the
most retarded children in our school systems are the brightest.
Expressed in another way, it can be proved that the more capable
children have already achieved in the subjects in which they are taught
more than those who are tow or three grades farther advanced. Possibly
the greatest contribution which teachers can make to the development of
efficiency upon the part of the children with whom they work is to be
found in special attention which is given to capable children with
respect to both the quantity and quality of work demanded of them,
together with provision for having them segregated in special classes or
passed through the school system with greater rapidity than is now
common. n an elementary school with which the writer is acquainted, and
in which there were four fifth grades, it was discovered during the past
year that in one of these fifth grades in which the brighter children
had been put they had achieved more in terms of ability to solve
problems in arithmetic, in their knowledge of history and geography, in
the quality of English composition they wrote, and the like, than did
the children in any one of the sixth grades. n this school this
particular fifth grade was promoted to the seventh grade for the
following year. Many such examples could be found in schools organized
with more than one grade at work on the same part of the school course,
if care were taken to segregate children in terms of their capacity. And
even where there is only one teacher per grade, or where one teacher
teaches two or three grades, it should be found possible constantly to
accelerate the progress of children of more than ordinary ability.

The movement throughout the United States for the organization of junior
high schools (these schools commonly include the seventh, eighth, and
ninth school years) is to be looked upon primarily as an attempt to
adjust the work of our schools to the individual capacities of boys and
girls and to their varying vocational outlook. Such a school, if it is
to meet this demand for adjustment to individual differences, must offer
a variety of courses. Among the courses offered in a typical junior high
school is one which leads directly to the high school. n this course
provision is made for the beginning of a foreign language, of algebra,
and, in some cases, of some other high school subject during the seventh
and eighth years. n another course emphasis is placed upon work in
industrial or household arts in the expectation that work in these
fields may lead to a higher degree of efficiency in later vocational
training, and possibly to the retention of children during this period
who might otherwise see little or no meaning in the traditional school
course. The best junior high schools are offering in the industrial
course a variety of shop work. n some cases machine shop practice,
sheet metal working, woodworking, forging, printing, painting,
electrical wiring, and the like are offered for boys; and cooking,
sewing, including dressmaking and designing, millinery, drawing, with
emphasis upon design and interior decoration, music, machine operating,
pasting, and the like are provided for girls. Another type of course has
provided for training which looks toward commercial work, even though it
is recognized that the most adequate commercial training may require a
longer period of preparation. n some schools special work in
agriculture is offered.

Our schools cannot be considered as satisfactorily organized until we
make provision for every boy or girl to work up to the maximum of his
capacity. The one thing that a teacher cannot do is to make all of his
pupils equal in achievement. Whatever adjustment may have been made in
terms of special classes or segregation in terms of ability, the teacher
must always face the problem of varying the assignment to meet the
capacities of individual children, and she ought, wherever it is
possible, especially to encourage the abler children to do work
commensurate with their ability, and to provide, as far as is possible,
for the rapid advancement of these children through the various stages
of the school system.


QUESTONS


1. What are the principal causes of differences in abilities or in
achievement among school children?

2. What, if any, of the differences noticed among children may be
attributed to sex?

3. Are any of the sex differences noticeable in the achievements of the
school children with whom you are acquainted?

4. To what extent is maturity a cause of individual differences?

5. What evidence is available to show the fallacy of the common idea
that children of the same age are equal in ability?

6. How important is heredity in determining the achievement of men and
women?

7. To what extent, if any, would you be interested in the immediate
heredity of the children in your class? Why?

8. To what extent is the environment in which children live responsible
for their achievements in school studies?

9. What may be expected in the way of achievement from two children of
widely different heredity but of equal training?

10. For what factor in education is the environment most responsible?
Why?

11. f you grant that original nature is the primary cause of individual
differences in intellectual achievements, how would you define the work
of the school?

12. Why are you not justified in grouping children as bright, ordinary,
and stupid?

13. Will a boy who has unusual ability in music certainly be superior in
all other subjects?

14. Why are children who skip a grade apt to be able to skip again at
the end of two or three years?

15. Are you able to distinguish differences in type of mind (or general
mental make-up) among the children in your classes? Give illustrations.

16. What changes in school organization would you advocate for the sake
of adjusting the teaching done to the varying capacities of children?

17. How should a teacher adjust his work to the individual differences
in capacity or in achievement represented by the usual class group?

* * * * *





Next: XI. THE DEVELOPMENT OF MORAL SOCIAL CONDUCT

Previous: IX. THE MEANING OF PLAY IN EDUCATION



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