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to service, but these are not sufficient to arouse real interest in the vast majority of the race. Here and there
one finds a man in whom interest is aroused by the unsolved problem, by the reward of fame and the pleasure
of achievement, but such persons are rare. The average man (and woman), in my experience, loses interest in
anything that does not directly benefit him or in which his personal competitive feeling is not aroused. Interest
becomes vague and ill-defined the farther the matter concerned is from the direct personal good of the
individual, and proportionately it becomes difficult to sustain it.
That is why in our day "dollars and cents" appeals to interest are made; away with abstracts, away with
sentiment; the publicity man working for a good cause now uses the methods of the man selling shoes or
automobiles: he attempts to show that one's interest and cooperation are demanded and necessary because
one's direct personal welfare is involved. Whether or not ethically justifiable, it is a recognition of the fact that
interest is aroused and sustained, for the majority, by some direct personal involvement.
Thus in education, a fact to be learned, or a subject to be studied, should be first sketched or placed in some
use value to the student. Knowledge for knowledge's sake is appealing only to the rare scholar, he who
palpitates with interest over the relationship of things to one another, he who seeks to discover values. Now
and then one finds such a person, one thrown into sustained excitement by learning, but the great majority of
students, whether in medicine, law or mathematics, are "practical," meaning that their interests are relatively
narrow and the good they seek an immediate one to be reaped by themselves. Recognizing this fact in the
abstract, the most of teaching is conducted on the plane of the real scholar, and the average student is left to
find values for himself. From first to last in teaching I would emphasize usevalue; true,...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University.
- Spring '11