THE PLACE OF BIOLOGY IN EDUCATION
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expenditure for social services on philanthropicgrounds, without waiting to test by results whethersuch expenditure has been efficient and economic.One or two instances may be quoted ; the mortalityfrom tuberculosis had been falling steadily and
rapidly since the middle of the nineteenth century,before a great scheme of public expenditure in attack-ing this disease was undertaken in the second decadeof the present century; the incidence of the diseasehas continued to abate, but evidence is lacking thatthe large expenditure of public money has in anyway expedited the fall; further, the incidence of thedisease has been falling with equal rapidity in other.civilised countries where no such large expenditurein attacking it has been undertaken. During thepresent century a great fall in infant mortality hastaken place, which was, in some cases, too hurriedlyascribed to maternity and infant welfare clinics, untilit was noted that in districts where no such activitieshad been adopted an equal fall in mortality had beentaking place.
Multiplication of such facts is unnecessary; butthey undoubtedly point to the need for overhaulingour national housekeeping in this respect. We aretoo ready to think we know how to prevent and tocure, and to persuade the legislature, which after alltrusts its medical advisers somewhat blindly, to
proceed to legal enactments. Meanwhile, as thecommittee points out, there is no obvious relationin the health services generally between expenditure-and results. The object of social services should beto establish an efficient population, quite apart from.any philanthropic motives ; but this object is lostwhen the charges placed upon the healthy for
maintaining the unhealthy are so heavy as to causethe healthy to be drifting themselves into the ranksof the unhealthy ; of this, at the present time, withthe present charges upon private purses, there isundoubted danger.The committee points out many ways in which
economies can be effected by close attention to detail.For this reason, if for no other, its report is to bewelcomed, more particularly with regard to theestablishment and running of public health institu-tions, such as asylums and hospitals. The time isoverdue when all such institutions should be closelyinspected, and have their requirements carefullyorganised on wholesale terms.
THE PLACE OF BIOLOGY IN EDUCATION
DURING a conference organised in London lastweek by the British Social Hygiene Council, thenational and imperial need for a biological outlookwas the first subject discussed. Lord CHELMSFORDpresided.
NEED FOR A BIOLOGICAL OUTLOOK‘
Sir MICHAEL SADLER, Master of University College,Oxford, said that biological ideas were seeping intopolitical thought and schoolroom technique, and
urged the inclusion of the life-sciences in our concep-tion of a liberal education.
Mr. G. W. OLIVE, headmaster of Dauntsey’s School,summarised the obstacles encountered by the schools.The chief of these is to be found in the presentexamination system ; the requirements of the schoolcertificate examination exclude biology though theyinclude chemistry and physics. Moreover, there is alack of suitable teachers of biology and of laboratoryaccommodation and equipment. He too believed,
however, that the claims of biology are cultural, and: that children cannot face the future properly unless. they carry away from school some facility for, assimilating broad biological principles.
The place of biology in public education was, discussed by Prof. A. V. HILL at the afternoon session.. It was no longer necessary, he said, to argue in favour, of the necessity for teaching science in schools, and, there was even a danger of premature specialisation, in science, usually in physics and chemistry. He
thought that biology should be taught as a generalsubject to every student, with status equal to that ofmathematics, literature, and history, but not greater.One of the best ways of improving the status ofbiology in schools would be to reform the degreeexaminations at the older universities. If Cambridgecould be induced to insist that no candidate shouldgain first-class honours in science unless he took atleast one physical and one biological subject, and thatcollege scholarship examinations in science shouldexact the same requirement, reform of science
teaching in the schools would follow. The chief hope,however, lay with the local authorities, who wouldmake a great contribution to educational progress ifthey would see that secondary schools under theircontrol gave biology an adequate place in thecurriculum.
BIOLOGY IN THE TRAINING COLLEGE
A session on biology in the training colleges wasalso held during the afternoon of Nov. 30th. Thechairman, Sir RICHARD GREGORY, referred to the
opinion of the Prime Minister’s committee on ThePlace of Natural Science in Education, that the
teaching of elementary biology should be a part ofthe normal curriculum of boys’ schools, and remarkedthat it did not seem to have had much effect.Mr. W. K. SPENCER, inspector of science for trainingcolleges, said that biology was the main sciencetaught in training colleges for women, and that alarge number of teachers in training for senior schoolsand most of those in training for junior and infantschools took a course of biology. Since it would beimpossible to increase laboratory teaching in the
training colleges without throwing an impossiblestrain on staff and equipment, many principals hadarranged a short course of lectures in order that allstudents should become acquainted with the biologicalline of thought. The emphasis in such short coursesshould be laid on biology in relation to sociology.The Rev. R. L. COLLINS, principal of St. Luke’sCollege, Exeter, thought that if biology was to enterinto the syllabus of every student at a training collegeit was best taken as part of the course in hygiene.Miss F. JoHNSON, principal of St. Gabriel’s College,London, held the study of biology to be essential tothe intending teacher, not only because it formed abasis for sound child study, but because, as a socialworker, the teacher needed to be equipped with thebasic biological principles. The training college hadroom for two types of course : (1) a simple course forall students, closely linked with hygiene and childstudy; (2) a more advanced course for the studentwho intended to undertake subject teaching in biologyin the schools. Miss C. voN Wyss, lecturer at theUniversity of London, thought a biological conceptionof human nature to be fundamental to a practicalphilosophy of education ; for students in trainingthe study of biology contributed to the culture ofmind and body. Miss KATE BARRATT, principal ofSwanley Horticultural College, spoke of the extremeimportance of a knowledge of biology to the teacherin a country school, where an intimate understanding
ui the children and their environment was necessaryto success.
cOn Dec. 3rd a session on biology in the elementaryschools was held, with Prof. WINIFRED CuLLis in thechair.
Dr. RALPH H. CROWLEY, senior medical officer tothe Board of Education, pointed out that some soundbiology was being taught under the title of naturestudy in many infant schools, while a few secondary’school pupils took it as an examination subject ; but,broadly speaking, it was still impossible to say that Imany children left school with any effective under-standing of the meaning and significance of life.Quoting from " Science in Senior Schools," publishedby the Board of Education, he said that out of 584senior schools no attention was given to biology in264 ; the boys’ schools for the most part concentratedon physics and chemistry, and the girls’ schools onbotany. Moreover, for every 100 men teachers whoqualified in physical science less than 4 qualifiedin biology. Mr. G. S. M. ELLIS, educational secretaryto the National Union of Teachers, said that thepresent examination system tended, perhaps, todefeat the real purpose of education, which was togive a comprehensive idea of life. The whole curric-ulum called for reorganisation along lines whichwould bring reality into the school; there was noexcuse for demanding concentration on prolongedacademic exercises from the child. If we meant
anything by the phrase "a biological outlook," weshould mean that biology interpenetrated the wholecurriculum. Mr. F. J. HARLOW, principal of ChelseaPolytechnic, thought there was need for some formof national certification in biology, and advocatedthe establishment of a recognised diploma.Among those who quoted their practical experience
in the teaching of biology, Mr. H. C. MONKCOM,science master at the Central School, Wells, spoke ofthe benefit to retarded children which had resultedfrom giving them a course of applied biology in theform of gardening. Mr. W. J. WHITE, headmasterof Williton C.E. School, Somerset, described an
experiment in poultry farming which was run as aprofit-making concern among the boys, shares beingsold at ls. to raise the funds for the originaloutlay.At the afternoon session, Prof. H. A. S. WORTLEY,
University College, Nottingham, who took the chair, ]said that when he talked to children aged 6 or 7, hefound their interest in living things to be keen, butat 18 or 19, when they entered college, that interest ihad evaporated. Not enough was done to fostertheir enthusiasm in the interval. Prof. DOUGLAS iLAURIE put forward a scheme for a biological course idesigned to meet the needs of children between 11 ]and 14 years of age. He showed how the study of (living things could be made to lead naturally to the (study of the physical and chemical laws which (governed them. (
At a session held concurrently on Dec. 3rd on biology fin the public, secondary, and preparatory schools, 1Mr. W. W. VAUGHAN, lately headmaster of Rugby, s
took the chair ; he pointed out that the standard cdemanded in the scholarship examinations for Oxford 1and Cambridge was so high that headmasters were c
forced to encourage boys to specialise earlier than they cwould otherwise do. He thought the range of scholar- a
ship subjects should be enlarged. Prof. F. A. f
CAVENAGH, University College of Swansea, thought a
that a biological outlook was necessary in the human a
studies of psychology and sociology. Mr. D. WARD t
CUTLER, Rothamsted Experimental Station, con- I
bidered that biology was particularly appropriate forteaching in preparatory schools ; no one should leaveschool without realising something about evolutionand heredity. Biology formed a sound basis for self-control and good citizenship. Mr. F. B. MALIM saidthat the Headmasters’ Conference would oppose theidea that biology should become an integral part ofevery boy’s education, though they might be preparedto regard it as an optional subject. Mr. K. FisHER,headmaster of Oundle School, said that 40 to 46
per cent. of boys at Oundle did some biology in theirearly years. The expense need not be great if seasonalmaterial from farms and gardens was used. Miss M. E.MARTIN, headmistress, Girls’ High School, Wakefield,.said that the curriculum in many girls’ schoolsincluded : nature study to the age of 10 ; general.elementary science, including chemistry and physics,from 11 to 14; biology from 15 to 16. She referred.to the possibility of establishing pre-nursing courses.for girls about to enter hospitals, and said that shewas convinced of the value of biology, not only forthese girls, but for those who wished to take up.massage, physical training, almoner’s work, healthvisiting, or the responsibilities of married life. Mr.W. E. NELSON, headmaster of Arden House, explainedthat the difficulty of preparing boys at preparatoryschools for the public school entrance examinationsin which no science was included made it impossibleto crowd biology into the curriculum, great as heconsidered its importance to be. Mr. E. G. SAVAGE,of the Board of Education, thought that if the curric-ulum in schools was too crowded to admit biology,something else should be withdrawn. It was difficultto find good biology teachers. The Rev. STEWARTMcDowALL, chaplain and senior science master,Winchester College, thought it the clear duty of thepublic schools to give boys education in biology, asa training in citizenship which they owed to society.
INAUGURATION OF AN INSTITUTE FOR THE
SCIENTIFIC TREATMENT OF
Dr. EDWARD GLOVER took the chair at the inaugurameeting of this Institute, held at University College,.London, on Nov. 29th, before a large and interestedaudience representative of practically every side ofsocial and psychological activity. In opening themeeting, he related that the Institute had arisen fromthe conviction shared by a number of persons of veryvarying outlook, sociological, medical, and psycho-logical, that a nation of adults could not continue todeal with its criminological problems by the crude-diagnosis and primitive therapy of a two-year-old.child, and that the first step to the adequate handling -of crime was to eliminate hate, anger, and anxiety -from criminological methods. The original membersbelieved that the only practical course was to organise,scientific opinion. They had, however, felt that a.dozen scientists and humanists could do little, andhad decided to collect all the scattered forces ofcriminology and psychotherapy, together with clinics,out-patient departments, guidance and welfare centres,..and legal and Government departments. He warnedfuture members that great sacrifices of time, energy.-and scientific priority were needed and that in,attacking criminological standards the Institute might.be striking at one of the foundations of society.-Finally, he said, the Institute would undertake.