Suggestions of Modern Science Concerning Education


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Most of the learners in telegraphy as soon as they become competent to send and receive messages in small stations cease to improve, in other words, they reach only the first level of adjustment which will just enable them to hold a job. They are then on a par with the majority of their group; consequently there is no further incentive or drive to improvement. The same thing occurs in typewriting and in practically all of the vocations. The great mass of individuals takes the lowest level of adjustment which will enable it to earn a living; and then the environment ceases to offer any adequate incentive for the continuation of practice. How can we get a learner away from this low level? This is the cry of the business world today. It is the cry of the schoolroom as well. It has been shown in these experiments that if high stimulating values can be obtained, the learning curve will again immediately begin to rise. Curves of animal leaning, where the incentive is kept high by controlling the food and other factors, show no plateaux. We might illustrate how the addition of an incentive will produce improvement by a hypothetical example in the field of typewriting. As soon as an individual can just take care of an office adequately, say at fifteen dollars per week, there comes a slump in the learning. Now suppose that a larger office is willing to try out this individual%#39;s services. She goes there and finds that her work is not so rapid nor so accurate as that of certain other girls in the office. The record of these better paid girls serves as a stimulus or drive. Our individual then gets an added incentive and soon reaches a higher level. Another period of nonimprovement results, and not until some other incentive is added will she improve. Suppose literature has been put in her hands which shows that the touch system of typewriting is more efficient than the method she has been using. Another impetus has been given to her work, a better method is employed, and improvement again results. Suppose now a prize is offered for speed and she enters the contest. Under the emotional excitement improvement will again show up. Finally, world records begin to serve as a stimulus for improvement; and we at last find our individual holding the world’s record for speed.1

1Watson, J.B.n/an/an/an/a, in , 95–97 (The Macmillan Company. By permission).

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Chicago: Suggestions of Modern Science Concerning Education in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed December 2, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=52C7HTIBC6H4H8Q.

MLA: . Suggestions of Modern Science Concerning Education, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 2 Dec. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=52C7HTIBC6H4H8Q.

Harvard: , Suggestions of Modern Science Concerning Education. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 2 December 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=52C7HTIBC6H4H8Q.