Talks To Teachers On Psychology, by William James

Table of Contents


Talks to Teachers on Psychology

  1. Psychology and the Teaching Art
    The American educational organization — What teachers may expect from psychology — Teaching methods must agree with psychology, but cannot be immediately deduced therefrom — The science of teaching and the science of war — The educational uses of psychology defined — The teacher’s duty toward child-study.
  2. The Stream of Consciousness
    Our mental life is a succession of conscious ‘fields,’— They have a focus and a margin — This description contrasted with the theory of ‘ideas,’— Wundt’s conclusions, note.
  3. The Child as a Behaving Organism
    Mind as pure reason and mind as practical guide — The latter view the more fashionable one today — It will be adopted in this work — Why so? — The teacher’s function is to train pupils to behavior.
  4. Education and Behavior
    Education defined — Conduct is always its outcome — Different national ideals: Germany and England.
  5. The Necessity of Reactions
    No impression without expression — Verbal reproduction — Manual training — Pupils should know their ‘marks’.
  6. Native Reactions and Acquired Reactions
    The acquired reactions must be preceded by native ones — Illustration: teaching child to ask instead of snatching — Man has more instincts than other mammals.
  7. What the Native Reactions are
    Fear and love — Curiosity — Imitation — Emulation — Forbidden by Rousseau — His error — Ambition, pugnacity, and pride. Soft pedagogics and the fighting impulse — Ownership — Its educational uses — Constructiveness — Manual teaching — Transitoriness in instincts — Their order of succession.
  8. The Laws of Habit
    Good and bad habits — Habit due to plasticity of organic tissues — The aim of education is to make useful habits automatic — Maxims relative to habit-forming: 1. Strong initiative — 2. No exception — 3. Seize first opportunity to act — 4. Don’t preach — Darwin and poetry: without exercise our capacities decay — The habit of mental and muscular relaxation — Fifth maxim, keep the faculty of effort trained — Sudden conversions compatible with laws of habit — Momentous influence of habits on character.
  9. The Association of Ideas
    A case of habit — The two laws, contiguity and similarity — The teacher has to build up useful systems of association — Habitual associations determine character — Indeterminateness of our trains of association — We can trace them backward, but not foretell them — Interest deflects — Prepotent parts of the field — In teaching, multiply cues.
  10. Interest
    The child’s native interests — How uninteresting things acquire an interest — Rules for the teacher — ‘Preparation’ of the mind for the lesson: the pupil must have something to attend with — All later interests are borrowed from original ones.
  11. Attention
    Interest and attention are two aspects of one fact — Voluntary attention comes in beats — Genius and attention — The subject must change to win attention — Mechanical aids — The physiological process — The new in the old is what excites interest — Interest and effort are compatible — Mind-wandering — Not fatal to mental efficiency.
  12. Memory
    Due to association — No recall without a cue — Memory is due to brain-plasticity — Native retentiveness — Number of associations may practically be its equivalent — Retentiveness is a fixed property of the individual — Memory versus memories — Scientific system as help to memory — Technical memories — Cramming — Elementary memory unimprovable — Utility of verbal memorizing — Measurements of immediate memory — They throw little light — Passion is the important factor in human efficiency — Eye-memory, ear-memory, etc. — The rate of forgetting, Ebbinghaus’s results — Influence of the unreproducible — To remember, one must think and connect.
  13. The Acquisition of Ideas
    Education gives a stock of conceptions — The order of their acquisition — Value of verbal material — Abstractions of different orders: when are they assimilable — False conceptions of children.
  14. Apperception
    Often a mystifying idea — The process defined — The law of economy — Old-fogyism — How many types of apperception? — New heads of classification must continually be invented — Alteration of the apperceiving mass — Class names are what we work by — Few new fundamental conceptions acquired after twenty-five.
  15. The Will
    The word defined — All consciousness tends to action — Ideo-motor action — Inhibition — The process of deliberation — Why so few of our ideas result in acts — The associationist account of the will — A balance of impulses and inhibitions — The over-impulsive and the over-obstructed type — The perfect type — The balky will — What character building consists in — Right action depends on right apperception of the case — Effort of will is effort of attention: the drunkard’s dilemma — Vital importance of voluntary attention — Its amount may be indeterminate — Affirmation of free-will — Two types of inhibition — Spinoza on inhibition by a higher good — Conclusion.

Talks to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals

  1. The Gospel of Relaxation
  2. On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings
  3. What Makes a Life Significant?

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:56