Posts Tagged ‘james’

The Hands and the Mind

Posted 31 Jul 2014 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized

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William James, renowned psychologist and philosopher wrote in 1910 about “manual training,” what I would call hands-on learning. Interesting to see what deep value he places on working with your hands.

It a long quotation but I didn’t want to shorten it (my emphasis).


“The most colossal improvement which recent years have seen in secondary education lies in the introduction of the manual training schools; not because they will give us a people more handy and practical for domestic life and better skilled in trades, but because they will give us citizens with an entirely different intellectual fibre. Laboratory work and shop work engender a habit of observation, a knowledge of the difference between accuracy and vagueness, and an insight into nature’s complexity and into the inadequacy of all abstract verbal accounts of real phenomena, as lifelong possessions. They confer precision; because, if you are doing a thing, you must do it definitely right or definitely wrong. They give honesty; for, when you express yourself by making things, and not by using words, it becomes impossible to dissimulate your vagueness or ignorance by ambiguity. They beget a habit of self-reliance; they keep the interest and attention always cheerfully engaged, and reduce the teachers’s disciplinary function to a minimum.”
James, William. Talks to Teachers on Psychology: and to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1910. Print.