The concept of apperceptive mass comes out of the seventeenth century; introduced by German philosopher, George Herbart. No, I am not crazy for suggesting something from four centuries ago would have relevance today. The emphasis on state and national standardized tests is in overkill.Herbart was fed up with philosopher John Lock’s notion of tableau rasa. Remember what that means? Blank tablet. Originally it referenced the human mind at birth and gradually was applied to one’s life. We write our life’s experiences upon a blank tablet. What can you do with a tablet you can’t do with life? Erase what you wrote. You can’t erase an experience. It will linger somewhere in the deep synaptic rivers of the brain. (Please note that some professionals in the field of psychiatric medicines believe that certain memories can now be erased chemically. This especially true in the area of emotional trauma. The success ratio of such treatment is not clear.)Definitions: The process whereby perceived qualities of an object are related to past experience. A second definition reads: The already existing knowledge base in a similar or related area with which the new perceptual material is articulated. Neither one provides an understanding of the task facing the educator.Teachers need to grab two phrases in these definitions-past experience and already existing knowledge base-both of which take on paramount roles in the education-learning processes. Our first question now becomes what past experiences? Everything that the newborn experiences becomes a part of the apperceptive mass. It is the base for tying together concepts, ideas, and relationships. It appears the movement to sing to the unborn child, to read aloud, or to play music during pregnancy has a role here. The unborn is learning about its external environment. Experience has begun. (There are many sites providing information on in utero learning.) Vast quanta of stimuli are absorbed by the child as it grows; all of which impacts its knowledge base. The task of the educator is to build upon that base. The demand for rote memorization of unrelated factual trivia does not improve the learning base. The child’s ability to regurgitate that data on a standardized test is not a determiner of intelligence or of learning. The teacher must help the learner to draw significant relationships between the information.Enumerating the colors on a color wheel does not demonstrate an understanding of the mixing colors to to produce new colors, shades, and hues. Learning the names and years in office of our Presidents does not demonstrate an understanding of what those presidents did to expand the power of the office of the presidency. Memorizing the Periodic Table of Elements provides no understanding of their value or use. To drive the nail just a bit deeper I will use a personal example. During the time of my undergraduate studies I took a course called Art Appreciation and Criticism. The course consisted of memorizing 200 painters and an example of their works. That did not create an appreciation of art and I learned nothing in terms of art criticism.In educational years gone by there was talk about ‘learning the tools of the trade’. Working to build apperceptive mass is providing the tools of the trade: the processing of information to arrive at understanding.Four things a teacher may do to help students in their development of an apperceptive mass:1. Refrain from asking questions that require just recall of information.2. Ask questions that call for interpretation and explanation .3. Ask questions that require conclusions based on given information.4. Conduct class discussions that require demonstration of understandings.
Education is definitely a very important thing to pursue. Many people who are looking to earn a degree but do not have the time to go to school have online education degrees to choose from in order to acquire their dream. Traditional schools will still be the more popular option for the majority but online universities offer the next best thing.The most important allure of online education is its flexibility when it comes to time. The student would be the one to set when and where he or she will provide time for study, as long as he has the given resources at any given occasion. Thus, even those who have a full-time job or those who are tied up with other responsibilities can have the option to further their education. But online and distance studies may not be for everyone. Some students are of more traditional nature; that is, they work and learn best in traditional school settings where students interact with each other and with the teachers, there are laboratory classes, exams are being taken by groups, and opportunities for more social interactions abound. Studying at home requires a lot of discipline and some students feel that focusing with studies would be easier to deal with if they know that there is a schedule that they have to follow – there are classes to attend to at a particular time of the day and the afternoons are for after-school activities. Still, others prefer going to a traditional school because it does offer more internship opportunities and contacts with possible employers eventually after graduation. Another disadvantage is that fields that require extensive laboratory works, like in the sciences (physical sciences, biological sciences, chemistry, etc.) may not be feasible for full-time online studies. Despite these drawbacks, however, opting for online education degrees is still a tremendous opportunity for the others who may be interested in its many advantages.There are several courses available online. For example, an associate degree takes about two years to complete. Whether your interest lies in the sciences, arts and humanities, information technology, or applied sciences and health sciences, there are a multitude of online education degrees choices available. A bachelor’s degree would naturally cost more but it will definitely pay off. As with traditional schools, it normally takes about four years to complete. Those who already have a bachelor’s degree are looking for Master’s degree courses. A master’s degree is usually required for professionals who are in the field of education. To be accredited for teaching courses, a Master’s degree is normally required. It is, in turn, a prerequisite for acquiring a Ph.D. program.Before participating in any online degree program, however, make sure that you are registering for an accredited online school. Diploma mills – online schools that provide diplomas, degrees, and certifications for money without actually providing sufficient and meaningful training and instructions – continue to litter the Internet. Do not waste your money and effort in these schools. Look for accreditation to ensure that you are getting the quality of instruction and education you deserve.
Many people have concern about what is happening with the American educational system. Politicians throw money at it in an attempt to please their electorate. Recently private schools and home schooling have gained ground and in fact produce higher academic numbers on average. But nobody that I know of has taken a look at where we went wrong and when. But first a look at when we were doing well. Noah Webster once known as the headmaster of American education and author of the first American English dictionary 1828. Noah Webster could be called one of the founding teachers. He was an educator himself and wrote many educational texts including the Blue back Speller which was the spelling book of the 19th century which had sold 80 million copies by 1899. Noah Webster said in his dictionary that education “should enlighten the understanding”.But I invite everyone to look at the full definition which can be accessed on the internet. There were others who contributed to the original philosophy of American education namely: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, the Quakers etc. etc.. Thomas Jefferson stated that “young people should study history to be able to recognize tyranny in embryo and so crush it.” So these were the individuals that were responsible for creating the original American educational philosophy which was successful. So now, what went wrong? And who is responsible? Well, it was actually a very fundamental change in the philosophy. It all started around the turn of the century. There was a new school of thought germinating from Wuntian psychology out of Germany (Wilhelm Wunt father of modern psychology). The philosophy was definitely materialistic and totally opposite of the original meaning of the word psychology – the study and doctrines of the human soul. The new idea was that humans were not spiritual beings but that we were all just animals and that the way you understand human behavior is by comparing us to animals. If you understood how a rat behaved you would then understand how a human behaved. So this philosophy was gradually entered into every university beginning at the turn of the century. It became behaviorism and that became the standard philosophy taught in colleges by 1960 to all teachers as part of there training as teachers. The teaching philosopy was conditioning and not understanding as Noah Webster had stated. A direct date coincidence with the statistics of the failure of American education. So what can we do about this? Well there is private schools or homeschooling both of which are a lot more successful on average than public schools. I am not trying to upbraid teachers as I think it is one of the most important jobs in our society and teachers are, for the most part, well intentioned. I just think they have been misinformed.We need to make education so that young people actually reach for it instead of having it forced upon them. Also education is not for the masses it should be tailored to each student. In other words each student should get the basics reading writing arithmatic. But after that they should have their own personal program based on their goals. They should be made aware of the importance of history but should explore the subject themselves and should read the writings of the people who were actually a part of history rather than somebodies interpretation of it. Example, the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.