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Master of Arts (M.A.)




During the years since 1929 it has been the privilege of the writer to serve as a teacher in the science department of the high school at Stockton, California. During those years he has been associated with students of all four years of the high school, with a slight majority of the time spent with students of the first two years of high school. Inevitably, certain observations occurred. With those observations, certain convictions, beliefs, and desires to assist, developed concerning the students who pass through our schools.

It is only natural, therefore, that one in such a position should be imbued with the desire to do something about it". It is with the outgrowth of that desire that the following pages deal. Therefore, it is deemed of value to enumerate a few of the observations which led to the formulation of the outline with which the pages that follow are to be concerned. 1. Many students have need for a broad, more comprehensive, and generally non-mathematical background in science, as considered in a purely personal and cultural aspect. 2. Many of the students when in the ninth grade have the intelligence, but not the maturity, to grasp some of the ideas and facts presented in the ninth grade general science. 3. Many highly intelligent students, capable of genuine culture, do not reach college. However, they are in serious need of a general scientific background for later thought, reading, interest, and general use in everyday life. 4. Many students who do go to college will not major in the scientific field and, therefore, do not need merely one special science in high school, but one in whose study there is the possibility of broader application. 5. Many students in the upper classes in high school need a chance to do exploratory work in the field of science in an attempt to orient themselves in choosing a vocation. 6. Many students who will go to college are forced to take a particular science when both their needs and interest suggest a more general contact with science.

It seems quite evident that the students mentioned above are to be found in all classes in the high school. However, the majority are in what may be called the middle fifty percent, that is, the two quartiles between the extremely bright on the one hand and those in the quartile of lowest ability. It is toward the better student of this middle group that attention is directed chiefly.

Further, it is this group which has been neglected grossly in the past. In the early days when our public school system was in process of development, the schools were chiefly concerned with training men for the law, medicine, or for the ministry. This gave attention to a very select group and placed emphasis on the classics and specialized scientific field. To return to the type of student served by the schools, not until the early nineteen twenties did the poorer student come in for this share in attention and concern. The educational trend of that decade might be compared to a pendulum, which, having been started at the peak of its swing, rushes past the central point to become almost suspended for a time on the opposite side, and then to oscillate between these two extremes--attention to the very able student on the one hand and concern for the "slow" student and the "problem" child on the other hand. Therefore, is not action long overdue in caring for the needs, desires, and abilities of the great middle group, which, in the last analysis, go to make up the backbone our national life, thought, and culture? It is with the intention of serving this group and giving it some of the attention which it has been denied for so long, that this outline was developed.



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