On Wednesday, October 24th, Gunnar Dybwad, director of the Child Study Association of America, led off the new series of lectures in the field of education sponsored by the Civic Association’s School Committee.
Speaking at Northside School, Mr. Dybwad recounted his experience on a recent trip to Germany sponsored by the State Department, to observe and report on education in U. S. occupied Western Germany. “My entire attitude toward education was influenced by this experience,” the speaker said.
“The pre-1914 system of education in Germany is still held in high regard by many educators of the world. Yet in spite of this presumed model of public education, the German people, products of this educational method, welcomed Hitler to power. The school system must bear part of the responsibility,” Dybwad continued.
The failure of the German public school system, Dybwad indicated, was due to its stern traditionalist methods. The emphasis on drill and implacable discipline … the systematic elimination of self-expression in children … the concentration on the subject matter to be taught rather than the child … these methods combined to produce a citizenry that lacked the ability to think for itself.
Dybwad was disturbed to find tendencies in this same direction in some areas of the United States. He urged all parents to participate fully in educational activities, not from the standpoint of becoming experts in educational methods but from one simple yardstick – “What do I expect public school to do for my child?”