Empty Educational Crazes

HL MenckenEvery year sees a craze for some new solution to the teaching enigma, an endless series of flamboyant arcana. The worst extravagances of privatdozent experimental psychology are gravely seized upon; the uplift pours in its ineffable principles and discoveries; mathematical formulae are marked out for every emergency; there is no sure-cure so idiotic that some superintendent of schools will not swallow it. The aim seems to be to reduce the whole teaching process to a sort of automatic reaction, to discover some master formula that will not only take the place of competence and resourcefulness in the teacher but that will also create an artificial receptivity in the child.

—HL Mencken
“The Educational Process” in A Mencken Chrestomathy — Originally in The New York Evening Mail, 23 January 1918

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