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'As a man thinketh, so he is'
(Continued from last week)
Full text of a Lecture delivered by Chief Obafemi Awolowo on 'Some Findings of Psychology as Aid to Educational Policy', delivered at the Centenary Hall, Ake, Abeokuta, on Monday, 22"d January, 1973, at 4 p.m,
EDUCATION has two functional and inseparable facets: teaching and learning. There can be neither without the other.
In other words. teaching automatically implies learning and vice versa. But whilst teaching implies the existence of a living pupil or students. there can be learning without the existence of a living teacher. This is to say that a good deal of our knowledge in life derives from natural phenomena. and from the general setting of the society in which we live. For instance. all the elementary things we know about the effects of the sun. rains and floods have been directly learnt by us without the medium of a living teacher. There are no professed teachers - at any rate no serious ones - for the art of making love. All our proverbs and wise sayings. which form part of our cultural and philosophical heritage. are concepts. which were originally formulated after long and patient observation of natural and social happenings. and without the intervention of a teacher.
Notwithstanding all this. it is generally accepted that other things being equal. a systematic and disciplined course of instruction given by a living teacher to a pupil or student is more effective. and produces quicker results than that in which there is no teacher-pupil relationship. It is with the former process of education that we are concerned in this lecture.
Education has been variously defined and described as - a systematic course of instruction; giving intellectual and moral training to persons; bringing up of the young; helping the young to develop. to lead out the best that is in him. and to evolve an integrated personality.
The motto of a school of practical psychology in Britain is 'Mens sana in corpore sano' - a sound mind in a sound body. This maxim. in my view. epitomizes the essential and cardinal purpose of education. and should be the fundamental basis of any educational policy that can be regarded as sound and utilitarian.
From this brief discussion. three important principles can be deduced. The first is that man is dual in nature: he has a body and a mind. The second is that, this being so his well- being depends on the harmonious and balanced functioning of his body and mind. The third is that, for harmony between the two to be achieved both must be well-nurtured. The body must be supplied with health-promoting food, drink, clothing and shelter; it must be exercised; and its environment must be clean. The mind, on the other hand, must be thoroughly cultivated by means of systematic and constructive courses of instruction directed to its various functional facets.
From both the sciences of physiology and psychology, we learn that in the union between body and mind, it is mind that is dominant. Our perceptions; our sensory and motor activities; our thinking processes; our heart- beats and the digesting of our foods; attunement with the divine source for those who occasionally achieve this spiritual height; - all these and many more are the preserves of the mind. The relationship between the mind and the body can be exactly likened to that which exists between a carpenter and his tools.
The mind of man is divided into two broad phases: the CONSCIOUS and the SUBCONSCIOUS phase. The conscious phase can be sub-divided into two sectors: the OBJECTIVE and the SUBJECTIVE sector. The subconscious phase can also be sub-divided into a number of sectors: the unconscious, superconscious etc. But since the subdivisions of the subconscious are not strictly relevant to our topic this afternoon, I shall have no need to refer to them again.
(For the sake of brevity and clarity, I would like to say, in parenthesis, that for the rest of this lecture instead of speaking of 'the subconscious phase of the mind', reference will be made to 'the subconscious mind'; and instead of 'the objective or the subjective sector of the conscious phase of the mind' references will be simply to the objective mind or the subjective mind.)
It can be seen at once from the carpenter-and-tools analogy that the only part of man that can be the object of instruction is his MIND. We can .. therefore, with a good measure of certainty, assert that man has only three main media of acquiring knowledge. These are: the OBJECTIVE, SUBJECTIVE, and SUBCONSCIOUS media.
We will now try to describe these three in turn, and assess the efficacy of each as a medium for the receipt of instructions and the acquisition of knowledge.
The objective medium consists of the faculties of seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling. Of these five senses, the most frequently used in the acquisition of knowledge are, in order importance, the faculties of sight. hearing, and touch.
But these, together with the other two, do suffer from functional, spatial, physical and temporal limitations.
Each of them is liable to defective functioning, which may be' the result of disease, or physical deformity. Colour- blindness and hardness ofheartng are instances of functional ~ limitations. Beyond a given distance in relation to a particular object, which distance will vary according to which sense faculty is in use, none of them, unaided, can have any utility whatsoever.
(To be continued)
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