Date of Award

Spring 1939

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Education

Abstract

The object of this study into the basic nature of character is to re-think and correlate all knowledge personally gained as to the formation of character. If one can but sense the origin of character and the factors which mold it, one can better guide, and assume an intelligent responsibility for such guidance in the field of education. Whether the responsibility is wholly ours in questionable, yet we cannot avoid the fact that the position we occupy as educators bears with it an obligation to society and to our God that we dare not side-step. Every serious-minded teacher knows that when he is called upon to render an account of his life's work, ignorance of the facts will seem such a petty excuse if the opportunity for thinking the problem through to the best of his ability was shoved aside. This theses is a personal thing. It is but an attempt to reach a conclusion rather than to make a contribution to educational literature. It is a sincere effort to reach a thoughtful terminus as to the nature and origin of character, and to locate and center upon the vital factors in its development. I do not propose to go into the various methods which may be used in a schoolroom situation as an aid in developing character, or to tally any past results in such procedures. If one should judge from the modern results of such methods, they do not seem to me to be worthy of the tallying. The doctor in trying to cure the patient, first notes the symptoms, diagnoses the case, and then applies the cure; but he cannot do this unless he has knowledge as to the nature of the disease. His keeping a record of the temperature and tallying the symptoms only helps him to the extent that he knows the essence of the malady which produce those conditions. Most educators are not blind to the fact that the modern youth is running an anti-social temperature due to the lack of character development. The criminal records prove it. I propose to try to find the point at which character is formed in order to be ready for the building process rather than the remedial steps which tend to lead to failure and are at best but a method of patching up that which is already basically diseased. To do this will mean a perusal of studies made in the psychological field. I shall have to arrive at a working idea of what character is. My main effort, however, will be to diagnose the vital factors which group themselves around the kernel or life-spot at which character is in the making. Ours is the task of building character. The avenue of approach is in need of analysis. The forces and factors which assert themselves in a study of this kind must be cited and controlled. If in our study we but advance a step nearer to the solution of the problem, we will be happy to have made it.

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