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10:00 AM. Two days into the term. The door to the stage.
The projector is warmed up and loaded with Impress.js. The class is waiting for me.
Normally, I'd be fine. But I'm trying to combine principles that Scott McCleod talked about in his book Understanding
Comics with some animation of my own sketches. I'll be lucky to get this sucker to
And normally, I'm never lucky.
I walk through the door. I take a deep breath to hide my jitters...
... That doesn't work either.
Ummm....Good morning, everyone. For those of you who missed the first class, welcome to Introductory Psychology. And I'm the professor.'
The topic of today's lecture is the history of psychology. But rather than talk about some dry dusty facts, I thought I'd center my lecture on a significantly historical individual. And, to introduce this person, ask yourself this question:
So, what do you think? What historical figure do you think is a good example of a psychologist?
Is it Freud?
"The resistance my name may arouse among the public will have to be conquered by the brilliance that radiates from yours."
Notice I said "her". The person I'm going to talk about is remarkable in many ways--not the least of which is the way she distinguished herself in an intellectual world that, at the time, was dominated by men.
Montessori was the first woman to earn a medical degree at the University of Rome.
She earned it the hard way. Because viewing a naked body
was considered too scandalous for a woman, she was required to
conduct her own dissections on cadavers alone and at night.
She was a fiery defender the rights of women and children workers. She was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
An educational entrepreneur, her methods of education inspired Europeans, but were eventually dismissed by the American educational establishment.
These were remarkable personal accomplish- ments. But to appreciate Montessori's role in Psychology, and to understand why I chose her as an example, you have to examine the roots of Psychology as a science.
I'm going to mention three.
The first root of Psychology comes from the attempts by early philosophers to understand the origins of knowledge, a branch of philosophy known as epistemology.
Modern questions regarding the nature of knowledge are usually traced to the French philosopher Rene Descartes, who lived and wrote at the time of Galileo. Descartes proposed that ideas were innate.
Descartes had asked "What is the origin of knowledge?" Later philosophers, such as James Mill, in the early 1800's, suggested that knowledge came from experience.
The second is the biological basis of all organisms that exhibit a psychology, especially as they are affected by evolution through natural selection..
Of course, one of the major developments in biology has been Darwin's Theory of Evolution. A key concept of that theory is natural selection. Natural selection occurs through competition, which implies that the consequences of a behavior have important implications.
As result, Psychologists became very interested in the function of knowledge and behavior. This view of psychology is known as functionalism and it can be traced to the impact of Darwin's theory.
As biological and medical knowledge advanced, many scholars turned to the question of whether this knowledge could be used in the education of people and, when needed, the treatment of mental issues.
Montessori is known mostly as a teacher. But she considered herself as a scientist, arguing that the methods of science should be used to study how children learn and how methods to teach them could be improved. I'd like to tell you more--especially about the battle fought over North American educational approaches--but that's all we have time for, today. (The rules of the Challenge restrict my talk to twenty slides.)