chapter  4
25 Pages

Building Global Practices

The account so far has shown that, with each new medium that emerges, a wealth of guidelines is available for its development in a long but often repetitive literature. Before Gagné, Schramm, Vertov, and the dozen other educational theorists mentioned above, there was Bagley. From 1902 to 1940, William Chandler Bagley was a professor of education at universities in Montana, Illinois, and New York. His ideas have been eclipsed over the course of a hundred years, and he might never have come to the current writer’s attention if their names had not been similar. In 1910, Bagley co-founded the Journal of Educational Psychology; and in 1911 he published three books (Classroom Management,1 Craftsmanship in Teaching,2 and Educational Values3), analyzing key aspects of educational practice including verbal and nonverbal strategy, teacher-student interaction, problem-based learning, and study skills, long before they became debated in today’s educational literature. By 1911, Bagley’s ideas had evolved through analysis and synthesis as in the cubist art of his time. He wrote of the need for fl exible principles capable of generating applicable theory, and he criticized the deductive approach that attempts to work “backward from highly wrought theory to concrete practice . . . a survival of the deductive habit of mind which science has long since discarded as totally inadequate to the discovery of truth” (Bagley, 1911a, pp. v-vi). Educational principles, he argued, can be invalid if not derived inductively from observations “based upon successful school practice . . . A given practice may be effective in one school and ineffective in another” (p. vi) In his view, concepts such as ‘intelligence’ were similarly fl awed, being defi ned on the basis of a limited range of activities in non-generalizable situations; and he argued ahead of his time that deductive uses of educational testing labelled students unfairly, devaluing the need to help weaker students improve their study skills.