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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78



Dr King here came to one of the mod interesting parts of his lecture—viz., the explanation of the fact that manual training of an individual (particularly a young individual) actually affects the structural formation of the cells of his spinal cord. The crux of the whole thing is memory, Memory means to the physiologist some thing more than the power to consciously recall something. Professor Ribot says: "La memoire est par essence, un fait biologique, par accident, un fait psycholo gique." Though the nower of conscious recall is the highest expression of memory it is not the essential feature. The bask of all memory is an actual physical or dynamic change registered in nerve cells. There was basic memory long before the dawn of consciousness—the memory the "organised residuum," left in cells which enables them to perform functions better with each successive repetition. The true type of organic memory must be sought at Ribot says, in secondary automatic actions, as opposed to primary or innate automatic acts. These secondary automatic actions, page 63 or acquired movements, are the very groundwork of our daily life. In the most universal form they are seen in walking, balancing, etc., and in more complex forms in groups of movements, such as are acquired in the learning of all manual trades and games of skill. This is the physiological basis and raison d'etre of technical education. If boyhood is a good time for educating and developing the psychic cells and the mind, it is certainly the best time for training and developing the lower brain cells and the cells of the spinal cord. One could scarcely imagine any greater folly than the common practice of devnoting all attention to the master, and leaving his servants to shift for themselves.

A graphic chart from the report of the Mosely Commission on Education was shown, illustrating the increased wage-earning power of the boys who attended technical schools in America as compared with those who did not—the one class stopping at £2 10s per week, and the other class rising to £4 10s per week.