RONALD C. DOLLRonald C. Doll at the recently chartered City University of New York is organizing a doctoral program in administration and supervision of elementary and secondary schools. Formerly Professor of Education at New York University, he holds the B.A., M.A., and Ed.D. degrees from Columbia University.
How are adolescents changing with the times? At New York University in 1960, Merrill Harmin defended his doctoral dissertation on the intriguing title “Have Adolescents Changed?” Harmin observed that between 1946 and 1956 adolescents had gained in knowledge, curiosity, understanding of other persons, occupational certainty, political insight, and interest in acquiring an education. However, they had demonstrated more concern for present than for future; more relationships with peers, and a greater conformity to standards of these age mates; less respect for adults; more cynicism about their role in improving society; less patience for being alone, and correspondingly greater desire to be with the crowd; more tendency to differentiate among social classes; and more anxiety.
Only perennial attackers of the young will rejoice at these words. One can hear them say, “We told you so. Young people in our day were superior.” Actually, across a wide range of characteristics, the generations show marked similarity, and any unfortunate differences may be attributed chiefly to those of us who have lived long enough to help mold our materialistic civilization.
But what shall we say of American youth at midcentury? We may be sure that they possess much knowledge. Most parents realize that when they themselves were young, they knew less. Test statistics tend to support this realization. For several reasons, of course, today’s youngsters ...1
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