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Cultural Relations Between North and South America--The Schools and the Defense

by I. L. Kandel - 1941

During the summer of 1940 the faculty of Teachers College developed the Creed of Democracy under the leadership of Professor Thomas H. Briggs. This and the associated documents have had a far-flung influence. Every department of Teachers College probably has members on Defense Committees and Emergency Committees and in similar activities in their particular fields—members who will gladly be of service to teachers and school administrators anywhere by furnishing information on specific questions. To facilitate the process of getting together persons interested in the same fields, Dean William F. Russell asked Professor Paul R. Mort to serve as a correlating agent. As a result, several committees were appointed. During the year additional faculty members were drawn into various defense activities outside the College. Conferences of the committee chairmen during the Summer School of 1941 led to the plan of holding a meeting at which persons concerned with various aspects of the defense problem would present brief statements of their activities. The purpose was to help teachers build a picture of what might be done by the schools on their own initiative. Professor Benjamin R. Andrews was instrumental in preparing the present document to supplement these verbal statements with brief accounts of what some of the Teachers College Staff are doing in defense work and with suggestions of services that teachers everywhere can render to promote community stability and welfare at present and also the protection and improvement of the position of America on into the post-emergency period. Teachers should be ready to initiate local leadership in their own communities by consulting with municipal officials and bringing together informal groups to canvass the local situation, getting in touch with their governors and such national agencies as may be necessary, in order to provide local committees to undertake such community services.

Teachers College has always devoted attention to intercultural relations, and the current demand for better understanding of the cultures of the South American Republics is not something that has to be cultivated anew. Among the many thousands of students from foreign countries there have been several hundreds from all parts of South America. When the International Institute was organized the late Professor Lester M. Wilson was appointed as a member because of his many years of experience in Peru. In 1925-1926 Professor I. L. Kandel spent a year in the study of education in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay, and in 1928 he spent a few months in Mexico on the invitation of the Mexican Department of Public Education; at about the same time Professor Wilson made a survey of Mexican education. Other members of the Faculty who have recently visited one or more Latin-American countries and studied their problems are Professors Jesse F. Williams, Ruth McMurry, and Goodwin Watson. From time to time various groups of Latin-American teachers have visited Teachers College, some for intensive short courses specially organized for them. Arrangements are being made for special courses during the coming academic year for teachers from Chile, Haiti, and other countries.

The interest of Teachers College in the Latin-American countries is attested by an extensive collection of books, official reports, and textbooks from them. In May, 1940, Professor Kandel was Vice-Chairman of the Educational Section of the Eighth American Scientific Congress which was held in Washington, D. C. The Educational Yearbooks of the International Institute, edited by Professor Kandel, have, since the start in 1924, contained articles written by Latin-American educators on the educational systems of their countries, while the whole volume for 1942 will be devoted to Latin-American education.

The College has thus for many years been closely in touch in many different ways with the Latin-American countries and is well equipped to meet the current demands for the further development of cultural understanding within the two parts of this Hemisphere. During the past summer session Mr. Francisco Cespedes conducted a section of the Curriculum Workshop devoted to the study of sources and materials of instruction for teachers interested in developing courses on Latin-American culture and relations in the schools of the United States.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 43 Number 1, 1941, p. 20-21
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 9070, Date Accessed: 1/23/2022 4:42:47 PM

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About the Author
  • I. L. Kandel
    Professor of Education, Teachers College

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