Page images
PDF
EPUB

of more or less remote antiquity as given on the printed page, and their culture slowly began to be measured by their easy familiarity with such literature.

When, thru the recognition of the value of science, the social ideals became the promotion of scientific investigations, laboratories became the workshops of the schools and there was a cry for the practical in education, or the training in these laboratories. And it gradually came to be recognized that real culture could be had in conforming to that social ideal.

When, in these modern times, the social ideal of the people has come to be the transformation of crude, raw material into forms of beauty and usefulness to the people, the cry has gone up in no unmeaning terms for the practical in education thru vocational training; and in time it will come to be recognized that true culture may be developed even in the workshops of the school.

It is generally conceded that manual training carried on in connection with public schools, however faithfully the work may have been done, has not produced and is not now producing results adequate to meet present needs.

The tendency seems to be to get away from the conduct of manualtraining shops for purely cultural or educational purposes, and industrialize them as the basis of vocational training. If this be done with any degree of effectiveness, it will be necessary for those now engaged or about to engage in the teaching of manual training in the grades to break away from a graded course merely for instructional purposes and give students some introduction to the practical utility of their handiwork. There is an increasing demand for actual shop experience in teachers of manual training.

In anything above the grades of the elementary schools, an industrial training should begin to be specialized and lead very early into a definite trade.

The National Association of Manufacturers and the American Federation of Labor have both declared strongly in favor of trade instruction. The former says:

A trade school cannot be too practical; the more practical, productive and commercial, the more possible is mechanical efficiency as well as mental discipline and general culture.

The latter says:

We favor the establishment of schools in connection with the public-school system at which pupils between the ages of 14 and 16 may be taught the principles of trades, and the course of instruction in such schools should include shop instruction for particular trades.

They also advise that to keep such schools in close touch with the trades, there should be local advisory boards, including representatives of the industries, employers, and organized labor.

It is not a matter of supreme importance whether the graduates of these schools go immediately into trades as satisfactory journeyman workers at full wages, or for a term of years during the development of trade instruction in connection with public schools, they be merely introduced to the trades with a good foundation upon which to build their wage-earning power.

That trade instruction may be successfully given boys between 15 and 17 years of age may be shown by the records of the graduating classes of one of our trade schools for the years 1905 to 1909 inclusive. On November I, 1909, it was found by investigation that of 268 trade graduates, 244, or 91.7 per cent, were working at their trades; the bricklayers' average wage being $4.64 for 8 hours a day; carpenters, $3.84 for 8 hours a day; machinists, $3.28 for 10 hours a day; pattern-makers, $3.10 for 10 hours a day. Of the trade classes graduated March 26, 1910, it was found within six months after graduation that of 51 graduates, 50 were engaged at their trades, with the following results: 12 bricklayers, averaging 51 hours per week, at 40.5 cents per hour; 13 carpenters, averaging 51.6 hours per week, at 30.6 cents per hour; II machinists, 55. 7 hours per week, at 26 cents per hour; 10 pattern-makers, 54.6 hours per week, at 30.3 cents per hour; 4 steam and electrical work, 61.7 hours per week, 20.6 cents per hour. The average hours per week of the 50 was 53. 79, the wageearning power per hour 30.8 cents.

That school is in the serious business of preparing its students, thru academic training and a specialized trade, for intelligent citizenship and good earning power in industrial occupations. Its work continues thruout the year, 8 hours a day, five and one-half days a week.

One of the beneficial effects of instruction in agriculture and the mechanical trades promises to be greater conservation of opportunity in education thru the reduction of time lost in vacations and short daily sessions, which in the old forms of education seemed to be necessary. A practical school of agriculture cannot well succeed when the school is closed during the months of growing crops. The graduates of a trade school will not easily and gracefully link themselves to trade conditions if the trade student has accustomed himself to very short daily hours, full holiday each week, and a long vacation thruout the summer. This conservation of opportunity will mean a considerable financial saving in that the number of hours of shop and classroom instruction per year may be greatly increased and the number of years of twelve-month periods necessary for preparation may be proportionately reduced. The increase of hours per year may safely be made much greater than the necessarily resulting increase in annual expenditures for education.

It is interesting to find the public-school systems of a few progressive cities leading in this movement of such tremendous economic importance.

DISCUSSION

[ocr errors]

CARROLL G. PEARSE, superintendent of schools, Milwaukee, Wis.—Within a decade practical education, as typified in vocational training, has established itself as a part of our public educational system. Previous to that time, the general sentiment among school people was against the plan of making education practical to the extent of training young people for vocations by which they might earn money. But within ten years the obligation to do this has become so generally acknowledged that it may now be considered as accepted that our educational ideal includes schools where young people can be trained in handicrafts and other employments by which they can earn a livelihood.

We have long recognized the propriety and necessity of providing schools in which those seeking to enter the learned or highly skilled professions—law, medicine, engineering-might be prepared for their work. The proper education of persons who were to exercise these callings has been thought so important that the public has very generally been willing to bear the expense of schools in which this training might be given. Universities supported by the public quite frequently include colleges of law, medicine, civil, mechanical, electrical, and mining engineering, and, of late years, colleges of agriculture.

At the same time the public demand for vocational training has led the secondary schools to provide courses in which young people are trained to earn money as bookkeepers, cashiers, and stenographers. These “commercial” or business courses in our high schools have been well patronized and have supplied an evidently felt want. More recently some of the agricultural colleges, and in some states special schools of agriculture of secondaryschool grade, have been giving to the young people from the farms, and to others who wished to learn the elements of agriculture, an opportunity to fit themselves for this work.

But we are only now beginning to establish and to include in our educational system schools where young men and young women can be trained in handicrafts—where they can learn mechanical trades and become skilled craftsmen and craftswomen. A few of the large cities have schools of trades for boys or schools of trades for girls, and a very few cities have both. In the best of these schools young men and young women are taught all departments of the work of the trade; they are taught to use all the tools of the trade, including machine tools; and further, they are not confined to one, or two, or three, or a small part of the processes of the trade, but each student in the apprentice school is taught to do all the things which a competent and skilled workman at the trade should know, as well as to use all the hand and machine tools required for the most successful practice of the trade. These schools are fighting their way; they are also winning their way.

So-called “trade schools” of cheap and inferior quality maintained by private persons, preparing young persons hastily in a part of the knowledge and practice of a trade, have done much to injure the standing of trade schools. This standing the thoro and wellplanned trade schools are gradually regaining thru the excellent work of their graduates.

There has been a prejudice against these schools on the part of the proprietors of shops who perhaps have had experience with the poorly prepared product of private "commercial” trade schools. There has been a prejudice against graduates on the part of the foremen of the shops and factories who learned their trade in the old method by long apprenticeship and who also have suffered from the poorly prepared students sent out from the commercial trade schools.

There has been some feeling against these schools too, on the part of mechanics, some of whom feel that not all the parts of the trade can be learned in a school. While it is true that in the building trades experience in the erection of buildings and in the putting together of their parts must be learned in some of its features “on the job,” after leaving the school, yet the advantage which pupils in the trade school have, thru the fact that they are taught by skillful mechanics who are at the same time careful teachers of the processes and applications of the trade, more than offsets the lack of practice upon the work. The speed which the journeyman mechanic needs, and experience in putting materials into place on the job,

are quickly acquired by a well-trained trade-school graduate who has been taught all the processes of the trade and knows also, in theory, how the construction work should be carried on.

Another cause has prevented these schools from enrolling as many students as they should have; boys who are old enough to begin the learning of a trade are also old enough to go into some unskilled employment and earn a few dollars per week. Too often the temptation of the present few dollars is great enough to make the young people and their parents disregard the much greater advantage which comes from a thoro grounding in some good trade, and the boys and girls are allowed to enter employments as messengers, cash girls, unskilled workers in factories, and other employments which, while furnishing a small amount of ready money weekly, do not lead to improved positions, and do tend to keep the young people from rising into the ranks of more skilled and better-paid labor.

The sentiment of many mechanics has also been adverse to these schools; sometimes because they feared that too many craftsmen would be turned out. The more intelligent among them, however, do not seem to fear this. They are aware that in other lines of labor more people enter than can at all times find profitable employment. The number of graduates turned out from trade schools cannot, for many years, be such as to overstock any trade. Only a few cities are likely to have trade schools and not all the graduates of these schools are likely to settle down in the town where they learn the trade. They will be scattered about the country.

But, while we have accepted, and are acting upon the principle that we may properly teach handicrafts to young people who have finished the work of the elementary schools and have reached the secondary-school age, we are not prepared to accept the principle which is now being advanced that the teaching of vocations ought to be carried down into the elementary schools. The common or elementary schools ought to be the trainingground for all the citizens of the state, for those who enter the learned professions, the skilled handicrafts, commercial employments, agriculture-all the various walks of life. Such training as is given in the elementary schools should be of educational rather than vocational character. If we can so revise our courses of instruction in the elementary schools that the boys and girls who finish the grammar grades shall have a better knowledge of the English tongue and better power to use it correctly in oral and written speech, this will certainly be a great advantage to our young people into whatever vocation they enter. If we can also give them some better training in the fundamental principles of arithmetic, and teach them to perform more promptly and more accurately and intelligently the computations which are required of them in the various common relations of life, we shall have done something for all vocations. If we can give to all the boys and girls such training of the hands as shall make them skillful in the use of the elemental hand tools and some ability to work upon materials of different kinds, we shall have done something of real value, no matter what vocation is followed in later life. And if we are able to give to all the girls in the common schools such training in the arts of the home, in cooking, sewing, care of the house and its inmates, as shall make more capable and intelligent housewives out of the 80 or 90 per cent of girls whose lot it is to assume the care of a home, we shall have done much, not only for these individual girls but for the state of which the families over which these girls are to preside form important basic units.

So far we are all prepared to go with those advocates of more and better training in the elementary schools; but beyond this we refuse to be carried. It is no part of the duty of the public educational system to train boys or girls in a little of a trade or occupation in order that they may enter factories and workshops and be from the first more profitable employees to the factory owners because they have been given a little training in performing one or two of the processes carried on in the factories. It is the duty of a public educational system to lay down its course of instruction in these subjects so as to make wellrounded craftsmen, if it enters upon this duty at all. The constant pull of commercial conditions draws enough boys and girls into employments where they acquire no skill,

a

where their work from year to year does not develop them, and does not open to them any future. If we are to teach a vocation, let it be a real vocation, one that it is worth while to teach. Let us ground upon ourselves the proposition that children have a right to their childhood and that the state has a duty to see that they are not robbed of it; that the boys and girls of the nation are to be kept in the schools at least until they have completed the work of the elementary grades; and that only after this has been done, with full opportunity for learning those things which the common schools can teach to foster good citizenship, should they be allowed to take up the work of preparing themselves for specific vocations.

We, in planning our educational system, must be wiser than those owners of forests who allow the small trees to be cut down; we must be wiser than those breeders of horses who put two-year-olds upon the race track. We must allow our boys and girls to grow out of their childhood, at least into the early years of their youth, before we begin in the public schools to classify them according to the occupations which they plan to follow thru life. Let us never lend ourselves to the pressure which will be many times applied to induce us to train our boys and girls of tender age in the common schools into deft mill hands to feed the maws of those factories where boys and girls, men and women, spend days and weeks, and months and years in repeating over and over and over again countless thousands of times, the same set of motions in the tending of a machine or in the performing of a single process which the complex organization of our modern system of manufacture sets apart from them. While, no doubt, hands will be found to do this work so long as these great institutions are organized upon their present basis, yet it is no part of the duty of the public schools to so shape our boys and girls in the elementary grades that they may feed the long files that pass within the factory doors to engage in this stultifying, deadening, poorly remunerated labor.

B. IN THE BALANCED COURSE OF STUDY, AND THE ALL

YEAR-ROUND SCHOOLS

G. W. A. LUCKEY, HEAD PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA,

LINCOLN, NEBR.

Recent years have increased our knowledge of the laws of nature and of life, and yet we seem far removed from the solution of the riddle of existence. When man was created we know not, how he was created is more of a mystery, but that he is, lives, and desires to live we are most certain. As a child of Nature he is subject to certain, definite, physical laws, some of which we know, more of which we may know. It is the province of education to bring man into harmony with these laws, to enable him to understand them and to use them to the betterment of himself and of others.

In the study of education it becomes necessary to know the nature of man, to have a standard of values, a philosophy of life. What is the meaning of creation, and the purpose of humanity? Why are we here? Why are we given such a short period in which to accomplish the world's work ?

The more we study the problems of life the deeper our conviction that the hand that made us is divine. In creation, man is the finished product.

« EelmineJätka »