Page images

effect which form has upon the meaning of words. Moreover, a training in grammar gives one the power, to some extent, of discriminating the accidental from the substantial-a training which fits the mind to enter successfully other fields of subtle thought.

The province of literature and art furnishes wonderful material of thought, for it furnishes the symbol of human ideals and aspirations, the grand impulses that move at the bottom of our civilization.

It has been claimed by some of its advocates that we have in manual. training an executive action of the mind while we have only a receptive activity in the other school studies.

There is a distinction in psychology between efferent and afferent nerves-nerves that convey outward impulses from the braiu to the muscles, and nerves that convey impulses from the surface inward to the brain, and give rise to feeling. These are named also motor nerves and nerves of sensation, or centrifugal and centripetal nerves. This distinction between executive and receptive activities seems to be based on this difference of nerves. It would be assumed in the first place that the most essential forms of human activity are sensor and motor. The individual should be receptive of impressions from without through his nerves of sensation, or else he should be executive through using his muscles. Moreover, in order to make this theory apply to manual train. ing it must be held that manual training covers the ground of the motor or executive. The use of the tools for wood working and metal work. ing, such use of a portion of these tools as the manual-training school furnishes, is in fact supposed to be an executive training in an eminent degree. But all the metal workers in the country, according to our last census, amounted to only 585,493 (counting the twenty-two important trades) out of a total number of 17,392,099 returned as engaged in gainful occupations. This is less than 3 per cent. of the laboring population, and yet the annual product even of this small fraction of our people exceeds the home consumption of metallic goods. The workers in wood, counting twenty-five trades, numbered only 763,814 out of the seventeen and one-half millions of laborers, about 4. per cent. But it is claimed that skill in the use of the tools of these trades would be valuable to all, no matter what their employments might be. This, however, is a position that cannot be maintained for the following reasons: Every trade has its special knack or skill, and not only requires special education to fit the laborer to pursue it, but it re-acts on the laborer, and fixes in his bodily structure certain limitations, which to a greater or less extent unfit him for other occupations. Even within the trades devoted to the transformation of metals it is found that a long apprenticeship to blacksmithing untits one for fine work on jewelry, or for engraving. Too much work at planing and sawing, moreover, would injure the skill of the wood carver.

Out of the 92 per cent. of laborers not engaged in any form of wood or metal work nearly 5 per cent, are engaged in the manufacture of tex.

882_No. 29

tile fabrics or clothing. Counting together those who have to do with these manufactures and with the care of clothing and with leather manufactures there are 7 per cent. in all whose occupations would be more or less injured by an apprenticeship in blacksmithing and carpentry, for a certain delicacy of touch is required in the manipulation of textile material that can be acquired only by long-continued and one-sided training. Trade and transportation employ 11 per cent. of the laborers; agriculture, 45 per cent. Manual training, if it includes only wood and metal work, fits only 8 per cent. for their vocation, and more or less unfits for their vocations a large part of the remaining 92 per cent. of laborers.

But the psychology on which this distinction of executive and receptive activities is based is not sound. It omits the elaborative faculties of the mind altogether. The nerves of sensation may bring in impressions and the nerves of motion may carry impulses outward, but what connects these two activities? Physiological psychology informs us that the brain and the great ganglia at the base of the brain are used by the soul in receiving, co-ordinating, and comparing these impressions; in short, in thinking upon the data furnished. Moreover, before a decision is reached there must be internal impulses consulted such as proceed from desires and wishes, and then a comparison of ideals, for one does not act in order to make a thing into what it is, because it is that already. He acts in order to change some real condition into some other condition that exists only in his mind as an ideal possibility. The purpose or ideal being fixed, and the means of realizing it being chosen, the will acts and the motor nerves are called into use to set the limbs in motion or to utter words of command. That the ordinary branches of instruction in school relate to this function of elaboration of data into plans of action far more than they relate to the mere reception of senseimpressions or to the exercise of the motor nerves, is obvious. Itis obvious, moreover, that in the perfection of this function of elaboration lies the culture of true directive power. The general who plans the battle and directs the movement of his troops so that they secure victory is of course the executive man in a far higher sense than the private soldier who mechanically obeys what he is ordered to do. The general may use his motor nerves only in issuing the words of command, while the private soldier may exert to the utmost every muscle in his body-yet the real executive is the general.

It is not desirable that children shall be taught that rough hand la. bor is in itself as honorable as the elaborative toil of thought which gives rational direction to the hand. The best function of the manual training school is its training of the elaborative faculties of the mind, its studies on the rationale of the construction and use of tools, its study of mathematics and science. This points out the road of permanent usefulness for such schools. They may fit master workmen for the several trades and occupations, and thereby furnish overseers who not only cau direct but can teach besides,

It is sometimes claimed that the educative effect of the manual-training school is the remedy for a prevailing distaste for manual labor. Professor Woodward phrases it “the overcoming a most humiliating repugnance on the part of so-called educated people to using their hands." To this it may be said that if it is the object of the manual training school to cure dudes of their contempt for honest labor, it should first get some compulsory systern of attendance for that class of the community. Professor Woodward also declares that “the manual training school is not an asylum for the lazy.” Indeed, his entrance examinations carefully sift out all boys who do not give evidence of past industry and good habits; in short, all boys who are not already in love with honest hand work. If the object of the school is to fit ordinary boys for the trades and cure them of aspiration for clerkships and professional work, the statistics show an alarming influence in another direction. In the Chicago Manual Training School out of the 87 graduates in the three years, 1886, 287, '88, there were 51 at least who are reported as looking higher than manual labor, namely, 4 teachers, 28 students in higher institutions, 7 entering the professional work of architect or engineer, and twelve clerks, while only 25 appear to be engaged in manual work, either as overseers or workmen. Of the 100 graduates of the St. Louis Manual Training School in the years 1883, '84, and '85, it appears that 65 look above manual labor (6 teachers, 29 students in higher institutions, 21 clerks, 9 professionals), while only 23 are reported as engaged in work of farming and mechanical pursuits as laborers or overseers.

It is evident that the elaborative function of the mind is the true source of executive power. The problems of life must be solved by thought before they can be reduced to action without waste of en. ergy.

There is one phase of the psychology of manual training which deserves special commentary. Æsthetic training, through drawing properly taught, gives an educative effect of a far-reaching character as respects all of our industries. In it is also contained the solution of the economic problems that lie deep down under the manual training questions hero considered.

By proper instruction in drawing one must mean the cultivation of the hand and eye by the use of the pencil; but this is only the first and least important part; it is more manual and less mental than the second requisite, which is an instruction in the ideals of tasteful and decorative form, which should be taught in parallel lessons in connection with the practical use of the pencil.

Once trained to recognize the beautiful and graceful in form and arrangement, and to criticise all defects in this particular, the pupil has acquired a precious quality of mind, useful in every occupation and in every station in life, whether subaltern or directive. Culture in taste, such as drawing gives, fits all laborers for more lucrative stations and


helps our industries by giving our commerce a firm hold on the markets of the world. Not merely wood and metal work profits by this cul. tivation in taste, but all manufactures, whether of food, clothing, or shelter.

The educative effect of art is also ennobling, for it leads to the preference of an ideal which is not a selfish one.

If we could see in the Slöjd training a more prominent place offered to art studies we could predict with so:ne certainty the rise of Sweden from the low rank she holds among manufacturing nations. Instead of furnishing raw material to other nations-she sends us pig and scrap iron and rags--she would begin to send out finished goods, such as Belgium and France have sent out for a long time, and such as England has sent out since the founding of the South Kensington Museum.

However this may be, it is pleasant to record the fact that American manual training schools give far more attention to the study of drawing, although perhaps not enough to the analysis and discussion of the forms of ornament and free design, or, in other words, to the theory of art.

Whether manual training schools shall develop into industrial schools for the training of apprentices to the several trades, or, on the other hand, become incorporated into the school system as a general disci. pline, depends, of course, upon the answer which educational psychology finally gives to the question,

In the Slöjd work it is stated that the chief tool used is the jack-knife, though it is the object of the training schools of Sweden to secure skill in the use of other tools. The political economist can not commend the encouragement of home manufacturo of knick-knacks, though he may admit that it is better than sheer idleness during the winter months. Far better would be the introduction of manufactures requiring skilled and combined labor that would draw the peasants into villages, as our own manufacturing establishments have done. To some extent work can be given out by the large manufacturers to the families of the rural population, as, for example, as is done here with the manufacture of clothing; and such work is found far more profitable than knick-knacks, especially when the latter are not made of graceful patterns or from tasteful designs.

2 In the official report of Commerce and Navigation of the United States for 1881 the imports from Sweden and Norway are reported as-pig iron, $111,176; bar iron, $517,959; old and scrap iron, $114,883; total, $744,018. But of manufactures of iron and steel only $111,749 are reported. It is surprising to note that we imported wood manufactures from them only to the small amount of $137, while we imported rags for paper manufacture to the amount of $39,090, but no manufactured clothing to speak of. The same year Belgium sent us wood manufactures to the value of $118,146, or nearly one thousand times the value of the same item from Sweden and Norway. (See pp. 43, 59, 60, 63, 78, 79.)

[ocr errors]



Professor of Pedagogy in the University of the City of New Yoric.

If by "manual training” we are to follow the definition of Dr. E. E. White, viz, that “uo school work should have this name that does not make manual skill or other manual result a direct end,” then I should say that manual training bas but little claim to recognition by the un. graded school teachers. But if we take the definition formulated by Dr. Butler, and adopted by the New Jersey council of education, I think we shall find that there is a place, and a very important and necessary place, for it in all the schools of our country. Manual train. ing is by them defined as “training in thought-expression by other means than gesture and verbal language, in such a carefully graded course of study as shall also provide adequate training for the judg. ment and the executive faculty.” The council also says that this will necessarily include drawing and constructive work, although it does not determine by what special means this instruction may best be given. The manual training movement does not mean a trade school move. ment, neither does it mean that pupils shall learn to do things that may fit them better to enter a certain occupation. If Sir Philip Magnus' definition is to be accepted, that "manual training means exercise in the use of tools employed in working in wood and iron,” then manual training has little or no place in any ungraded school. Drawing has been understood to be included in manual training exercises, and the kindergarten employments have also been so classified, as we think, most correctly.

The first question to discuss is, do pupils in our ungraded schools need " training in thought-expression by other means than gesture and verbal language?” In other words, is the course of study usually followed in our ungraded schools sufficient to produce the best manhood and womanhood? Is anything omitted that ought to be attended to, and is anything attended to that ought to be omitted? Let us then inquire what constitutes a good education ?

This question is fundamental, and here we find the definition of education as the equable development or training of all the mental, moral, and physical human powers, quite universally accepted. Taking this as a basis we also take another statement as universally accepted, viz, that we have no means of touching the mind or of knowing its operations, except by means of the senses, and that when all of the senses are brought into their fullest exercise and made to do their work correctly and rapidly, the mind is in a condition to grow in breadth, power, and quickness.

« EelmineJätka »