Page images
PDF
EPUB

of moral instruction should also be taught in connection with a plan for intellectual training. The mind is developed as a moral power by tur!. ing its attention to the moral quality of its acts, and to doing what ought to be done.

The cultivation of moral habits should be carried on with the cultivation of the intellect. The relations of school life, and the various evercises of the schools provide favorable occasions for the development of the moral nature of the child.

The teacher is supposed to be a model person, worthy of imitation. If this supposition accords with the facts, the pupils will be subject to the molding influences of a good example. The natural desire and the ability to imitate render the education of the young possible and magnify the importance of a good living example.

The acts of obedience, which a wise and efficient school government requires, will train the pupil to a thoughtful consideration of his conduct and to the habit of self-control. The habit of loyalty to the rules and regulations of the school, accompanied with a desire to promote its welfare, is a good one to cultivate in the minds of the young as a preparation for good citizenship.

The exercise of studying by the use of the true method will develop the intellect and create in it the power to think so as to discover the truth. The habit of independent deliberation before making a choice is most favorable to good morals. To create such a habit is the con. stant aim of the intelligent teacher. The relations of pupils in school to one another as a community will offer an opportunity for instruction on the subject of public as well as private morals. As the affairs of social life are carried on in connection with promises and contracts, and as promises will avail nothing if the members of society are not faithful in making them, and do not trust them when made, the teacher should endeavor to impress upon the minds he is attempting to develop the infinite value of fidelity to that which is morally right, and the obligation every member of the school is under to exercise it in all the moral relations he holds to others, as well as in all he holds to his orn well-being. Such fidelity in the relations of social life, and of the life of the individual, seems to constitute the vital element in all the virtues.

If successfully cultivated in the minds of the children in our public schools, in connection with their physical and intellectual instruction, this fundamental virtue will appear as a ruling principle in their lives as citizens of the State. The best ideas on the moral training of the young are in favor of the right development of the mind as an intellect, as the only solid foundation for good morals. A rational plan of moral instruction should be the subject of one important lesson at every State teachers' institute.

The teachers selected to give instruction at these institutions should be thoroughly educated persons, both in the philosophy of teaching and in the various subjects of instruction. They should make special preparation for every lesson they teach, that no time may be lost in attempts to say something or do something which may produce a temporary sensation, though it has no educational value. They should have an abundance of common sense--that original gift to a portion of the race, valuable for its discriminating power, in judging of the proprieties of time and place, and for its foresight in preventing mistakes.

Teachers' institutes if rightly managed may produce some good results. They may furnish an opportunity to the teachers of a community to become acquainted with one another.

The association of professional people with one another enables them to make common what each one knows.

The teachers' institutes furnish occasions for improvement in study and teaching, by directing attention to new ideas, and by exciting an ambition to study. They magnify the importance of popular education, and strengthen the schools by improving them.

They encourage the teachers to attend the normal schools, and the school authorities to employ trained teachers.

Neither training schools nor teachers' institutes can take the place of normal schools. The one may add some skill to the labor of the school teacher, and the other may give some useful hints and awaken ambi. tion to improve, but it is reserved to the normal school to teach the science and art and history of teaching, and prepare the teacher for an intelligent application of his knowledge, so as to secure the great ends of school life.

[ocr errors]

MANUAL TRAINING.

RELATION OF MANUAL TRAINING TO BODY AND MIND.*

BY C. M. WOODWARD, Director of the Manual Training School of the Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.

[ocr errors]

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Department: I am left somewhat deserted to night; the paper which I shall have the honor of reading was intended to follow a more elaborate paper from Mr. MacAlister and then one from Mr. Dutton. I therefore have been very moderate in the limits which I have taken and in the phase of the subject which I have treated. I have confined myself to one or two features of the question. I only hope that after I have read what I have prepared, if there is still time, others will add something. So far as I am concerned, if my experience in manual training has fitted me to answer any of the questions you may ask, I will answer to the best of my ability.

The mother of a Philadelphia boy said last spring to the principal of the Philadelphia Manual Training High School, “I just want to know if I can carry a bed down and let my boy stay at your school all the time; for he doesn't want to come away, and he wants to leave home every morning right after breakfast.” Substantially the same story of deep interest has been told me hundreds of times during the nine years since the St. Louis Manual Training School was opened. And this interest is no “craze," no ephemeral enthusiasm. The newness was worn off the broom long since, but it still sweeps wonderfully well. In many instances the third of three brothers rejoices as steadily in the work of the school as did his elder brother years ago. Some scraps of parental testimony I shall give later on.

In speaking of the relation of manual training to the mind and body we are all forced to make comparisons. If the new system has no fruit which the old does not yield, if it fails in valuable results where the other succeeds, or if the new product does not on the whole outweigh the old, then the new has no sufficient excuse for being.

In making these comparisons, my strictures will not indicate hostility. Our best critics are our friends, for their criticisms can not be explained away on the ground of unfriendliness. In pointing out defects, or in quoting others who point them out, I am not attacking the public school

* In this paper I purposely omit all reference to the moral influence of manual training, and to its economic value. These subjects have been treated elsewhere.

Ι or classical schools. The physician who tells liis patient what is the matter with him, and how to improve his condition, is not attacking him; he is only preparing the way for a better regimen.

MANUAL TRAINING IS FOR ALL.

I shall not go into an elaborate discussion of what the schools ought to teach, in order to fix our standards of excellence. I shall assume, however, that we are aiming at universal education, that boys wliom manual training should help and strengthen are all the boys who are growing up to manhood. I am not thinking alone of the few who are to be trained to leadership, while the many are to be left untrained to fill the great army of directed workers. I am not thinking of one boy in twenty who is to be trained in theory while the nineteen are to be left to practical labor, having the one to lay out their work for them and to do all their thinking. Is not our aim to make men self-directed, self-determined, and therefore free? So long as one is educated only by proxy; so long as another is to perform his calculations, to make his drawings, to design his forms while he slavishly executes as directed, so long we can lay no valid claim to be a free people.

The proper education of to-day is a preparation for the duties and responsibilities of life. Our students must therefore come out of school with the elements of high character, with a vigorous, healthy body and mind, able to put both land and brain to work, to enter readily into sympathetic co-operation with the institutions of their couatry and time. Practical accomplishments are essential to a good education, though they are not the whole of it. While training to the full the faculties of the individual, including his mechanical powers, and fitting him to act his part as a citizen, a home-builder, and a bread-winner, we must not fail to set high value on the finest products of the human mird and to give fair introduction to the great fields of art and philosophy.

I do not wish to spend much time upou definitions, yet I am forced to declare that many educators havo erroneous ideas as to what inanual training is and what it ains at. Half that was said in San Fran. cisco last summer in criticisin of manual training sprang from misconceptions. One man spoke of the agricultural college and the de. partment of mining engineering in the State University as examples of manual training. Another long argument against it was based upon the assumption that the “logical outcome of hitching manual training to the public schools” is teaching trades. The author fancied that a manual training school is a factory and that it produces 6 manufactured articles;” and so on. I confess I am beginning to lose patience with such misconception, which seems little less than misrepresentation. Have these men been both blind and deaf for the last six or eight years ? Have they not seen what we are actually doing, and liave they not heard the reports we have made from time to time? Do they think that they, without experience of manual training, see more deeply into its essencethat they more clearly detect its tendencies thau do we, who have been in contact irith it, studying its nature and influence for years ?

I think I am safe in saying that no one of us, from Boston to San Francisco, from St. Paul to New Orleans, engaged in the conduct of manual training schools, whether public or chartered or on chartered foundations, has any such notions as these men assume that we have. On the contrary, the tendency of every thoughtful supervisor of manual training is to make the instruction and practice less technical, less industrial, more scientific and more universal.

NOT A TRADE SCHOOL NOR A TECHNICAL SCHOOL,

A manual training school is not a school for the training of carpenters and blacksmiths, of machinists and mechanical engineers, like the Worcester Polytechnic in Massachusetts, and the Rose Polytechnic in Indiana, both organized by the late C. 0. Thompson; nor yet is it like that admirable - Trades” school founded and conducted by Colonel Auchmuty in New York City.

In a manual training school, properly so called, no attempt is made to cultivate dexterity at the expense of thought. No mere slight-ofLand is aimed at, nor is 'muscular exercise of itself held to be of educational value. An exercise, whether with tools or with books, is valuable only in proportion to the demand it makes upon the mind for intelligent, thoughtful work. In the school-shop the stage of mechanical habit is never reached. The only habit actually acquired is that of thinking. No blow is struck, no line drawn, no motion regulated, from muscular habit. The quality of every act springs from the conscious will accom. panied by a definite act of judgment. At the same time I plainly see that the trade tendency is to be guarded against. There is plenty of bad advice, foolish schemes, and indiscreet baste for putting manual training where it does not belong, and where no adequate preparations are made for it. But in this respect we are not singular; every good cause has much to fear and to suffer from its friends. I beg of you not to hold manual training responsible for all that is said and done in its name.

On the other hand, we must not suppose that all who fail to accept our estimate of its value in education are to be classed as hostile to new ideas. Let us reason together with candor and mutual respect. This is the place to ask and answer questions, to state objections, to present arguments, to give testimony, and to quote experience. A priori reasoning has its time and place, but it pales in the presence of actual experience.

We have a most remarkable example of a priori reasoning in the essay

i This paper was read at the Marci meeting of the Superintendent's Department of tho National Educational Association at Washington, in 1889.

« EelmineJätka »