Page images

By careful selection of these non-responsive prisoners, based on closely tabulated daily observations, we discovered that these inmates could be properly grouped under one of three general classifications of recognized defectives. Our duty now lay in adapting manual training to overcome these defects and to restore the individual to a more normal condition, wherein he would become susceptible to reformative influences affecting his release, and thereby fit himself for his return to society as a contributive citizen rather than a parasitic individual.

To speak analytically on these classifications, I must name the groups and show causes for classification:

Group 1, mathematical defectives.-These pupils fail specially in arithmetic, likewise in trades classes where the demand for mathematical acuteness and manual expression therefrom make it difficult for these defectives to comprehend or intelligently pursue the outlines. This defect, if allowed to continue or await its eradication under the usual school instruction and trades teaching, would mean much incumbrance to the class organization, and thus deprive those fitted to advance of that share of active intellectual work which they need to qualify for parole release. As soon as this arithmetical defect is recognized, the pupils are assigned to the manual-training school, and retained there for treatment until such time as we feel they are capable of pursuing the routine work of the school of letters and the mathematics involved in the projects of the technological class to which they are assigned for trades teaching.

The manual subjects selected for this class of defectives are as follows: first term -35 hours a week for 17 weeks: mechanical drawing, sloyd, wood-work, athletics and calisthenics, clay-modeling, and mental arithmetic; second term same as above, except cardboard constructions substituted for clay-modeling; third term- same as above, except woodturning substituted for cardboard constructions.

The time at my disposal does not permit giving a detailed description of methods and showing the relation of the several tool processes to the development of mathematical acquisitiveness, or of showing quantitatively the moral improvement among those pupils whom I shall later designate as "control defectives," or even the third group, designated as "mentally deficient." You must accept the statements of results as I know them, and as they are attested by such eminent authorities as Professor Scripture, of Yale University; Professor Richards, of Teachers College, Columbia University; Dr. Henderson, of the department of sociology, University of Chicago; the late Charles Dudley Warner; Edward Atkinson; Hon. Frederick Wines, of the Census Department, Washington, D. C., and others who might be named.

It is difficult to express degrees of human intelligence or moral predication in terms of percentages; yet it is the accepted method for comparison, and I follow it for want of a better. So I give briefly these statistics :

total number assigned during one year for treatment as mathematical defectives, 120; those improved, 46 per cent.; those unimproved, 53 per cent.; average time of attendance, 9 months, 3 days.

Group 2, control defectives. These are persons who in the reformatory community are anti-social. Their indifference to the rules governing free society, with added antipathy to all forms of regulation which mean the subordination of depraved tastes and vicious habits to well-ordered habits, follows in the social organization of the reformatory; this depravity is yet a part of their organism as they enter into this new life of enforced observance of those necessary qualifications for citizenship; so they do not easily adjust themselves to the regulations of the new environment which requires that their habits shall be such as will develop self-respect, recognize authority, and become self-sustaining thru well-directed industry, thereby forming a part of a well-adjusted fraternity. That these spores of humanity do not conform to regulations approximating those in free society is evidence to us of a defect in character. This is a defect in self-control, and it exhibits itself in many ways. These improper physical and mental manifestations indicate certain other mental and moral lesions; these must be met and overcome before the subject is amenable to his environment, which so nearly approaches that of organized society.

As soon as this control defect is recognized, the pupils are assigned for treatment in the manual-training school for the purpose of supplying a more intensive atmosphere. Our object is to secure a conscious self-activity in right directions by doing the things which make for selfrespect; to secure thru manual performances a more earnest expression of permanent change of habits; to habituate them to do definite, honorable acts thru honest tool performances, and thru good designs, paintings, etc., to suggest enjoyment for the beautiful in life; in short, to lead them to higher motives and more noble purposes.

We follow out this idea of manual occupation by securing projects which subordinate the physical nature, projects which tend to lift the mind above the ignominy of its confinement and thru regularity of tool performances secure a habitual orderly employment of all the many forces which these active but badly adjusted individuals have at their command.

The tool processes selected for these control defectives are as follows: first term-35 hours a week for 17 weeks: athletics and calisthenics, geometric constructions, wood-turning, pattern-making, mechanical and free-hand drawing, wood-carving; second term same as above, except substitution of molding for wood-turning; third term same as second term, except chipping and filing for molding.

Statistical data of results in the case of control defectives: total number assigned and under treatment, 257; those improved, 30 per cent.; unimproved, 70 per cent.

Group 3, general defectives.-This class of pupils are among the lowest order, intellectually and physically, in prison society; men in whom hereditary influences for generations show a legacy of diseased bodies, disordered minds, enervated brains; and these organs have been further weakened by unnatural sexual practices. These pupils are between the densely ignorant and the imbecile; many of them should not have been sent to the reformatory, but to some permanent home for imbeciles.

For many of them we can, thru manual processes, physical training, baths, dietary, and special elementary-school work correlated to manual training, develop sufficient mental expression to cause them to respond to the general demands of school and demeanor regulations, and thus fit them for some kind of honest labor after release.

The manual processes for these defectives are as follows: athletics and calisthenics, free-hand drawing, elementary wood-work, mental arithmetic, and sentence building.

Total number assigned for treatment, 61; those improved, 30 per cent.; those unimproved, 70 per cent.; average time in attendance, 11 months, 18 days.

From the foregoing remarks we have seen that manual training is not only of value as an educational factor leading to self-activity and mental development, but it becomes, in the hands of the scientist - one conversant with pedagogy, physiology, psychology, and applied mechanics - a potent factor for moral ends. It opens up avenues for activities which are in direct consonance with the laws governing moral expression. All morality is but a harmonious adjustment of one's higher nature with known elements in human character, which elements are the vital forces in society that lift it above license, above conspiracy, above abuse. It is that force in human affairs which removes the disposition to riotousness, to selfabasement, and puts one in an atmosphere of conscious relation to divine law. It is clear to my mind that the presence of manual training in our public-school system will have a far-reaching influence upon human activities, because it gives that delightful balance in mental growth which indicates the wisely educated person. For defectives in public institutions it is possible thru manual training to awaken dormant consciousness of creative force; and, further, it brings into use the neglected motor areas of the brain thru the enforced functioning of their corresponding muscular agents.

I cannot close this paper on the "Possibilities of Manual Training for Moral Ends" without reference to the pertinent remark of Ruskin made long before the science of teaching was as well understood as at the present: "A boy cannot learn to take a straight shaving or drive a fine curve without learning a multitude of other matters which the life of man could not teach him."





General topic: Organization of the Work of Inspection and Supervision thru Assistant Teachers and Principals, so as to Reach the Grade Teacher.

In opening the discussion of the topics submitted by the president of the department, Mr. Soldan called attention to some of the inherent difficulties growing out of the fact that the number of teachers is usually so great as to render personal acquaintance with their work by the superintendent impossible, and to the necessity of depending in a large measure upon the visits of inspection made by assistants and principals.

SUPERINTENDENT L. H. JONES, Cleveland, O.-The superintendent himself should make a series of visits to the same teacher on the same day—three or four visits of short duration, say five minutes. On the next day he should visit the same teacher again to observe how the lessons succeeding the ones which he had observed are given, to determine if the teacher had benefited by the suggestions offered by him on the preceding day. The superintendent cannot visit all teachers in this way, but he can visit the best teachers and the poorest teachers; then thru meetings with the supervising officers he can establish the general policy which shall govern the work. Meetings with principals should be of the same nature.

SUPERINTENDENT W. F. SLATON, Atlanta, Ga., with one assistant supervises the work of 258 teachers. He visits each one once in each year. He emphasizes the need of protecting the individuality of the teacher. He holds grade meetings, followed by general meetings of all the teachers.

SUPERINTENDENT SOLDAN, the chairman, pointed out the need of encouragement, showing that even criticism can be made in such a way as to stimulate the teacher to renewed effort. He spoke of the importance of personal talks with the teacher to correct faulty methods of questioning and kindred errors. He raised the question whether supervision is for the purpose of stimulating or for lopping off, or for the combination of both.

SUPERINTENDENT JONES said that conference for the purpose of stimulating to better work was the only kind that should be conducted in the schoolroom. Interviews for any other purpose should be conducted in the superintendent's office.

SUPERINTENDENT H. O. R. SIEFERT, Milwaukee, Wis., emphasized the importance of acquaintance with the teacher. Principals are the superintendent's cabinet. Teachers are to be influenced thru the principal. The superintendent really knows a class only by taking it himself. He should, whenever possible, commend the work of the teacher as shown by the work of the class. He corrects his own record of a teacher's efficiency by comparing it with the record of his assistant and of the principal. Men, as a rule, are more helpful as principals than women. In grade meetings the teachers form their own organization.

DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT LESLIE LEWIS, Chicago. It is the duty of superintendent and principal to aid the teacher to succeed. Quite generally, if the teacher fails, it is our fault. To help the teacher there must be acquaintance. Such acquaintance cannot be made in five- or ten-minute visits. Criticisms may sometimes be made in the presence of the principal. Criticisms may be kindly given, and when so given are as a rule gratefully received. Men and women are equally valuable as principals. Teachers must be informed kindly but firmly of the exact ground of the criticism.

MR. SOLDAN quoted one of Lincoln's sayings, "One drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of vinegar," and another from the Talmud, "There is a soul of goodness in things evil." He then raised the question of how to avoid collision of authority in making suggestions to teachers.

MR. LEWIS answered that he makes such suggestions in the presence of the principals.

MR. SIEFERT advised telling the teacher, "Do as the principal told you," and then working with the principal to make the correction.

MR. JONES recommended such an understanding with supervising officers that such difficulties will rarely occur.

SUPERINTENDENT W. N. HAILMANN, Dayton, O.- The superintendent must deal directly with the principal, conferring with him before making criticisms of teachers. Let the principal deal with the matter without help, unless he wishes it. Kindness and benevolence should be exercised, but, in some instances, a time comes when a teacher must be asked to resign. The principal must be made to feel his responsibility as well as his power. Organizations help. The superintendent should seek the advice of his principals, should encourage free discussion, should give credit for assistance. He should not require things done in this way or that way, but should aim only at the accomplishment of certain results. Thru teachers' meetings teachers realize their own shortcomings. Teachers may sometimes be transferred to a more appreciative principal. Both principals and teachers should be led to understand that they, not the superintendent, make the school.

Teachers in Dayton are divided into chapters for the study of certain lines of work, as literature, history, geography, etc. Those deficient in any direction are advised to join the chapter devoted to the study of that subject. The superintendent calls attention to sources of information. He places the stress of supervision upon the attitude of the teacher toward the children.

EX-SUPERINTEndent AnderSON, Milwaukee, Wis., holds that the superintendent's services are more effective in speaking to the entire body of teachers about meritorious as well as about faulty methods, since he can select those which are typical. He does not approve of meetings presided over by elected officers. He would appoint the officers.

SUPERINTENDENT HAILMANN has three times a year what he calls a house-cleaning day. The good things observed are summed up, and errors pointed out. Teachers of recognized ability are invariably selected by the teachers to lead the chapters; highschool teachers often being among them.

SUPERINTENDENT SOLDAN explained the character of the teachers' meetings held in St. Louis. At the opening of school each year the 1,700 teachers are invited to come together to hear an address given by the superintendent. Attendance is voluntary, yet more teachers attend than when attendance was required. The opening lecture is a condensation of the experience of the previous year. There are weekly meetings of teachers in various departments, all of which are voluntary. These meetings occur usually at 3:30 in the afternoon, with permission to those who wish to attend to close their schools in time to reach the place of meeting. Principals' meetings occur as often as once in six weeks. The superintendent formulates certain broad principles as a basis for discussion. Teachers are encouraged to criticise the administration. Thanks are always returned to the teachers for such criticisms. Tho anonymous criticisms deserve nothing better than the wastebasket, yet, on the ground that no principal should be kept in ignorance of any statement affecting the work, such communications are sent to the principal to whom they refer, with an explanation of the superintendent's low estimation of their value and with the request that they be returned.

Teachers in St. Louis are appointed from among the graduates of the city normal

« EelmineJätka »