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tools qualify the pupils to do various jobs connected with home and community life. Many of these can be used as projects in the general shop and are valuable in that they represent activities found in normal living experiences.
4. The work of the general shop may serve as preparatory work for young pupils who will later enter upon trade courses.
5. Through the possibilities offered for the discovery of aptitudes and interests the work of the general shop serves in the realization of the “trade-finding " objective of the manual arts work.
It is the opinion of some who have made a thorough study of the work of the general shop, particularly as found in the junior high school, that it is destined to play an important part in manual arts activities in the schools. This is especially true for schools which are limited in number of pupils and in rooms and equipment. Some of the unsolved problems are: Properly qualified teachers, proper methods for handling and distributing materials and tools, and proper methods for organizing instruction materials and the use of proper teaching methods.
Sometimes the general shop is organized on the basis of a cycle of shops, the pupils rotating through a number of one-activity shops for a given period in each. Here, also, the pupils are offered a variety of experiences, but which are more specialized along specific trade lines. This scheme is of particular value in senior high schools where the work is so arranged as to be of value for preparatory and trade-finding purposes.
As an example of this type of general shop organization the scheme followed in a large well-organized senior high school may be cited. In this particular school the general-shop boys are given during their freshman year a six-week period in each of six shops: Plumbing, printing, auto repair, machine shop, electrical work, and woodworking. In each shop the boy is given as definitely as possible an intimate contact with the work of the trade. Advantage is taken of various opportunities to get to the boys information about the trade or industry which can not well be given in the shop or classroom by ordinary methods. Motion-picture films are used regularly. At the close of the six-week period each group is taken on a shop trip to a plant which is typical of the work just finished in the shop. At the end of each shop course the boy is interviewed by his instructor and given an opportunity to express himself freely in regard to his experiences.
The time given to the manual arts type of work and the variety of courses offered, as revealed by an examination of the courses of study. of a large number of school systems, is convincing evidence of the value of such work as a part of a program of studies for the accom
plishment of the objectives of the school. Forward-looking steps will be in the direction of the further refinement of aims and content in school courses to meet more definitely some of the specific objectives embodied in the public school program.
PRIVATE AND CORPORATION SCHOOLS
Following the signing of the armistice there was a marked decrease in the program of training in industry which had been built up during the war. A great majority of the vestibule schools disappeared because they were no longer necessary. Although there was no great shortage of ordinary factory workers, there was and still is a shortage of highly skilled workers. Naturally, the best types of corporation apprentice schools were not eliminated at the time of the readjustment, but, on the other hand, these schools have grown and developed to a point in advance of anything heretofore found in the field of privately supported vocational schools. Large corporations can afford to run their own vocational schools in the same way that they can afford to maintain their own fire departments. The majority of individual plants, however, are not large enough to support regular apprentice schools such as many of the railroads maintain and such as are found in the large mechanical and electrical manufacturing plants. There is, therefore, a considerable need for agencies other than private corporation or apprentice schools to provide equally efficient training for those who will find employment with similar organizations. The full-time trade school and the part-time cooperative apprentice school are meeting this need in part. The work of such schools is supplemented by correspondence schools and private and semipublic schools.
The entire matter of vocational training is in process of adjustment and unquestionably will be carried on in the future in such ways as are most efficient and result in the lowest net cost to society. To an increasing degree, it is recognized that training costs money. An employer can not evade this cost by looking to some one else to train his men for him. If the teaching is provided by public schools, he will have to pay his share by means of taxes levied to support such schools. If he trains his own men, he will pay for the service more directly. If he attempts to get along without training any men, and discourages publicly supported vocational education, he will eventually have to put up with a supply of incompetent or half-competent workers. Their inefficiency on the job and lack of skill will probably, in the end, cost him more than would participation in an organized training scheme. If he is to continue in business, he can not get along permanently with semi
skilled and unskilled workers; consequently he will have to face the fact that semiskilled and unskilled persons will have to acquire training for the job while in his employ. From the present situation in industrial training, it appears that for many occupations certain phases of training can be given more efficiently and at less cost on the job than in any form of school. On the other hand, there are types of training which can probably be given better at less cost, and with greater social values in public schools. However, there are innumerable cases where the most efficient and less expensive plan involves some type of cooperation between industry and the public schools. Notwithstanding the fact that examples of such cooperation are increasing at a remarkably high rate, a beginning has hardly been made in solving the problem.
By GEORGE A. WORKS,
CONTENTS.--Agriculture in elementary schools; boys' and girls' club work-Agriculture in secondary
schools-Agriculture in collegiate institutions.
AGRICULTURE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS The place that instruction in agriculture should occupy in the program of the elementary school is a question on which there is much difference of opinion and marked divergence of practice. A generation ago there was considerable agitation for a better adjustment of the rural school to its environment, and most students of rural education apparently accepted the view that instruction in agriculture should be a part of the program of the elementary school. A recent report by a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Agricultural Teaching states that 28 States require that agriculture shall be taught in the elementary rural schools. Textbooks published to meet the demand for this type of instruction, and outlines prepared to assist teachers, show clearly that the training of students for rural occupations was the chief end sought. Improvement of farming was the uppermost object.
In recent years much consideration has been given to the objectives of the elementary school, and numerous curriculum studies have been made. As a result there is much less certainty on the part of many regarding the desirability of the type of instruction in agriculture that was originally introduced into the elementary school. More careful analyses of the economic and social implications of such a program of instruction have also contributed to the recognition of the undesirability of using the elementary school in the rural community as an agent of propaganda for making farmers and farmers' wives of boys and girls who chance to live in the open country.
One of the most challenging philosophical discussions of the use of the elementary school for directing children toward farm life has been written by Dr. O. G. Brim. Doctor Brim has gathered from a large number of educational writers statements that show the very
1 Rural education, pp. 209–211.
general acceptance of the vocational objective in agriculture for the elementary rural school.
Those who have most fully imbibed the urban, economic conception of the farmer-group see the rural child as a producer only and his social service mainly in terms of food. Guided by this idea, one who desires the school to realize the most efficient citizenship from the community states that the “distinguishing mark of efficient citizenship in the rural community is skill in the production of food." This conception of the rural child as a producing factor in the rural occupation has stimulated various lines of endeavor. “Agriculture must be taught, because that is to be the occupation of most of the pupils of the rural school, and because the school can greatly increase their efficiency on the farm." “A thorough course in manual training is highly desirable and useful,” because “the modern farm with its variety of machinery, tools, special type of buildings, drainage systems, concrete construction work, etc., taxes the ingenuity of the farmer.” Industrial club work, junior projects, home project study, and vitalized agriculture-limited almost entirely to rural occupational problems, emphasizing economic return and maximum physical product, and fostered by agricultural interests from the adult point of view—are indeed being largely accepted as the solution of the rural school problem. These are believed to offer a satisfactory educational content for the rural child.
It is evident that many of these writers have misconceived the purpose of elementary education and the essential characteristics of a life that is good for the child and desirable for a democratic society. They ignore the fundamental task of elementary education, which is to make the child a member of society in the fullest sense. They aim from the first to make him a member of a group. They emphasize the differences, the qualities wherein his parent group is unlike others, instead of strengthening the bonds that unite him to all peoples. They center his attention upon local problems, instead of creating interests for him common to the groups with whom he must cooperate. They develop occupational ability rather than ability to participate in the problems of social progress; and then complain because he is not given a place in governmental affairs. “Society must advance toward the ideal democracy of which we dream through a broadening of the range of suggestion that floods the individual." Yet many would doom the rural child, already handicapped in his contact with the world, to a rural diet in his school experience. It is of primary importance to society and to the individual that each be free and intelligently prepared to choose his own field of work. But instead of meeting this fundamental provision, these men determine the child's future upon the accident of birth, and use the institution dedicated to his larger growth as a means of limiting his vision and determining his choice.
The development of a six-year elementary school and the growth of the junior high schools have contributed to a clarification of the aims of education for these school periods. Though the two forms of school organization have not yet been adopted widely in rural schools, the fundamental conceptions back of their growth are influencing the view regarding the functions of the elementary school in the rural community. It seems very unlikely that there will be any general return to the conceptions regarding the purposes of instruction in agriculture in the elementary school that have prevailed during the past two or three decades.