« AnteriorContinuar »
10; English by 9; drawing by 5. Six of the girls were looking forward with eager interest to the millinery of the second year.
The letters obtained from the boys yield the following more or less significant hints:
The lessons were so interesting that I felt as if I were taking n new hoHl in Ufa
I am more businesslike than I w;is before and can do my work much better. The school has taught me what an education means in life. We do not sit in one room nil the time, and we have the privilege of changing classes.
The school has made me be more of a man; it has made me have more selfrespect and responsibility.
I like the shopwork because it gives me something to do with my hands.
The six hours in this school pass quicker than the five hours in the other school.
It makes nie more respectful, and the work is more of the kind I like.
If the industrial school continues to be used to make men of boys, it will soon be of great value.
In making things at home I have more confidence in myself.
It has learned me to hnve better manners and to do better arithmetic and lots of other things.
I learned to be more obedient, and my parents say: "Ycu seem to be learning more than you used to learn." The school has made a man of me.
The school has helped me to think and to get my work more easily.
I like it because it is in the line of work I will follow. [Several boys express this thought. Others see in the work good preparation for the Technical High School, and one of these for subsequent attendance upon a course in scientific farming at the Ohio State University.]
It has not only helped me in learning a trade, but to get along better in my other studies.
It has taught me to like school. I like all the work we have.
Among the favorite subjects mechanical drawing is mentioned, by 26, woodwork by 18 of the boys. Seven boys praise the fact that they do not have to sit in one room all day. One boy criticizes " the poor location " of the school, but is otherwise much pleased.
Clearly there had been distinct awakening in the life of these children under the stimulus of the new work. There are evidences of gain in sustained interest and purposeful effort extending even to so-called academic work. Stress is laid by the children on their gain in general interest, on the practical value of the school as they see it, on their improvement in obedience and "behavior," in selfrespect and renewed confidence in their ability, a conviction that they amount to something. A few attribute this to the industrial and economic features of the work; others to the helpful attitude of the teachers: still others to the departmental organization of the school, which does away with the feeling of constraint in being confined in one room "the whole day" and gives opportunity for the mental relief that comes from change of environment. Evidently the feeling of dawning manhood and womanhood with its " sweet responsibilities" had come to these children. They had tasted the proud privilege of self-education. Their school was to them no longer a fancied preparation for a life far in the future, but had every characteristic of an actual life as they saw it and had come to evaluate it in relation to their own inclinations and hopes.
Interviews with teachers who had guided the work corroborated the expressions of these children. Their testimony indicated that the change in the attitude of the pupils toward the school, including its academic work, was due in large measure to the prominence given to industrial and economic work. This appealed to the practical tendencies and interests of these pupils, made the school worth while to them, " kept them at school" as one of the teachers expresses it, " and gave us a chanoe to keep at them." Moreover, the academic work itself was approached at points of contact with industrial and economic problems. This enabled the pupils to appreciate its value and its need in the achievement of their expanding ideals. To this should be added the strong individual interest of the teachers in the children, the continuous and reverent study of each and all in order " to get at them from within," letting them feel under the stimulus of eager justice and manifest kindness that the school liked them, believed in them and in their worth and ability. Without doubt, too, the effectiveness of this individual interest was aided by the fact that the classes were smaller than those in the current graded school.1
A few; quotations from letters recently addressed to the writer by some of these devoted teachers will bring these -tatements into stronger relief. One of these, who has l>een with the school since its establishment, writes as follows:
Some of these children seemed to have lost all fuiih la their own ability. They were brought to the school by parents who expressed the lioiie that "this last experiment" will prove successful and that the boy or girl "will now get along in school and secure an education.'- It is most interesting to follow these and to notice the change in them, when they begin to realize that their past record is not known or heeded by the faculty, that here they have a chance to begin anew, that the teachers have a special interest in each pupil, that the boys or girls are encouraged to ask questions, and that the work fits their natural tastes and satisfies present and future needs.
Realizing that they can make good in one or more subjects and that the teachers have faith in them, they rapidly gain self-confidence and become happy"
1 The school is organized on the departmental plan, with special teachers for the several subjects of study and work. Mechanical drawing, woodwork, sowing, cooking, English, geography, history, a half-time teacher for art and another for printing, and special teachers for gymnastics and singing. Except In the last two 3Ubjectg, the number of pupils In any one clnss does not exceed 20.
aud industrious. In fact this change is so marked iu many cases that in eight weeks the expression of their countenances is permanently changed for the better, and their carriage and general appearance are similarly improved. In a few cases in which this change failed to be noted I investigated and found Id each Instance that the child was depressed by home conditions.
Another teacher points out a difference between the first and second year students:
The second-year students, as a whole, show initiative, executive ability, poise, and a general intelligence far in advance of the first-year pupils. Also, while iu the matter of discipline it is frequently necessary to reprimand first-year pupils, tills is of rare occurrence with second-year classes. Apparently, the school has succeeded in establishing an abiding interest in work and a feeling of self-respect as well as of respect for the school.
Still another adduces the testimony of parents as to the change of attitude in the life of the boys:
Several parents have come to us and testified that since their boys have come to this school they are more obedient and truthful and more thoughtful of their parents at home. Truancy is less prevalent than in the other elementary schools. A number of boys admitted to me that they used to be truants, but that since they had come to this school they had not missed a day. They showed great pride in these statements. Evidently the pupils are Interested in their work and, what is equally noticeable, in each other's work. They help each other. Frequently, when a pupil has done exceedingly well. I hear of it from others. In class these "retarded children" soon lose their timidity. They no longer hesitate to recite and to express opinions for fear of a mistake.
In this connection it is interesting to note that in many instances pupils who withdraw from the school before graduation do so unwillingly, yielding only to the urgent demands of parents who need their aid as wage earners.
"It is to be regretted that, as yet, detailed and systematic statistics as to the success of graduates and others in subsequent work are not available. A system of " following up," however, is planned by Prof. Lytton S. Beman, the efficient director of the school, to whose judgment and zeal its successful development is largely due.
In the meanwhile, enbugh information is at hand to warrant the inference that the school is meeting quite satisfactory the expectations of its friends. The progress of graduates who have entered the technical and commercial high .schools is reported to be quite satisfactory. They easily hold their own, and in many instances show themselves superior in intellectual grasp and executive ability and noticeble for their earnestness and poise. Graduates who go to work immediately after graduation usually do so after careful inquiry as to the character of the work, its sanitary conditions, its outlook, etc., under guidance of the teachers. They earn from $12 to $'20 per week and soon attain the respect and confidence of their employers.
Concerning those who go to work or are forced into it before graduation, accounts are very meager, although on the whole favorable. A notable fact is that the majority of these, as well as of the graduates at work, seek every opportunity to gain additional information and practice in evening schools and other supplementary schools.
There is much complaint from teachers, parents, and pupils about the location of the school. It is stated that the district is one of the worst in the city; that there are a number of immoral houses in the vicinity of the school; that from a sanitary point of view the immediate neighborhood is objectionable; that there is no room for playground or for school gardens, because on one side there are crowded dwellings each harboring many numerous families, on another there are stables and warehouses separated from the school building by narrow alleys, and the remaining two sides face streets.
It is stated, however, that the school authorities are fully aware of these drawbacks and planning to remedy the evil. With this in view, it is proposed to transfer the school to a special building favorably located and fully equipped for its specific purpose and provided with ample space for playgrounds and a school garden. Moreover, the benefits so far derived from the work of this school, in spite of its drawbacks, are said to have stimulated a desire, ripening into purpose, to establish similar centers in other parts of the city.
There is even a proposition to extend the course of work of such schools and to give to the added year or years a distinctly vocational or trade-school character, with stress possibly upon electric work, printing, drafting, cabinetmaking, patternmaking, the building trades, gardening, or other local needs, and all this with increased emphasis upon civic and other cultural interests.
The statistical account of the history of the school since its organization in 1909 presents a number of problems that call for explanation. The statistical data are presented below; these, as well as the accompanying available explanations, the writer owes to Lytton S. Beman, the efficient director of the school.
The total enrollment for the first year (1909-10) was 152—108 boys and 46 girls. Of these, 51 withdrew in the course of the year to go to work, 1 on account of sickness, and 1 left the city. Of the remainder, 96 were promoted to advanced classes, and 3 who had entered during the latter half of the year could not be so promoted.
The enrollment for the second year was 177—121 boys and 56 girls. Of these, 27 withdrew in the course of the year to go to work and 6 on account of illness. Of the remainder, 53 were graduated, 68 were promoted to advanced classes, and 20 continued in their classes as above. Of the graduates, 22, or 41.5 per cent, entered advanced schools of secondary rank the following year.
The enrollment for the third year was 186—140 boys and 46 girls. Of these, 40 withdrew during the year to go to work, 1 on account of illness, and 3 left the city. Of the remainder, 37 were graduated, 64 were promoted to advanced classes, and 41 were continued in their classes as above. Of the graduates, 20, or 64 per cent, entered advanced schools.
The enrollment for the fourth year was 186—132 boys and 54 girls. Of these, 27 withdrew during the year to go to work, 16 on account of illness, and 1 was dismissed. Of the remainder, 28 were graduated, 121 are promoted to advanced classes, and 21 are continued in their classes as above. Of the graduates, 21, or 75 per cent, have declared their intention to enter advanced schools.
After the first year, and still more extensively after the second year, the school, yielding to pressure from principals and parents, consented to receive pupils who were retarded in the sixth grade and who had reached the age of 13; in some instances this privilege was extended even to fifth-grade pupils. Moreover, these pupils entered at odd times in the course of the year. This will account in a large measure for the increase in the number of nonpromotions at the close, more especially, of the second and third years. It also had a distinct bearing on the decrease of withdrawals in order to go to work and upon the decrease in the relative number of graduates in the third and fourth years, in spite of increase in enrollment.
At the beginning of the fourth school year (1912-13),a change in the administration of the public schools took place. In consequence of this the distribution of application cards for entrance in the industrial school was overlooked; and this resulted in a sudden reduction in the number of entrances at the beginning of this year. The first semester, indeed, showed an enrollment of only 130 pupils—86 boys nnd 44 girls. Although during the second semester this loss was retrieved, the interruption resulted in a notable reduction in the number of graduates at the close of the year. Possibly the increase in the number of withdrawals in order to go to work from 27 in the second to 40 in the third school year is partly due to the same cause, since six months had intervened between the outgoing of the old and the incoming of the new administration.
The phenomenal increase in the number of promotions to advanced classes in the fourth year of the school—121 as against 64 in the third year—will find its explanation in the fact that, because of reduction in the number of pupils assigned to the respective classes during