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public schools feel themselves above work. Then, too, if a boy has patience to invent a design, set it forth in a drawing, construct the separate parts, fit them into place, and finish the whole as a beautiful product of his brain and hand, he has a power, and a sense of his power, that will be of far wider application than to objects of wood and stone.
Besides aiding in intellectual, physical, and moral culture, manual training will give a young person a kind of possession analogous to the arithmetical, historical, and scientific facts which our schools now supply. It is therefore a process of information as well as of discipline. To know how to drive a nail so as to secure strength and neatness, to see quickly and surely how to make ordinary repairs, the ability to construct any simple piece of apparatus, to use readily the saw, plane, and chisel, and keep the tools sharp, are acquisitions of no trifling concern. Everybody has occasion to do repairs, or have them done. They are universal, and not special. Some educators are coming to believe that in this aspect of the case alone there is reason enough to warrant the introduction of training in the use of a few tools. The object would be to make the graduate not a carpenter, but a “ handy" person. In view of the daily life of many of us, such a result of education is eminently desirable.
The four groups of good results to which I have alluded are applicable to both sexes. It is, therefore, no argument against manual instruction that more than half our pupils are girls. The mental, moral, and physical advantages of it are as necessary for the one sex as for the other. There may be a little doubt whether the girls will become so “handy” with tools as the boys, because they in general show less aptitude, and might be expected to work less con amore, Then, too, they have less muscular strength than their brothers, and their costumes are poorly adapted for the rougher parts of carpentry. Yet girls need this facility with tools, and both can and do acquire skill in manipulating them. Every woman must do, or ask others to do, many things requiring such manipulation. Every teacher, especially, has occasion for such ability in preparing illustrative apparatus, and the mass of our teachers are, and are likely to be, of the gentler sex. How much better if these shall be able of themselves to repair or construct what they want than be compelled to beg or hire it done! But is it true that they can acquire this ability? Let Dr. D. B. Hagar, of the State Normal School at Salem, Mass.,-exclusively a school for girls,—testify in his own words.
“The experiment,” says he," which was tried in the Salem Normal School last term, in the way of teaching the senior class the use of some tools, such as carpenters handle, proved quite successful. The young ladies learned to use, with considerable skill, hammers, saws, chisels, planes, squares, augers, etc. They became much interested in the work. It served them as a relief from the usual intellectual labor; it gave them excellent physical exercise in a very entertaining way ; it gave them practice in manipulating with tools, and thus tended to enable them all the more readily to manufacture apparatus for the illustration of various departments of school study. The time devoted to the mechanical labor was limited to one hour a week outside the regular school hours. I think the experiment we made is well worth continuing."
The visitors of the school, in their recent report, speak with equal satisfaction of the experiment, and suggest that the State make provision for further instruction in this direction.
At the Bridgewater Normal School, where ladies and gentlemen are under instruction, a similar experiment has been tried, and the principal, Mr. A. G. Boyden, expresses satisfaction with the results.
The foregoing testimony should be borne in mind when we consider, later, the problem of obtaining teachers in manual work.
Now, supposing that it be granted that manual training, if introduced, would be a valuable means of mental, moral, and physical culture; that it would make the pupils “handy” with tools universally used; and that it would be good for girls as well as for boys. Even then we must inquire whether it can practically be introduced into public schools at present or in the near future. Four questions at once suggest themselves, to whtch I will offer a brief answer, viz. : (1) Where can teachers be found? (2) What shall be the course of manual instruction ? (3) What will be the expense? (4) How can the time for it be secured ?
Of suitable instructors there is now an evident lack, for very few artisans are competent teachers, and few teachers are skilled with tools. Careful search and adequate payment will call out the few who are qualified, and under proper supervision these may train others. Within a year after the date of introduction, normal graduates will be able to do elementary work of this kind. The technical schools, as at Boston and Terre Haute, &c., can furnish directors of such instruction ; even the Agricultural College can assist, for its plan of inception included a wider range of industrial pursuits than mere farming. What many of us have seen done for drawing, can be repeated in this line of work until all teachers of the grades to which it belongs shall add manual skill to their other accomplishments.
The course of lessons best adapted to our purpose cannot to-day be laid down. More experiments must be made ; more information about foreign attempts of this kind diffused. The best thought of our teaching and supervising force must be applied to the problem. Read what the Swedes have been doing; what Professor Adler is attempting in New York ; how Mr. Page succeeded in Boston ; what was attempted at Gloucester, and why that industrial school was given up.
Other sources of information will present themselves. Possibly if we should begin on almost any plan and pursue it methodically, good results would follow. It seems probable that a simple course in wood-work, occupying two or three hours a week for forty weeks, would be a valuable addition to the present education of every grammar-school graduate. What should precede and follow, I will not venture to assert.
As to the expense there are very grave doubts, but we must remember that experiments are always more costly than the regular work to which they lead. The only figures which I deem useful for our present purpose are the following: At the Dwight School, Boston, from Jan. to May, 1882, thirty-six boys were given two hours of this work each week. The instructor gave in all thirty-five lessons of two hours each, and received for his services $175.00. The total expense, excluding room-rent, was $711.95. Fully two-thirds of this sum was a permanent investment. I estimate that eighty lessons of two hours each, with eighteen pupils in a class, could be given for an expense of $1,000, including in that amount instructor's salary, tools, benches, stock, and janitor's salary, but excluding rent of room. This would give a school of thirty-six one lesson a week, of two hours' duration, for a year. At the end of that time the tools, benches, etc., would still be worth at least $375.00 for future use. It seems to me the experiment is not so costly as to prevent its being tried in many cities and large towns.
But where can the time be found for it? A serious question, as we think of the requirements already made upon the schools. Well, so some of us felt when drawing was proposed; but that subject came, demanded its allotment of time, and holds it. So will it be with manual education when the people demand it. In the Boston, Salem, and Bridgewater experiments it has simply been added to the regular work as a voluntary exercise. In the New York school it is part of a plan radically different from our New England order of procedure. Those teachers who are abandoning recesses will find ample time for it in the two hours a week and more which is thus gained; the rest of us would lose nothing if a judicious course of manual exercise should be substituted for a part of our present recess time. Even if our present sessions were lengthened twice a week for this cause, slight objections could be made on grounds of health.
But the truest method of getting at this matter would be to view it broadly. We should set about a reorganization of our whole school curriculum, and by a carefully-devised plan secure the orderly prog. ress of the child's 'culture from the kindergarten age through an elementary course suited to his expanding mental and bodily powers, and then through a course of scientific education, -not distinct from, but supplementary to the former,- until as a high-school graduate he should possess, so far as nature has endowed him and opportunity favored, a general preparation for the duties of life. In such a course manual training should enter at a proper time and proceed through an elementary, if not also through a scientific, stage, to the end “that a trained hand may accompany a disciplined intellect.”
Of such a remodeling in educational ideas the promise, I confess, ris not immediate. But to this result, I believe, the criticism of schools, now so abundant and so annoying, is tending. Some of this criticism is unwise, often even ignorant and unjust,—ostracising an Aristides without suggesting even a Themistocles,--and so is hurtful to the progress of right ideas; yet out of all this agitation will come in due time educational truth. Meanwhile, let us not be dull in thought nor slow to act. As gleams of this truth are revealed to us, let us allow them to shine upon our daily range of labor, and if we can, like the prism, transmit them with added beauty to our fellowworkers.
Manual training as a regular study will not come into general use to-morrow or next year. Let me suggest a simple plan by which, until it shall come, we may encourage voluntary effort of this kind among our scholars. For three years past in Fitchburg, Mass., we have held in our high school, on the last day of the fall term, an exhibition of hand-work. A few weeks in advance the scholars are reminded of its coming. Various committees are appointed, as, for instance, on wood-work, needle-work, cooked food, drawings and paintings, and miscellaneous articles ; each committee has one or more members from each class. These are to invite the willing and urge the hesitating to bring, on the day named, specimens of their hand work to the exhibition. No prizes are offered. The sole restriction is that the exhibits shall be the products or collections of the exhibitor's own hands in out-of-school moments. Knowing of the exhibition all through the year, the pupils sometimes undertake tasks that require considerable time and exertion for completion ; the Christmas season, too, furnishes an additional motive. When the day arrives each committee is given time to arrange the articles behind locked doors, on tables in the drawing-hall,-a work eliciting much taste and judgment. An hour of school-time is then given for the examination of the display,—the most pleasing examination, it is safe to say, which the school-year affords. The table-space of about three hundred square feet is usually covered with specimens of the work of the year. On the walls are drawings, collections of pressed flowers, and of insects. Collections of coins, stamps, and even of cards are admitted. The articles of needlework are of endless variety, and sometimes have required cords stretched above the tables to show them all. The boys have their desks, tables, boxes, clocks, and other works of the saw and the plane. The food cooked by the girls is so good that the dishes always go home empty. One year a pleasing variety was a dozen young ladies' back combs, made from designs furnished by our scholars. At the first of these exhibitions seventyseven pupils out of a hundred and thirty made a hundred and three entries, and a single entry often includes numerous objects. I have not at hand figures as to the later occasions. At the end of the hour the school re-assembles, and after enjoying a short musical and literary exercise, assists the teachers in eating a bushel or two of apples. Then the pupils go home to bring the parents in the later afternoon, to witness the display. At dark the articles are removed.
Such occasions have several good results. They connect more closely the home and the school; help to make school pleasant for the intellectually dull, by cultivating charity for them in view of the skill their hands often have; and furnish a stimulus for manual exertion in leisure moments. I think they would be useful in other schools than our own.
ARTICLES CONSULTED IN THE PREPARATION OF THIS PAPER.
I. Addresses of Mass. Teacher's Association for 1882. (1) Industrial Education, by Gen. Francis A. Walker. (2) Slöjd Schools, by Prof. John M. Ordway.
II. Forty-sixth Report of the (Mass.) Board of Education. (1) Pages 11, 27. (2) Page 153: Report of Com. of the Board. (3) Page 161 : Hand-work Instruction in Sweden, by Prof. John M. Ordway. (4) Page 215: Industrial Instruction in the Dwight School, by James A. Page.
III. Some Practical Aspects of Industrial Education, by Prof. H. H. Straight; page 22.
IV. A New Experiment in Education, by Prof. Felix Adler ; (Princeton Review, March, 1883.)
V. Educational Needs; (North American Review, March, 1883.)
VI. Manual Education in the Public Schools, by Louis H. Marvel ; (EDUCATION, May-June, and July-August, 1883.)
vil. Report for 1882, of Superintendent of Schools, H. F. Harrington of New Bedford.
VIII Report for 1882, of Supt. of Schools, Dr. A. P. Stone of Springfield.
X. Catalogue of the Manual Training School of Washington University, St. Louis, 1882–3.