« AnteriorContinuar »
PRESENT STATUS OF INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION IN THE UNITED
The present status of the industrial education movement in the United States is peculiar. Perhaps not more so, however, than its development from its inception. It is one outcome of the feeling of dissatisfaction with the older methods of education and the effort to make public education more practical. The same feeling has manifested itself in the reform of the college course by reducing the amount of classical study required, by the introduction of elective courses, the adoption of the seminary method, and the extension of the laboratory method in scientific study. As far as industrial education is concerned, this movement made its beginning and has reached its highest development in schools of a scientific or technological character. These schools, the first of which is only about thirty years old, now rank in their kind with any in the world, and taken all in all, as educational institutions, they are of equal rank with the best universities. From these schools the movement has extended through the agricultural colleges until it has reached, and is now transforming, the methods of instruction in the public schools. Its immediate influence on the public schools has in many instances been through schools established by private enterprise for manual education. The success of these experiments has determined the fate of the new education. Some of the larger public schools have carried the experiment to success and have been eagerly followed in the work by the more ambitious of the smaller ones. Several states
ind rsed the movement by appropriations and others by legislation permitting its adoption in public schools.
The schools which would properly be included in any consideration of the subject of industrial education differ very much in character. From the school which aims to give the pupil simple educational exercises in drawing, modelling, and wood working, to the schools which turn out the skilled designer, dyer, or mechanical engineer, is a long step. Between these two extremes are schools of various grades and characters. To present all these without some attempt at classification would give but a confused idea of the progress that has been made by the industrial movement in education. The line of demarcation between schools of such various aims and methods as those considered is not sharply drawn; but we could hardly 'expect to find it otherwise. Many of the courses of instruction offered by the schools are confessedly experimental and
quite naturally follow widely different lines. Manual training, simply as an educational feature, is found more commonly in courses of the grammar and high school grades. The best schools are not all, how. ever, under public management. Some of the earliest schools were established, and are still successfully carried on, entirely by private enterprise. The simple exercises in drawing, modelling, and wood working, which have characterized the beginnings in some of the public schools, are quite different from such complex courses as are offered in the Saint Louis, Chicago, or Baltimore manual training schools. Some of the higlier grade schools, too, of more complex organization will be found with departments that might be classed as strictly manual training, while having also the technological department. The line between the trade and technical schools will in some cases be more difficult of definition. The so-called trade schools may be said, in general, to train apprentices, while the technical schools turn out men thoroughly instructed and trained in all that science as well as manual skill has accomplished. Any classification that might have been made would be arbitrary and probably open to criticism. The classification that has been adopted had for its aim the bringing together of schools of the same general purposes and character. It was thought that a much clearer idea could thus be gained of what has been accomplished along the different lines followed by the various schools.
As presented in this chapter the schools are separable into four classes, viz., manual training schools, trade and technical schools, agricultural colleges, and institutes of technology.
Manual training in the public schools will be found to have been more often the subject of experiment in the northeastern states, perhaps, than anywhere else. Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York seem to have led in the number of experiments, though it certainly can not be said that any single one of these experiments, or the results attained by any one, overshadows in importance those that have been made in Baltimore, Chicago, Omaha, Philadelphia, or Toledo. But in these states the movement seems to have made more progress in the smaller cities and towns. In New Jersey the reason is clear. The encouragement which the state has officially given by duplicating any sum between $500 and $5,000 which might be subscribed or appropriated has tempted some of the smaller places to give the work a trial where it probably would not have been thought of without the state's offer. In several other states there has been state action in the line of permissive legislation-either authorizing taxation or allowing school boards to take measures to incorporate manual training with the branches already taught in the public schools. So that whatever may have been done in these states is the result of local legislation and may be assumed to represent local sentiment. It may probably be said, too, that if the manual training instruction has been retained in most of these places, it has been from a feeling of satisfaction with the results of the trial.
In the South different conditions prevail. But here, too, the movement has made a good deal of progress. The industrial element has been incorporated in very many of the schools established for the benefit of the colored people. These schools are not generally of a public character, though in many cases the state has freely voted funds for their support. The expenses of attendance are small, however, and frequently tuition can be obtained free of charge. The schools usually offer instruction for all grades from the preparatory to the theological student. The normal and agricultural courses will be found prominent features. The John F. Slater fund divides its income of about $45,000 among forty-four different schools for the colored race. The fund as now administered is doing much to advance the cause of industrial training. Whatever the result of this training upon the graduates, it offers, under the plans adopted in many schools, the opportunity to the students of paying in great part the expenses of their education in work. Generally it is not possible to point to positive results of the industrial training upon the occupations of the graduates. The demand for teachers and ministers of the colored race all over the South seems to take up nearly all the better and more proficient of the graduates.
In the adaptation and application of manual training principles to the needs of different schools, it often happens that the methods and extent of the work are greatly modified by varying local conditions. The public schools, for example, in whose curricula the new discipline is tentatively incorporated, can not, as a rule, carry it much beyond the elementary exercises of drawing, modelling in clay, and the simple manipulations of carpentry, with plain sewing and cooking. The expense of equipment and the cost of maintenance (to say nothing of its inexpediency from an educational point of view) forbid the further extension of the experiment, at least, outside the larger cities. Thus, in the public schools of Somerville, Massachusetts, sewing is the sole branch of manual training; in the high school at Albany, New York, wood work and sewing are taught; while in the Philadelphia Manual Training School, drawing, clay modelling, and tool instruction comprise the whole of this special instruction.
In the great incorporated manual training schools like those at Chicago and Saint Louis, on the other hand, a more thorough course is pursued, including carpentry, wood turning, patternmaking, cabinet work, foundery work, forging, machine shop work, etc. The inethods of teaching adopted in these institutions are analogous to those in vogue in institutions of technology and other professional schools where the student acquires a knowledge of science not from text-books merely, but from a severe course of practice and experimentation in the laboratory.
A glance at some of the ways in which manual training has been