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scholastic athletics have most certainly been training for citizenship as well as for emergencies. The fundamental idea of teaming or team work is necessary to every business, professional, or institutional enterprise, and in our athletics that idea becomes grounded in a boy's character. Loyalty is necessary to citizenship and should be an object of education. To get out and pull for the team, to win and to suffer with it in defeat, develops a school spirit and a school pride.
The criticism directed toward athletics deals with the abuse of the prevailing system. A great deal can be said about foul tactics and questionable methods, and during the past there has been much ground for such criticism. Imbued with the desire to win, there has been a tendency to adopt the German policy that might makes right and anything is permissible to win. But gradually we have been correcting this error by having our boys coacht and supervised by men who have been more interested in character-building than in winning.
The most important criticism directed toward our interscholastic or intercollegiate athletics is that we overdevelop a few and neglect the masses, and it is this mistake that demands immediate remedy. When our athletes are meeting the nation's demands in such an encouraging way the deplorable feature is that we have produced such a small number of them. The remedy for this error is intraschool or intramural athletics. They should be made as much a part of the school as the interscholastic athletics, so far as the boys are concerned. What is good for the few is good for all. All have an equal right to the use of the school property, the gymnasium, and the athletic field. All have an equal right to the instruction of the athletic teachers and directors.
To abolish interscholastic athletics in order to promote the mass idea would be a serious mistake. A few colleges have tried the plan, but with very questionable success. Love of contest is not enough to get our highschool boys to do their best, and unless they do their best the interest soon lags and little good is accomplisht. Good playing, as well as a knowledge of the rules, is gained by associating with and observing the players on the regular school team. There must be a goal for a boy's work. Practically every boy in a school would give anything to be on the varsity team, yet only the best will go out and try for it. A boy wants to know before going out that there is a chance for him to make the team. But the mediocre boy and even the poorly developt boy, if given an opportunity to compete against boys of his own age, size, and experience, jumps at the opportunity. He gets on his class, session-room, or some other team. Unconsciously he develops himself to a place where he has more confidence in his own ability.
We need more school teams so that our athletics may be representative of the different stages in the development of our boys. With the number of school teams multiplied by three the number of boys participating is naturally increast in like ratio. This alone will account for the greater number of boys physically able to engage in competitive games in a small school with less than one hundred boys. In larger schools, with the school sports designated as heavyweight, lightweight, and midget weight, it becomes an easy matter to organize intramural leagues in each division.
Wrestling, gymnastics, tennis, cross-country running, and many other tournaments can be conducted in the same way, even tho there are no school teams in those sports.
In a school where there is but one small gymnasium and an athletic field to correspond it is difficult to put thru a full intramural program and at the same time keep up the present pace in interscholastic athletics. The best solution of the problem is to decrease the number of interschool games played and make the respective seasons much shorter. Run off the intraschool leagues first and pick in each division all-star teams, which then become the school teams. This gives the very best players for the final school team and is an inducement for the boys to do their best in the preliminary games. A condenst schedule can then be played with other schools, and if some championship is at stake a final tournament or, what is better, a series of elimination games can be played. Let the principals of the schools in each league get together, place a limit on interschool competition, and agree on definite dates for the opening of the interschool seasons, all with the idea of getting more boys in the game.
The Oak Park High School board has been during the last five years gradually putting into effect this idea of mass athletics. The details of the system have been left with the physical directors, but the board has stood sponsor and has furnisht the protection and inducements for furthering the plan. The path has not been a rosy one. The transition of a school that was saturated with the one-team idea into one for every boy in the game has been most difficult. The community had learned to think in terms of national championships. It took courage for a school board to change the athletic policy and have the time and energy of the coaches devoted to the interests of all the boys to the neglect of the school heroes. But gradually the public settled down to a new level and began to take a different view of things. By degrees people awoke to the fact that an unusual number of boys were participating in the athletics.
Once the old handicap was removed the teams improved. The idea of national championships has been entirely forgotten, and the school takes just as much pride in fighting for and winning the prized banner in the local high-school league of ten schools. During the school year just finisht, out of a possible eight championships in the league the school won five. All the school teams get less coaching than ever before, but the competition for places is much keener, and boys are brought to the front who would never have been discovered under the old method.
In working out the system of intramural competition the session-room is taken as a unit. This basis of division in a large school has a tremendous advantage over any other, as the boys in the session-rooms are thrown together for fifteen minutes each morning, and for four days of the week are in the room together during a forty-five minute study period. The boys become acquainted immediately, and a little community starts. Announcements, elections, and many affairs that concern only the individual session-room are held.
At the beginning of the athletic season each room elects managers for the various forms of competition-soccer, basket-ball, wrestling, track, and baseball—and as most of these sports are divided into classes according to age and weight there is an opportunity for almost every boy to get on a team. The managers are called together and are organized into a board of control. Schedules are drawn up, and each manager is responsible for all announcements being made in his room, and for scores of games being given the proper publicity.
Quite recently the president of the school board told the writer that one day last November he visited the various fields when no one suspected his presence and counted over two hundred boys engaged in competition. This figure included about eighty-five boys who were practicing for the school teams at that time.
The gymnasium is large enough for two basket-ball courts, so that eight games can be played each afternoon. In addition the running-track affords room for track competition, and by utilizing the space under the runningtrack wrestling and gymnastics are conducted at the same time. Last winter there were forty-five basket-ball teams in the three leagues, each team playing twice each week. All-star squads were chosen to represent the school in an independent schedule with the teams from other high schools, so that for the last month of the season the school was represented by four teams.
No figures have been kept to show the exact number of boys taking part, but the number on the various teams in competition during last year runs over one thousand. Probably 50 per cent of these are duplicates, so that it would seem that about five hundred of the six hundred boys in the school get into some form of organized team play.
With what results in regard to citizenship? A general deduction is hard to make, but a few points stand out very prominently. Everybody in the game makes athletics democratic, and every boy feels that he is a cog in the machine. He feels that he helpt to make the team, and if it is not successful he is partially to blame. Gradually the rooting at games has taken on a different aspect. There has been a very noticeable improvement in individual honesty and sportsmanship. In the intramural games students act as referees but perform little more than the mechanical part of that official's duties. This democratic control makes any boy who would use foul tactics very unpopular; no boy will long stand against the ill will of his fellows, and as a result a spirit of good sportsmanship and clean play dominates the whole athletic situation.
It is said that in the European countries at war juvenile crime is greatly on the increase. In Vienna the increase for 1916 is quoted as being 340 per cent greater than the year before. Whether there will be a similar increase in America after two or three years of war depends largely on the efforts in our secondary schools, and one of the greatest opportunities lies in the after-school program. In this hour of crisis we must forget our old ideas of athletics and bend all our energies to the benefit of the greatest number.
THE EMERGENCY IN SECONDARY EDUCATION
GEORGE D. STRAYER, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION COMMISSION ON THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY IN EDUCATION,
NEW YORK, N.Y.
It has been said that this war is a war of engineers. It might as well be said that it is a war in which superior intelligence will, in the long run, bring victory. We need to keep every capable boy and girl in school thru the secondary school period and on thru the university and professional school if we are to win out after the world-struggle which will persist even beyond the day of the declaration of peace.
The present emergency has made us conscious of certain alarming deficiencies in our scheme of secondary education. We know now that we have postponed too long the period of beginning the secondary-school studies. We, in common with the more highly civilized people of the world, should undertake the serious work of the secondary school at twelve rather than at fourteen years of age. At present, American boys and girls of eighteen years of age are approximately two years behind their European contemporaries in intellectual training. We prided ourselves, and rightly, on the physical and mental alertness of our youth. But we may not be satisfied with our scheme of education until we have accomplisht vastly more than we now do in intellectual training during the secondary school period.
Differentiated courses of study in the intermediate schools should provide, not only for those who are to go on thru the high school and college, but also for boys and girls who are to go into commerce or industry, or who are to contribute thru the development of special skill in trades.
A very much larger provision should be made in the household arts, including cooking, sewing, millinery, dressmaking, designing, household decoration and management, and the like for girls who will make their greatest contribution along these lines. In these schools there should be a definite attempt to discover special aptitudes and abilities, in order that educational guidance may result in placing boys and girls in such courses as will permit them to develop their greatest possible efficiency.
But the problem of secondary education will not be solved by the introduction of the three-year intermediate school followed by the three-year high-school course. We must provide for the reorganization of our courses of study even in the fields which seem best establisht. Without sacrificing the intellectual training which we hope to provide, there should be a revision of many of our subjects in such a manner as to provide in them some definite relationship to the everyday experience and work. Already a beginning has been made in mathematics, science, and certain other subjects. Nothing is lost in teaching the kind of mathematics which can be used in the shop, in the home, or in the explanation of everyday phenomena. The science which is related to our everyday life is quite as important as the science which in the lives of boys and girls is related only to laboratory experiments. The teaching of modern languages will be vastly more significant in intellectual training if we recognize the necessity for a kind of teaching in this field which would hold before boys and girls a standard of achievement which can be satisfied only when they are able to speak and to write in the foreign tongue.
If the work of the secondary school is to be developt in relation to our modern needs we shall have to provide more adequate training for teachers. If the American people are wise they will make it possible for a man or a woman to find a career in teaching in our secondary schools comparable to that to be found in medicine, in law, or in engineering. Surely it is of as great importance to the future of our country that men of broad training, of keen intelligence, and of highest ideals be associated with our children during this most important period of their development as it is that we provide adequate service in the other professions. We can never hope to secure this kind of a teaching corps unless we are willing to invest vastly greater sums in teachers' salaries. Our choicest men and young women may not be expected to engage in this highest type of national service without sufficient salaries to enable them even to have ordinary comforts or to lead the kind of life which makes for intellectual growth and development. The future of our American citizenship, the ideals of our leaders, are in very large degree dependent upon the action which the American people take in support of teachers in their schools.
EDUCATION OF THE ADOLESCENT IN ENGLAND
FRANK ROSCOE, SECRETARY OF THE TEACHERS' REGISTRATION COUNCIL,
(From notes taken by Miss Schmidt) Mr. Frank Roscoe, secretary of the Teachers' Registration Council, London, England, who represents the government and education associations of Great Britain, spoke on the education of the adolescent at a meeting