« PreviousContinue »
coming rapidly when every human being will do what he is fit for without considering the sex. Old-time prejudices are wearing away. It is a fact that the women attending college are as healthy as the men, and hold their own in the recitation room, and in the laboratory. The girls should be given a chance to live as they may choose. The moral gain will be grand beyond contemplation.
The time is coming when we must develop both the mind and the body. Gymnastics might do the latter, but I believe that there are other ways. The wood-working tools are the things that will do this. If we come to develop this matter fully, I believe that nothing will meet the wants as completely as the use of wood-working tools. In casting about for ways and means, we must lay aside all prejudices and look to the eternal fitness of things in all directions. I hope that in future meetings of the section, the question will not be, Shall industrial education be taught ? but How can we teach it?
The President then announced the subject for general discussion: “In Schools of what Grade, may Manual Training be most Properly Introduced ?"
He began by stating that he favored commencing with high schools and working downward. As we have had more experience with older pupils, it would be less difficult to teach older classes. The expense is an important item also ; and the high-school classes being smaller, would require less apparatus and less room. Such a course, too, would wonderfully increase the attendance in high schools, and would make manual instruction popular.
Professor Richards, of Washington, D. C., dwelt on the idea that all industrial education must look in the direction of general results, and of a symmetrical education of the man and the woman. He favored the starting of manual training with the child in the kindergarten, so that he should grow up to be familiar with the industries of life, and talk knowingly and sympathetically with the shoemaker, cook, or carpenter. Industrial education should bring people into sympathy with labor. There are a thousand ways to do this.
Professor Kilbourne, of Springfield, Mass., said that successful experiments had been tried there, with young pupils, by first teaching them to use a hammer, then a gauge, then a try-square. Next they were taught to cut wood into lengths and breadths, and then to make boxes.
Professor M. C. Woodward, of the Manual Training School of St. Louis, suggested that no one should speak over five minutes, so as to give every member a chance to express himself. He then stated that he had great faith in the kindergarten as a field in which to plant the idea of manual training; but he also warned against expecting and attempting too much in the public schools. Manual training is not cheap, and no one advocates it on this ground. It costs money and time, and should be donc most carefully under the guidance of those who have taught it for twelve or fifteen years. Do not try to teach a boy eight years old what ought to be left to a boy fourteen years of age. Do not try to teach trades, and do not select the life-work for a boy too early. Give him his early training first. If properly and intelligently introduced, manual training will be worth all it costs, and work itself into favor with parents and taxpayers.
H. M. Leipziger, director of the Hebrew Technical Institute of New York, excused himself, on the ground of lack of time, for not presenting his paper as advertised in the programme, and offered instead an oral statement of his experience. He thought manual training was not a new, but rather a neglected, part of education, and maintained that there was suitable work for each grade, from the kindergarten to the college. It is necessary, however, to adjust it closely to the course. The gap between the work of the kindergarten and the work with wood-working tools of the higher classes, he would fill with pasteboard work, based upon geometry. He would make everything from drawings, and have the mathematics of all forms well understood. Pupils were fond of such work, and his experience had taught him that they preferred long hours under the manual system, and that their health was better.
Professor Miller, of Toledo, thought that manual training could be profitably introduced into the grammar school. Three years ago, when they commenced in the schools of Toledo, pupils of the high and grammar schools did the same work. At the beginning the high school was ahead, but at the end of the year the younger boys were benefitted equally with the others. At first we gave these pupils two hours in the shop and one hour in the drawing school each day. Next year we cut down the shopwork to one and a half hours; and, upon finding that the intellectual work of the grammar school was inferior to that of the high school, we reduced the time to forty-five minutes per day for each of the two branches, which I consider as the best arrangement.
Professor Miller's experience was interesting in regard to so-called dull boys, upon whom the effect of manual work was especially good. All classes liked the work very much, and the removal from the shop was considered a very severe punishment.
After referring to the work on exhibition in the exposition hall, the professor stated that at Toledo, the girls did nearly the same work as the boys. Carving is added for the former. Both sexes have in addition a good deal of laboratory practice. All seem benefitted in health by the work, especially the girls. And all “honors,” except one, were carried off by members of the manual training classes.
Dr. Gillett, of Jacksonville, Illinois, spoke of the economic value of the new education and the powerful influence upon the boy of his knowledge that he is learning something which can be put to use.
President Ordway acknowledged that industrial education had an economic side, but he warned the teachers against looking at that side first, last, and all the time.
Professor Woodward advocated freedom upon the part of the pupil to enter the manual training classes, and spoke with feeling of the lifting up of the mechanic to a higher level of manhood.
President Ordway disagreed with Professor Woodward in regard to elective courses in high schools, but thought that here, as elsewhere, the teacher must know what will be best under the circumstances.
Dr. Thompson, of Indiana, expressed the hope that the new education would give the city boy that will power and vigor which wins the prize for the country boy in nearly every race of life.
At the close of the meeting, the president appointed a committee con. posed of H. M. Leipziger, of New York; and Dr. Thompson and Professor W. C. Latta, of Indiana, to nominate officers for the ensuing year and report at the meeting of Friday. Professor Leipziger having left the hall, the name of Professor J. D. Walters, of Kansas, was substituted.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON, July 15th, 1887. President Ordway called the meeting to order. After reading the programme of the meeting, he stated that Dr. Felix Adler, of New York, who was to read a paper, was prevented from being present, and that the discussion of the subject, “Can the Teaching of Needle-work in Girls' Schools be Advocated on Pedagogic and Sanitary Grounds?" would be taken up at once.
The teaching of needle work, he said, is much like the teaching of reading or writing-it must be taught properly, or it will not be learned at all. But it is a question whether it is of sanitary advantage. Needlework includes, of course, cutting, fitting, knitting, crocheting, etc. The proper learning of this work is of great economic importance. Cooking is of a similar character, but it requires more physical work, that is, more varied exercise. The latter has been taught in many places very successfully; and, if utility were the end of education, I would place cooking along side, or even ahead, of sewing. If we put the study of reading or writing on economic grounds, we might do the same with sewing and cooking. Girls are not often permitted (?) to learn this work at home, and there ought to be places provided where instruction in these essentials can be had. Both studies have evidently some pedagogic value, They will benefit as diversions from purely mental work, and tend to en able the pupil to concentrate his mind on a single subject. Mrs. Nellie S. Kedzie, Professor of Household Economy at the Kansas State Agricultural College, urged the propagation of the cooking and sewing idea as essentials of the proper educational development of girls. In the past years, she declared, few mothers had taught their daughters the proper method of household management; and it therefore devolved upon the school to do so. It is hardly right, she said, to take the entire time of the pupil for mind work. A fair proportion should be devoted to learning practical things. Girls should be instructed so that, if it should become necessary for them to become servants, they would be good ones; and if they were to be mistresses, they would be capable of properly managing their servants. The difficulties of arranging proper courses in this work are not so great as they may seem at a distance, and the educational, aside from the practical gain is the same as that derived from the shopwork of the boys. In the cooking, especially, there is a great advantage in that it takes the girls entirely away from the mental work and gives them a rest by changing the direction of thought. To my mind, the education of girls includes the work as well as study; and five years of teaching sewing and cooking, bave but strengthened me in this direction.
As for the cost of starting classes in hand-work, I think that ways can be found to provide for the means. My department at the Kansas State Agricultural College expends less than fifty dollars a year; and this is an entire cost for teaching thirty girls. The first expense for the plant, including range, tables, china, etc., was but one hundred and fifty dollars.
We teach cooking to the girls during the winter term of the second year. All the work is done according to a schedule. On Monday, we cook a faculty” dinner, and serve it at noon; and on Friday we prepare a lunch of sandwich, cake, and coffee, for all who wish it for the dinner, we collect twenty cents of each member of the faculty, and for the lunch tickets we charge ten cents. The tickets must be obtained a day before hand. In this simple way we dispose of the prepared food, provide for those who have to stay at the college in the afternoon, on Monday and Friday, and meet the actual expenses of the department.
We also have a term of dairy work for which the farm department furnishes the necessary milk and illustrative apparatus. There has not been the least trouble in managing these classes during the last ten or twelve years. Of course, in a State institution many things can be done which cannot be done elsewhere.
Girls must learn to wait on others, either to become servants, or that which is harder still, to become mistresses.
Professor Potts, of the Toledo manual training school, agreed with Mrs. Kedzie that it was just as difficult to become a master as to become a servant, and that the girls are sadly deficient in matters pertaining to the household. In sewing a great deal might be done to make the work more healthful. He spoke of the necessity of confronting this
second question in industrial education: that of providing for the girls. We have an arrangement at Toledo for teaching sixteen girls at a time; and the experiment at our institution in cooking has been an unbroken success. The parents are converted.
Professor Hatch, of Chicago, held that the great obstacle in the way of the successful introduction of sewing into the schools was the lack of knowledge of this art among the school teachers. It is one of the darkest signs of the present, that so many daughters do not care to learn how to run the household. There is a prejudice against work among the young women of nearly every stratum of society which will be hard to overcome.
Professor J. D. Walters, of the Kansas State Agricultural College, spoke of the industrial education of girls, and more especially of the instruction in sewing in continental Europe. He said that such instruction had been given by some in the states of Germany and a number of cantons of Switzerland, for the last thirty years, and that it had been successful from the first. Two afternoons are given to sewing each week, under the care of the regular lady teacher, who usually has charge of the lower classes of the communal schools. Where male teachers are employed in ungraded schools, a practical seamstress is employed, but no one is permitted to teach without a certificate. It is self-evident that the normal schools give instruction in handwork to their lady pupils. Examinations are held at the close of each term. County exhibitions of such work are held occasionally. The instruction includes all kinds of handwork. Great stress is laid upon mending. Sometimes short courses are given at the end of the year in cooking and vegetable gardening. The arrangement is very popular, especially in the rural districts. I believe we can do as well as our neighbors on the other side of the Atlantic; and the way to do it is to begin with the normal school. Unless the teacher is fully in sympathy with manual labor, his instruction amounts to little,-it is charlatanry and mimicry. It is to a lack of sympathy with actual work that I ascribe the greater part of failures in industrial and agricultural schools.
Professor Parton, of Nebraska, spoke of the waste in the American kitchen, reading statistics in proof of his statement. Reducing the value of food consumed in different countries to bushels of wheat, Russia uses but nineteen bushels per inhabitant per year ; France, twenty-three bushels; Germany, nearly as much; while the United States are credited with forty bushels. Certainly we are more in need of cooks than dress-makers. We do not know how to produce economic meals. I venture to say that a cook can earn as much or more than the best lady teacher.
Several speakers admitted that the American kitchen wasted a great deal, but held that at the same time the American was better fed than the European. Where food is cheap and all refuse matter goes to the pigpen, waste on the table is not a complete loss.