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PRACTICAL DETAILS OF MANUAL TRAINING.
The numbered questions which follow were prepared during the winter, and sent not only to members of the committee, but to many others likely to be interested in them. Answers have been received from seven members of the committee, and from Messrs. John M. Ordway, of New Orleans; E. R. Booth, of Cincinnati; John B. Steinert, of Elgin, Ill.; Geo. B. Kilbon, of Springfield, Mass.; and A. M. Bumann, of Omaha.
The views of these gentlemen are incorporated in the report, very briefly when they agree with the chairman, and more fully and exactly when they differ, and when they take decided new ground. It is hoped that the opinions of all are duly expressed.
It seems fitting to say at the outset, that we have reached a stage in the history and development of manual training when its general educational value may safely be assumed. Its struggle for existence is over, and we can now with propriety devote our energies to the work of improving its details and of assigning it to its appropriate place.
As would be expected of any new feature in education, there is great diversity of opinion in matters of details. The exhibits of manual-training work now in this city (St. Paul) are a sufficient evidence of this; and yet this should excite no surprise. It is probable that equal differences exist in regard to methods and appliances for teaching geography and reading. Hence it seems highly desirable that in place of arguing longer for the educational, economic, moral, and physical value of manual training, we discuss details.
1. The first question related to the nomenclature peculiar to manual training. It is convenient to secure uniformity in the use of names and definitions.
We are all agreed that the name “Forging Shop” should be used in place of "Blacksmith Shop."
All but Mr. Bennett are opposed to the use of the name “Carpentry” and “Carpenter Shop.” The name “Woodworking Shop" meets with the greatest favor in cases where joinery, carring, and turning are all done in the same room. If but a single kind of woodwork is done in a room the shop should be named accordingly: as the “Joinery Shop,” the “Turning Shop,” the “Carring Shop," the "Pattern Shop," etc.
Prof. Ordway thinks “Woodworking" means too much. “Woodworking," he says, “includes wood-turning, coopering, wheelwright's work, pattern-work, and carving; it is better not to use the term in a limited sense.”
Mr. Kilbon objects to the term “Shop” as misleading and unsuited to a school. He would use “Tool-Room" instead. “Laboratory” has been used by some and objected to by others, as already appropriated by the natural science studies. It will be remembered that the late Courtlandt Palmer spoke of the building where tool instruction was given, and where tool practice was obtained, as the “ Tool House."
The majority favor the continued use of “Machine Shop" as the name for the shop where metals are wrought cold, provided there be but one room. Mr. Kleinschmidt prefers “ Machine-Tool Shop.” Prof. Ordway says: “Machine Shop' is certainly objectionable for any proper school shop. I prefer to speak of the 'Iron-Turning Room,' the ‘File Room,' &c."
Mr. Sayre has two rooms for cold-metal work, one with machinery, the other without. He says:
** I object to the terms · Bench-Work'or · Vise-Work,'' Carpentry,''Blacksmithing,' as savoring too much of the commercial shop, and too suggestive of trades.' I particularly object to the term • Machine Shop,' as the words convey an idea directly opposed to that involved in manual training. I think the less machinery used in a manual-training school the better. The introduction of several complicated machines, such as planers, shapers, drill-pressers, screw-cutting lathes, is too suggestive of a manufacturing or commercial establishment, and is in danger of jeopardizing the very object for which manual-training schools exist, viz.: Teaching and learning the use of tools, the methods of working materials, and the construction and use of shop-drawings, where the mastery of tools, materials, and methods is the end in view.'
" Beyond the steam-engine for the purpose of furnishing motor power for the grindstones and lathes (and also to give the pupils the opportunity of studying steam-engineering), I would not go any further than to provide one of each of the machines above mentioned — simply to familiarize the pupils with their uses, and to facilitate certain processes which have already been taught to be done by hand."
Mr. Sayre stands quite alone in thus limiting the amount of machine practice; though that subject was generally not touched upon. Mr. Booth and Mr. Bennett approve of the term “Machine Shop" because “it is used in commercial establishments,” thus standing at the other extreme.
As to some of the terms used in joinery there is great variety. Three words are used to express the fact that the details of a completed joint are invisible, viz.: blind, secret, hidden. The greater number prefer“blind.” The term is a little forced, though it may be said that at no point does the joint look out an observer. The words “secret” and “hidden" are objected to as appearing to have a sinister meaning. As to the use of the word “dowel,” Mr. Mills and Mr. Kleinschmidt declare that it may properly be applied only to joints in which “a pin or pins form the essential feature of the joint."
We desire to protest strongly against the use of the word “ mechanical” as descriptive of a kind of drawing. Yesterday Mr. Aborn, of Cleveland, made, freehand, what he called a mechanical drawing. It was merely a freehand projection-drawing. It is probable that “ mechanical” usually signifies “with instruments.” To prevent all obscurity, it is suggested that "instrumental” be used to describe all drawing in which instruments are used. It is difficult to see why an orthographic projection should be called mechanical any more than a linear perspective, if both are made freehand. They are equally projections on planes.
2. Should we recognize as manual training properly so-called experimental work in physics, chemistry, or dynamicx ? Should we not insist that manual training is limited to teaching and learning the use of tools, the methods of working materials, and the construction and use of shop-drawings, where the mastery of tools, materials and methods, is the immediate end in view! And should we not also insist that when, on the basis of more or less manual training, the student goes on to utilize his training in science and art laboratories, his work there should be called “Science Work” or “Art Work"!
This question contains three divisions. With one exception the unanimous answer to the first division is, that the experimental study of physics, chemistry and dynamics is not manual training properly so-called. At the same time, all agree that such experimental work should be encouraged, and that all possible skill of hand and knowledge of materials should be utilized in experimental work. I give Mr. Crawford's answer below.
The second part contains a definition of manual training. This is indorsed by all but Messrs. Crawford, Bennett, and Mills. Mr. Mills says he sees "no reason why a moderate amount of experimental work in physics and chemistry should not be included in manual-training work in an elementary way in connection with the purely 'book' work.” Though apparently differing, it seems probable that Mr. Mills is more interested in maintaining experimental work in science than he is in giving exact definitions.
Mr. Crawford says (and the italics are his):
“I think that all experimental work, whether in physics, chemistry, dynamics, or elsewhere, in which the success of the experiment depends upon the skill of the hand, should be recognized as manual training. I do not believe that manual training is limited to teaching and learning the use of tools, the methods of working materials, and the construction of and use of shop-drawings, where the mastery of tools, materials and methods is the immediate end in view; but I do believe that manual training embraces all hand exercises, with or without tools, the primary object of which is intellectual development."
Mr. Bennett says:
“If you will leave the phrase, “and the construction and use of shop-drawings,' out of the second part, and in its place put 'according to given drawings and specifications,' I will answer, yes. I see no good reason why the 'construction of draw. ings should be called manual training, but I think I do see many reasons why it should not. If we are to draw the lines around manual training so that the word will mean some specific branch of educational work, it seems to me that we must not have it include drawing.
"We all know what drawing is. It has become a necessary and permanent part of our school-work. Why cannot manual training, without robbing its neighbors, hold just as dignified and honorable position: Manual training is not a conglomerate, composed of drawing, kindergarten work, scientific manipulation, and tradeschool work. However closely it may walk beside these, however much assistance it may render them, however much life it may receive from them, it still has distinguishing features which should forever make it a separate individual."
Mr. Sayre says in reference to the whole question:
“I think the work in the chemical, physical and electrical laboratories, in the third year, should be supplemented by the construction of apparatus for those de
partments, and also by the construction of typical forms involving mechanical principles which do not require the agency of machinery to finish. The work in the laboratories I should call Science Work,' and the freehand drawing, designing, coloring, clay-modeling, wood-carving and grill-work I should designate as ‘Art Work.'"
It thus appears that there is substantial agreement as to what is meant by the term, “ Manual Training,” and as to the distinction between that work and science and art work. It may be well to discuss at this meeting the views of Mr. Crawford, and the propriety of including all freehand drawing, wood-carving, and grill-work, under "Art Work.”
3, 4. Should any regular shop-work except in wood be introduced into the grammar grades? Should this wood-work include more than joinery and wood-carving ? How long and how frequent should such exercises be? All responses agree in answering “No”
in answering “No” to both parts of question three. Mr. Belfield says:
“Pasteboard, clay, and wood in schools lower than high schools. Joinery is enough in wood. Don't see much education in wood-carving, and don't practice it
"I doubt the wisdom of putting regular shop-work in the grammar grades, not only on account of the difficulties in getting teachers for that kind of work, but as a general thing boys under fourteen have not the physical strength to do the work properly, or the mental ability to comprend the logical processes involved in the work. It would largely be mechanical imitation, which is quite different from manual training."
“I am not in favor of introducing any regular shop-work, except wood, in the grammar grade, and then only in the highest grammar grade. I would not introduce wood-turning until they have finished this grade, as I find that pupils have not grown thoughtful enough to work safely with machinery. I think the tendency is to begin the regular instruction in the use of tools too early, before the pupil has reached the age of reflection. To such pupils the bright tools appeal more as pretty toys than as means by which certain ends are to be gained. Pupils when too young do not stop to reason out a process, but much rather come to the instructor with the question, What must I do next?' The older pupils in the same class will not ask such a question, but will go on, and come afterwards with the question, 'Is that correct?' The younger ones can imitate but not reason from one step to another."
“The best work for boys in the grammar school is wood-work and joinery in particular. Carving should be left for the higher schools. But, under some circumstances, wire-work, and what the Germans call 'papp-arbeit,' might be introduced. I should not advise any work in the grammar school except what can be done with simple tools and without any machinery.
“I doubt the propriety of starting boys in wood-work before they are twelve years old. The lessons should occupy less than one hour, and I believe three lessons a week will do."
Mr. Crawford :
“I have had regular classes from lower and higher grammar grades, i. e., seventhand eighth-year pupils, or pupils twelve to fourteen years old, for the past four years, and they have been very profitable. We have one-hour lessons, three days per week, in shop. Two days per week, pupils take drawing in school-house."
** I don't think it would be profitable to have the grammar grades take up the wood-work. They are too young to get the most benefit from it, and it would be well to let it be introduced in the high school. I get good results by giving three lessons of one and one-half hours per week. I wouldn't advise giving any less than three lessons a week, and one and one-half hours long."
* The experience I have had at this time and for the past five years with students of the senior grammar grade, would dictate that regular work in wood should be carried no further down, for reasons expressed in Q. 29 of your letter. Even in this grade, many students are found too young to properly grasp the work. We found it necessary to cut the lessons down to forty-five minutes per day, in shop-work."
“In connection with this I wish to say, that I believe there is manual training that is best adapted to pupils of the seventh and eighth grades, but that it is not the same that is best adapted to pupils of high-school grade. I think it is useless to give a seventh-grade boy a complete kit of tools to work with. It is money wasted. The boy at that age can best acquire the mastery of but few tools. Give him the knife and the chisel, with the proper laying-out tools, and perhaps a small saw, and he has all that he can master in the time which properly belongs to manual training,
"In answer to the question, I would say that the average pupil cannot profitably undertake working in wood with edge tools earlier than the seventh grade. This statement is based on actual experience. In the Hancock school of this city. Mr. Pickwick tried the experiment in the knife- and try-square-work with pupils from the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Only pupils of the two upper grades could do the work properly. My own experience in another school would verify this statement. Full kits of tools should not be given to the pupil until one year later.
“For pupils of the seventh grade the lessons should not be over thirty minutes long, if they have manual training twice per week. I should favor four thirty-five or forty-minute lessons."
Mr. Anderson : ** Lowest high-school grade, one hour and thirty minutes ; five lessons per week."
“ Nine years of age, lessons forty minutes long; once a week for pupils nine and ten years of age."
5. ('un edge tools, other than knives and scissors, be put into pupils' handa in regular school-rooms?
This question was generally answered in the negative, and sometimes with emphasis.