Page images





MARKET HALL, St. Paul, MINNESOTA, July 9, 1890. The joint session of the Departments of Elementary Schools and of Industrial Education and Manual Training was called to order at 3 P. M.; Andrew J. Rickoff, of New York, in the chair.

The meeting opened with repeating the Lord's Prayer; after which Mr. Rickoff made a few opening remarks.

A piano solo was then given. - N. A. Calkins, of New York City, read a paper on “A Course of Manual Training for Primary Classes."

John E. Bradley, of Minnesota, read a paper on “Manual Training in Grammar Grades."

“Manual Training in the Elementary School" was the subject of a paper by W. N. Hailmann, of La Porte, Indiana.

Mr. Hailmann was followed by H. M. James, of Omaha, Nebraska, on “The Influence of Manual Training in Elementary Schools."

The last paper on the program was “Drawing: A New Method," by Frank Aborn, of Cleveland, Ohio. This paper was illustrated with blackboard drawings. The Department then adjourned.






According to the announcement by the program, it appears that I am to speak about primary classes; and from the association of this announcement with others for this meeting, and from the remarks just made by your presiding officer, I conclude that I am expected to say something about the beginning-work in primary classes that leads to manual training. With the hope of aiding you to understand what I may say in relation to this subject, I will endeavor, first, to give you a brief account of steps taken by the Board of Education of New York City for introducing manual training into the public schools there; and perhaps an outline of what was done by one board to overcome difficulties may suggest hints to others as to what may be done elsewhere.

When you remember that the public schools of New York contain about 200,000 pupils, and employ nearly 4,000 teachers—who had received no special instruction in manual training when the Board began to discuss the propriety of introducing this feature of education — and then further consider the cost of the materials and appliances necessary to success in this work, you may be able to realize some of the difficulties to be overcome in beginning a new form of instruction.

The system of public instruction in New York embraces three classes or grades of schools, viz.: Primary, grammar, and college. In the college for boys, mechanical drawing, wood-work and iron-work had been a part of the course of instruction for two or more years, when the City Superintendent was requested to ascertain and report what had been done in manual training, or work leading to it, in schools of other cities. Facts relating to this matter were collected from several cities in the East, in the West, and from other parts of the country, and embodied in a report to the Board of Education.

It was found that the "work-shop" was a prominent feature in the plans for manual training; and that provision for shop-work was generally limited to the pupils of the high schools, and to those of the most advanced class in the grammar schools.

After careful consideration of this subject, the Board of Education decided that if this feature of education was valuable, it should be adapted to and provided for all grades of pupils in each of the three classes of schools - primary and grammar, as well as high schools. In accordance with this decision, a course of manual instruction was prepared for each grade of classes from the lowest primary to the highest grammar, and it was made obligatory, so that each pupil should be trained in this work as well as in reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.

Furthermore, in order to thoroughly test the practical value of this feature of education, before making it general throughout all the schools of the city, the Board decided that until further action is taken, such course shall not be introduced into more than six male grammar schools, and six female grammar schools, and the primary departments and schools connected with them.

The conditions under which these twelve schools were selected were essentially as follows, viz.: First. All the teachers of the school must unite in a request that provision be made for the manual-training course in their school. If the trustees and the committee on course of study approved of such application, then the necessary materials, appliances and additional teachers for this special work were furnished by the Board of Education. To meet the expenses of this experiment the sum of $15,000 was appropriated for the first year. A few schools began the work in February, 1888, but the course was not introduced into all of the twelve grammar schools that had been selected until 1889. The fact that these schools were selected from those with widely differing conditions as to the class of pupils attending them, made the test valuable in relation to the general utility of the course. In one of these manual-training schools I asked the principal, “ How many nationalities are represented in your school ?” He replied, “I took a census a few months ago, and then found in the primary and grammar departments twenty-seven, and there are now at least twenty-five varieties of nationality represented here. Among them are English, Irish, Scotch, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Poles, German --- high and low --- Bohemians, Hungarians, Armenians, Chinese, etc.

COURSE FOR PRIMARY CLASSES. The general plan of instruction in the primary course for manual training is to develop conceptions of form through seeing objects, handling objects, clay-modeling, stick-laying, etc., and to represent conceptions of objects by clay-modeling, paper-folding, cutting, and drawing.

The methods pursued lead the pupils to see and draw lines as the representatives of strings held in different positions, and to represent lines and angles with sticks; also by folding papers, by cutting papers, etc.

I will give one or two simple illustrations: Pieces of paper are distributed to a primary class, and each pupil told to fold one piece from end to end, then to observe the line at the folded edge. Next, they are directed to fold the same paper from side to side; then to open it and notice that one line crosses the other so as to form four right angles, thus, [illustrating.]

The pupils may then be directed to fold another piece of paper so as to make the longest possible line in it; then to fold the same paper from side to side, so as to make obtuse and acute angles, thus, [illustrating.]

Following these, the pupils may be directed to compare the angles on the two pieces of paper, and notice their differences in form and size. If the teacher wants to lead the pupils to see an error in their attempts to draw a right angle, they may be told to place on the drawing the right angle formed by folding the paper as in the first illustration, thus, [illustrating.] By these and similar elementary steps the pupils become familiar with the common solid and plane forms. The discipline in observation and representation, combined and interwoven with manipulative exercises in construction, prepares the way for an application of the knowledge of form thus gained.

Following this primary work, the use of instruments in mechanical drawing begins and is continued through the grammar grades, with applications of simple problems in geometry, and graphic solutions of selected geometrical theorems; and with drawing from measurements, and drawings for work-shop. Freehand drawing, leading to ornamental designs, is continued.

During the last three years in the grammar school, the boys are taught by successive steps the use of tools, the making of joints, working from drawings, etc.; and in the first two years in the grammar school, in addition to designs in ornamental and decorative drawing, the girls are taught sewingintroductory lessons having been given during the last year in the primary course. In the third year, the girls are taught practical cooking, together with the related chemical and physical facts.

The amount of time spent in all the work pertaining to the manual-training course, including drawing, is about two hours per week in each class, exclusive of those engaged in the work-shop and the cooking-room. The extra time allowed for the work-shop is about one and one-half hours per week, and for the cooking-room one hour per week.

In relation to the results of manual training in the public schools of New York, it has been found that teachers who knew little or nothing of this work two years ago, have become successful in training their pupils, and both teachers and pupils are interested in the work. The effect upon the order of the school is favorable, rather than otherwise – the boys and girls keep steadily at their work because they are interested in it.

One day I asked a principal of a grammar school in which manual training had been a part of the course of instruction for about one year, “What effect have you observed on your school from this new feature in education?” He replied: "I have made the discovery that it is changing the character of the teaching in other subjects, and making it much more efficient. I am satisfied,” he continued, without taking into consideration the value of habits of careful observation gained, that the time spent in manual-training work is worth more than it costs, from its influence in improving the general character of all the teaching."

One day your worthy President said to me, “Can't you show something from the work of the pupils in the public schools in New York to illustrate some of their results in manual training ?” Acting upon this suggestion, just before starting for St. Paul I went into the grammar school which has already been mentioned as containing representatives of so many different nationalities, and requested the principal to give me a few specimens of his pupils' original work in geometrical forms, that I might show them to you. Through his kindness I am able to place the samples of work which you see on this table before you to-day. Before showing you these forms, I will add a few words of explanation as to the character of the instruction given the pupils before they undertake this original work. At this point you will please to recall the fact already stated, that the prescribed instruction in mechanical drawing includes “applications of simple problems in geometry and graphic solutions of selected geometrical theorems." In order that I might be able to explain to you how the teachers of this school are guided in presenting the principles of geometrical forms, I borrowed a few of the charts which the principal had prepared for his teachers. These charts are so graded as to embrace the essential problems and theorems required in the prescribed course of mechanical drawing. These are the teacher's guides; the instruction is given by the teacher from the blackboard. In producing each of the forms which I shall show you, the pupil first makes a drawing on a single piece of paper - not from a copy, or by specific directions of the teacher. The paper is then cut so as to leave all the parts of the drawing attached to each other; then it is folded, and pasted, with the results that I will show you. [The speaker exhibited several charts.]

This chart contains a flat drawing of a cube, or hexahedron. After the pupils have drawn this, the paper is cut, folded, and pasted, so that a single piece forms this solid, with its six equal faces, [exhibiting.] Other charts represent flat drawings of a prism, and of a pyramid.

This chart represents the plan of drawing two pyramids, with the base of one resting on the base of the other. After the pupils have been taught these from the blackboard, the boys apply the same principles in several ways, chiefly original with themselves; here are some of the results, [exhibiting.) This is a square prism, with a pyramid standing on one end of the prism. This is a prism, with a pyramid on one end, and another pyramid projected into the other end. Here is a specimen of two hexagonal pyramids, each resting on the base of the other. This is a pentagonal prism, with pentagonal pyramids on the ends of the prism. In this manner the boys apply the principles previously taught, to prisms and pyramids with six, eight, ten, twelve, and even twenty sides.

Here is a combination of pyramids on the six faces of a cube which was first drawn by a pupil, on a single piece of paper, then cut, folded, and pasted. If you could separate the parts of it, you would find that this solid contains but one piece of paper. The same may be said of each of these

« PreviousContinue »