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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/466

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

that complete education of the faculties which it is the function of a manual training school to accomplish.

In glancing at the several schools of this character which have been established in America, one must admit that the artisan spirit is more prevalent than the educational. The fact is to be deplored. It means that unless the advocates of the higher position are alert and vigilant, the fine opportunity for broader culture offered by manual training will be lost in mere technique. The man-element will go under, and the world of things will again rule.

The chief claim of manual training, it must be repeated, is not mechanical. It is spiritual, the development of character; and while its success in this direction can not always be judged from the standard of formal scholarship, there are other and very ready tests which are infallible. Conduct is a sure gauge of the stuff of which a boy is made. No better index of the moral atmosphere of a school can be found, I think, than its discipline. The boys in a manual training school are not yet old. The younger among them are only thirteen or fourteen years, and to boys of this age there are special temptations to disorder in the freedom and movement of the laboratories. To maintain order among three hundred of these active young spirits without appealing to their fear of consequences, or to other vicious motives, would not seem an easy task. Yet it is accomplished in a highly satisfactory manner. There are plenty of noise and life, it is true, and a fair share of fun, but this seldom goes beyond wholesome bounds. As far as possible the order of the school is left to the boys themselves. Certain customs are observed as a matter of convenience, but there are no formal rules for conduct. The boys know perfectly well what is right, and they are encouraged to do it because it is the right, and not because they will get into trouble if they do otherwise. As little personal authority is exerted as possible. The inexorable law of right is taught as a principle, to which both teacher and boy must conform. It is a high ground to take, but it works—as all appeals to the better nature of a boy generally do. It is possible that this abnegation of authority robs the professorial chair of some of its dignity, but there are better levers in the world than this. The friendly, even affectionate, comradeship between teacher and pupil which takes its place, is the source of a deeper influence and of a more profitable intercourse.

It is felt by those imbued with the new idea of education that punishment, however judiciously applied, is an inadequate and superficial thing, and represents at best misapplied energy. Nature has placed an indissoluble bond between cause and effect. Wrong conduct is so surely followed by natural punishment that it seems a presumption on the part of a teacher to attempt to