Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/59

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49
MANUAL TRAINING.

the weaving, modeling, and building, are succeeded by the sloyd of the primary school, while the technical work of the universities and scientific schools is now being preceded by the systematic wood and metal work of the manual-training high schools. The unoccupied territory lies between, in the elementary schools. It is, however, not entirely unoccupied. Already the simpler forms of wood work and clay modeling are being introduced into many of these schools, and the frontiers are disappearing.

This dual start is responsible for what would otherwise be a curious conflict of motif in the development of the manual training idea. The kindergarten has always in view the thought of the child. Its activities have but one purpose, and that is development. The things produced have in themselves no value whatever. The whole operation is a process. Its importance is subjective. One might, I think, sum up the ideal of the kindergarten in saying that its end is the cultivation of perception, and its method is the self-activity of the child.

It is far otherwise in the technical schools of the universities. Seldom have processes called educational been so oblivious of the material upon which they work. Men are taught to analyze iron and copper ores, because these analyses are needed in the industrial world; to survey fields and farms, because of the social necessity of emphasizing the difference between meum and tuum; to file and fit and turn, because only by such operations can machines be built; and to do a hundred other things whose end is objective. The work has regard only to itself. It is needed in the great outer world of enterprise and action. The worker is a part of the productive mechanism, and is now a means. Observe the contrast. In the kindergarten, the work was the means and the worker the end.

We thus find, at the two extremes of the educational line, parallel activities but opposite motives. So long as the frontier of the intermediate schools remained between the two, there was little conflict of ideals. Different sets of people were interested in each, and, as the interests were in both cases large, they prevented a too critical examination of the distant activity to which they were opposed. Thus became possible the spectacle of a father sacrificing himself to some industrial end, working beyond the point of fatigue, exceeding the bounds of sanity, while his children in the kindergarten were engaged in activities which were purely, though unconsciously, self-regarding; and no one appears to have found the spectacle so inconsistent as to be distressing.

But when manual training moved from its extreme positions and progressed along the line toward the center, it carried its motives with it—the educational motive upward, the technical motive downward. In the secondary schools the two have met