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true that we are too much neglecting the cultural? Will not the simple, primeval likes of the boy developed in higher and yet higher forms of cultural effort hold him better even than appeal to his desire to make a living? By appealing to the cultural motives, rightly understood, and in that simple form which is appropriate to the boy, we are finding him just where he lives and can carry him up with us to where we live
-on the mountains of progress and of hope, where he may live not only during that period of life when he is earning his living, but in joy and peace all through the sunset glow of his age.
Far out on the hillside flung,
And shifting splendors, is hung.
There's a purple line at the upper edge,
Melting softly into the sky;
And elms wave their plumes hard by.
Through the willows flashes and gleams,
A wizard river of dreams.
From the valley below where the tribes of men
Their manifold industries ply,
And darkens all the sky.
But through the smoke, as it lifts and spreads,
While up from the vale it is rolled,
Through a quivering veil of gold.
The Vocational Motive in the School
VICTOR FRAZEE, MANTON AVENUE GRAMMAR SCHOOL, PROVIDENCE
E all recognize the strength of the vocational
motive. It keeps all but a very few of us busy from childhood to old age. In its relation to education, it is all-compelling. It takes four fifths of all the children out of school before the high school age. On the other hand it holds the aspirant for a professional career in school, and
inspires him to arduous labor for from four to a dozen years longer. If the functions of the school were so differentiated and organized that every child should get the best preparation for his future vocation, and should realize that he was getting it as clearly as the college man who plans to be a lawyer or a civil engineer realizes it, then the vocational motive would bear with equal stress at all points, and all children would do more and better work than they now do.
The question of using the vocational motive to better effect than we do is really the problem of differentiation and specialization of function in the school system. The traditional notion that the proper function of the school is to supply to all alike the culture needed by all is giving way to the clearer view that the school should relate itself vitally to the varying careers of its many classes and types of personality. To speak in terms of evolution, undifferentiated homogeneity, the characteristic of the unevolved, must merge into differentiated and specialized heterogeneity, the product of adaptation.
This paper, then, is a brief study in adaptation, very crude, I fear, and open to successful attack at many points, but yet based upon the fundamental proposition that all children in this American democracy are entitled to a school training which shall at least put them on the straight road to efficient living.
The superintendent of schools in a city of 200,000 inhabitants has summarized his statistics (let us say) as follows: there are 25,000 pupils enrolled in the public schools ; 15,000 are in the primary grades, 8,000 in the grammar grades, and 2,000 in the high schools. A fifth-grade class numbering 3,000 dwindles to 2,450 in the sixth grade, to 1,530 in the seventh, to 920 in the eighth, finally graduating as a class of 780 successful and 60 unsuccessful candidates for diplomas; 600 of the 780 graduates enter high school, of whom 300 leave high school without graduating, while of the 300 who complete the high school course, only 100 go to higher institutions of learning.
What becomes of the 2,400 children who leave school before the high school period? Two thousand of them leave at the age of 14 to go to work in the local mills, jewelry shops, miscellaneous metal trades, department stores, etc., or to remain at home; 340 who continue in school beyond the age of 14, intending or hoping to graduate, finally get discouraged and drop out, while 60 more remain but fail to graduate. Of these 400 unsuccessful ones, all but a few who remain at home are finally distributed among the industries above named, a majority going into unskilled employments in the business district.
The conditions and prospects of these 2,400 children out of school are found to corroborate in a general way the facts disclosed by the Commission on Industrial and Technical Education in Massachusetts. Five sixths of those at work between the ages fourteen and sixteen leave school in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Many leave because of poverty. More leave because they do not like school, or cannot succeed, or simply because they wish to work.
Only the unskilled occupations receive these children. In these occupations there is no chance for any valuable training, and little chance for advancement, and the moral influences are bad. Yet these children almost universally remain in these unskilled industries.
The superintendent finds that a considerable proportion of the children in the upper grammar and the high school grades consist of those whose intellectual abilities are not of a high order, but whose parents can afford to send them, and have a sort of social ambition to give their children a good education. They are carried along on the constant edge of failure, frequently repeating grades, or passing from grade to grade by a certain compromising and easing up of standards of promotion and graduation.
Complaint is made in the high school that there is a constant and almost hopeless struggle to keep afloat a large number of pupils who are not really fitted to pursue the work. To keep standards rigid, and force them out, would bring discredit and criticism upon the school. They seem entitled to an education fitted, even if weakened, to meet their capacities. Thus most of them remain and hamper and cripple the proper work of the school.
To meet the situation disclosed by his statistics, the superintendent proceeds to differentiate and functionize his schools.
Beginning where the fourteen-year-olds leave school, he finds that those who go into the mills attend certain schools situated in the mill sections of the city. In each of these schools he opens a special department, the textile department, consisting of one or more rooms. The function of this department is to secure to those pupils who must or will leave school at the age of fourteen, or soon after, certain definite advantages which can be given them in no other way. The rooms are put in charge of versatile teachers, specially qualified to deal with a new educational problem. Pupils are admitted at the age of thirteen, from any grade.
The central work of a year's course in this department, which is practically a separate school, consists of a study of textile materials and processes of manufacture. The study is made definite and practical by the aid of a museum, or collection of materials, books, pictures, models, appliances, etc. (secured largely through the co-operation of the neighboring mills), illustrating as completely and vividly as possible the growth of the raw material, its transportation and its various stages of manufacture.
All subjects of the course are related closely to this central study. The geography is mainly the geography of cotton or wool production and transportation and the distribution of the finished product. The history is largely the history of the textile industries. The arithmetic consists of applications of number to industry, the textile industry in particular. The drawing deals with the elements of pattern and design. The little science taught gives an insight into some of the processes of manufacture. The reading and language lessons and the talks on economics revolve about the textile industry, suggesting the relations of the industry to consumption, the relations of employee to employer, the significance and ethics of strikes, lockouts and boycotts, the qualities which make employees valuable, opportunities to improve and rise, comparative merits of these and related industries.
In time the illustrative and practical side of the course is strengthened by the introduction of manual work in weaving.
In certain other schools the superintendent finds conditions which justify the opening of a jewelry room or department, which is equipped and carried on according to the same principles as the textile rooms, but with a larger element of manual practice.
In those schools where a considerable number of children leave the grades to enter department stores and offices as cash girls, errand boys and messengers, a business department is opened, in which competent teachers handle all subjects of instruction with the single view of making the vocation which these pupils will follow a center of intelligent interest, hope and worthy ambition.
Similarly, in certain sections of the city mechanical rooms are opened, performing a like function for children with a special, immediate interest in woodworking and metal trades and industries.
So far, the newly evolved organs of education serve for the improvement and enlightenment of the great majority, who leave school as soon as the law permits.
Higher in the school system, namely, at the entrance to high school and for a year or two after, the superintendent finds a large number of desertions from the ranks. Sixty per cent of those who graduate from grammar school enter the business and industrial world without graduating from high school. A good many go to work at the close of the grammar school
A much larger number drop out of high school in the first year or two.
Here, then, is applied the same principle of differentiation. These older pupils go into somewhat more responsible mer