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The Business Educator (Volume 23) online

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hand and the changing child on the
other hand form a combination and
condition more important than any
theory evolved from either one alone.
Theorists are one-sided fellows every
time. They see only the subjective or
the objective side, whereas it takes
both to form a whole.

The publishers of the Business Edu-
cator, as many of its readers can tes-
tify, were among the first to adapt
movement writing to pupils of all
ages by grading it much as form had
long before been graded. They have,
during the past decade, done more to
advance the cause of movem.nt writ-
ing in the primary grades (real
writing and not "playin.g with ovals"
and a few O's and A's and u's and
n's) than any other influence, and it
has l)een accomplished by two co-
ordinated plans: by adapting writing
to childhood limitation, capacity, and
need by enlarging the letter forms:
and by grading the writing fro:ii year
to year so that each year's work
would lie a trifle more difficult than

ihe one piccecing it, and so that each
teacher would be giving something
enough diiieient to make it interest-
ing and especially su.ted to the child's
capacity and need. For the pupil in
the sixth grade needs more and diiter-
ent instruction and drill than the child
in the third grade.

The success of these co-ordinated
plans is such that a large numljcr of
the most progressive superintendents,
supervisors, and teachers emploj'
them, and in so doing are demonstrat-
ing their practicability by securing
maximum results with minimum ef-

Where writing instruction is not
graded according to tlu natural varia-
tions from grade to grade, e.xtra time
and efTort are necessary to secure re-
sults. The less the grading, the more
the work. The simpler the work on
the one hand the more complc.K on
the other hand.

It is well illustrated liy the p'an of
an itinerant writing teacher wi.o said
he had reduced the principles to but
one and with it he could analyze any
letter. Upon being requested to de-
monstrate, he drew a straight I.ul-,
and he then explained that by bending
the straight line he could get any
letter. He overlooked the complex-
ity of the bending process.

Consequently, the less the gradin.g
or adapting according to grade, ths
more complicated the work of the
teacher or the more monotonous for
the pupil, for without .gradation or
adaptation, the pupil is likely to get
the same year after year in rehash,
uninteresting form.

Seguin, the profoundest student of
his day, on the subject of methods of
instruction for subnormal children
and idiots said: "the form of instruc-
tion should be ever changing, the ob-
ject of instruction never changin.g."
To maintain interest without the in-
trinsic incentives of rewards such as
buttons, badges, certificates, pins.

fobs, etc., vary the writing instruction
and adapt it to age and grade, and
thus aid alike teacher and taught.

Large writing for children and
graded movement drills and instruc-
tions for the teachers and pupils of
the various grades accomplishes more
on merit alone than ungraded meth-
ods accomplish by strenuous promo-
tion, excessive practice, and arbitrary


Of the Professional Edition of

this Number of the Business



Mental Meanderings, Carl C.
Marshall, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Civil Service Preparation, J. F.

Sherwood, International Busi-
ness College, Ft. Wayne, Ind.

Side Lights on Bookkeeping,

.■\rthur G. Skeeles. Peabody
H. S., Pittsburgh, Pa.

Commercial Law, J. H. Robin-
son, Edinburg, Pa.

Methods of Teaching Bookkeep-

mg, D. Walter Morton, A. M..
C. P. A., Dean of the School
of Commerce of the Univer-
sity of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.

Commercial Training, Charles
F. Rittenhouse, C. P. A., Bos-
ton. Mass., University College
of Business .\dministration.

Polytechnic High School Com-
mercial Course of .Study, Los

Two Timely

News Notes.

Letters from

Thorough training and experience are in
other. Some people are younger at 40 tha
w old are you in habit fixedness?

— they comprise the foundation and the superstructure. The one supports and proves
at 20 because they are openminded and know that they have the most yet to learn.

^ *^J^u^/i^d^^^/iu:a/^



A Forum for the Expression of
Convictions and Opinions Re-
lating to Commercial Education


\\ e pass on to our readers the fol-
lowing circular letter without asking
permission to do so from the pub-
lishers of it, feeling certain there
would be no objections:

Cleveland, Ohio, July 31, 1U17.
To Proprietors of Commercial


I^earning that you are nearly
all interested at -this time in what
the effects of the war will be in
the commercial school business,
we have written a circular letter
of inquiry to the number of the
more prominent commercial
schools in Canada, asking what
their experience has been since
Canada has been in the war. We
gratuitously furnish you herewith
a summary of the answers re-

The answers were practically
unanimous that there was a great
falling ofif in business the first
year and but little improvement
the second year of the war. Opin-
ions are about evenly divided
about the third year. Some have
found it better, some the same,
and some not so good as the
years before the war.

There is unanimous and em-
phatic agreement that there has
been a large increase in the at-
tendance of young ladies, but few
if any men. As one man sug-
gested, where young men are in
attendance they are usually the
physically unfit, or boys in their
teens, 15 to 20 years of age, and
too young for military service.

One person reports that they
are getting a better class of young-
women and the standard of ste-
nographers i s correspondin.gly
higlier than before the war.

One answer mentions that
many incomes have been reduced,
reduced at any rate in comparison
with the increased cost of living,
so that many who formerly did
not have to work are forced to
now, and are turning to office
work as most desirable.

Another suggests (a point well
taken) a patriotic appeal — urgin.g
young women, and men who are
physically unfit, to train to do the
large amount of office work which
must be done by reason of so
many leaving that work for mili-
tary service.

In considering the above points
bear in mind the fact — called to
our attention in several of the an-
swers — that Canada has furnished
for military service a much larger
proportion of her population than
this country is thus far proposing
to furnish. The efifect in this

country should be proportionately
moderated. Furthermore, this
country is entering the war after
the slump of the first year has
been passed and the subsequent
prosperity enjoyed.

Answers agree that there is a
large demand for office help in
general, a demand which has been
felt in most localities in this coun-
try for some time. Salaries for
all this class of work have taken a
jump upward, as you no doubt all

To summarize this summary:
The demand for the help you turn
out is large; the salaries are
large: these two points offer you
strong appeals for your advertis-
ing and to them should be added
the patriotic appeal; the field will
be the physically unfit, exempt,
boys below draft age, and particu-
larly the young women: and total
attendance should equal or exceed
pre-war attendance in this coun-

We hope this information will
prove of service to you, and if it
does we will consider ourselves

Sincerely yours,




Mr. J. F. Fish, of the Northwestern
Business College, Chicago, reports a
large enrollment and that the other
Chicago schools have had good open-
ing attendance. This is true also of
Columbus schools, and so far as we
have learned it is quite generally so
throughout the States, young women,
of course, being in the big majorit)'.


The following circular letter was
received just as we were going to
press and we think it too good to
waste basket, so pass it on to our

I. S. Knox, President and Treasurer

Cleveland, Ohio, Sept. 11, 11)17.
Dear Fellow Teacher:

I have just returned from a fourteen
weeks' Chautauqua tour, which began
in North Carolina early in June and
has taken me through twelve Eastern
and Southern states and part of one
Candian Province.

The American people are not yet
alive to the industrial and commercial
situation w-hich has been brought
about as a result of the war. The first
result of a war declaration always is a
psychological depression. During
1914 within two months after the war
was declared I gave a Chautauqua
address in a Canadian city. The peo-
ple were depressed and showed little
interest in the Chautauqua. This sum-
mer I gave this same address in a
town near this other one, and of the
95 Chautauqua towns which I have

addressed this summer this Canadian
town was the liveliest. At first they
were depressed by the war; then a
reaction came, and now their fighting
spirit is at high tide. Commercially,
industrially, financially and every
other way they are alive to the situa-
tion. America as yet is not.

The war so far has cost Canada $17
per capita and thousands of men. We
are calling a million young men away
from employment. The American
people as a whole do not realize the
effect that this is going to have upon
the commercial conditions of this

You are the commercial educational
leaders of this country, and if there
ever was a time in our history when
you should really lead that time is
now. It is the patriotic duty of the
American people to see to it that
twice as many boys and girls attend
commercial and industrial schools this
year as before. I consider it the pa-
triotic duty of a million young women
to come from good homes of this
country and immediately equip them-
selves with commercial training that
will enable them to go into the busi-
ness olfices and do the work that
otherwise would be left undone.

It is almost impossible for business
concerns at the present time to get
competent bookkeepers, stenograph-
ers and stenotypists. What will the
situation be six months from now
when hundreds of thousands more of
our young men will be taken out of
commercial life? Much business in
this country is going to be strangled
because of the inability to get com-
petent office help, to say nothing
about sales people. Right now one
concern needs 500 salesmen, but they
are not even considering getting
these men because it is impossible.

Will this commercial education do
these young women any good when
they go back into private life after
the war, provided they do not want
to continue in public life? The women
of this country buy 72 per cent of the
goods of the country. My wife is just
as much a manager as I am, although
on a smaller scale. Every housewife
ought to know how to Ijuy, sell, or-
ganize and manage. The country
loses hundreds of millions of dollars
annually because of this inefficiency.
This training, then, will be a valuable
life training.

Many commercial school men do
not seem to be awake to the situation
as it exists today. The commercial
school advertising as I have seen it
this fall is the same old advertising.
It lacks punch. There is no real pa-
triotic or financial appeal in it. It is
your business as a school man wheth-
er in a private commercial school or
a commercial high school, to do ev-
erything within your power to double
your enrollment this year. You should
present this idea to your business
men's organizations. If you have so-
licitors you should train them to go
to the best homes and plead with the
young women there to take a com-
mercial course as a patriotic duty. It

(Concluded on page 2S)

^ ^^^^ud/n^U^^^/iu:a/h^




516 Reaper Block, Chicago

Wage Earning a Business
A wage-earner is a person who is in
the business of selling service.

The profits of this business consist
in what the wage-earner saves. If a
man spends all he
earns, he is not doing-
business at a profit,
even though there are
three or more figures
to his salary check.
A seller of merchan-
dise has two ways of
increasing his profits.
First, he may increase
his sales, second, he
may reduce the cost of keeping up his
business. So with the seller of ser-
vice; he may get more money for his
service, or he may reduce the cost of
his upkeep. Every wage or salary
earner should regard himself as a
".going concern," and apply to his af-
fairs the same sort of sense and sys-
tem that are used by a careful busi-
ness man. But not one in ten of them
does this and that is the real reason
why so many of them never get ahead.
The advocates of thrift have been
making frantic appeals to everybody
to "save," but very little has been
done in the matter of teaching them
how to save. Most of our "business
training" in the schools has had its
content in teaching people how to
earn money. It ought to include teach-
ing them how to spend the money
after it is earned, so there will be
something left over for profit.

The proprietor of a big Chicago
concern said to me the other day:
"It is comparatively easy to increase
our sales. The real problem is to
know what to do with the money that
comes in over the counters. That is
where brains count." So it is with
salary earners. It takes more brains
to spend money properly than it does

Some Recent I have been out among
Tendencies the school men a good
bit this summer and
find a few tendencies worth noting.
First, the war is making the demand
for office help sharp and keen. All
the schools report more jobs than
they can fill, and wages for office help-
ers are going up by leaps and bounds.
I have heard nothing this season from
the employer who wants "a bright girl
for .$4 or $5 a week to start with," and
a dubious promise of a raise later on.
They are now crying for "almost any-
body" and glad to get one at $10 or
$12. This situation, of course, sharp-
ens the demand for quick intensive
training, rapid adding and office com-
putation, use of the adding machine,
shorthand that will get the best re-
sults in the shortest time, bookkeeping
of the practical sort, rather than fine
spun theories of "accounting;" stren-

uous drilling in business penmanship;
a working knowledge of filing meth-
ods, etc., business letter writing,
rather than grammar, and so on
through the whole course — a maxi-
mum of practice and a minimum of

Except in the larger cities, (and
even in some of them), the best
schools are beginning to rely on the
excellence of their work to get busi-
ness rather than upon the work of
paid solicitors. Also, there is less ex-
pensive advertising, flashy catalogues,
etc. Not so long ago the billboards
in Chicago were covered with busi-
ness school advertisements. You will
hardly see one now.

I find also that many teachers of
bookkeeping are abandoning the "ac-
count method" and the "statement
method" and the "ledger method" of
teaching bookkeeping to beginners,
and returning to the time-tested
"journel method." But there seems
to be an increase, rather than a falling
ofif in the insistence upon good busi-
ness practice even in the earlier part
of the course. The argument for this
is that the first idea in bookkeeping is
to formulate the debits and credits,
and that this is accomplished in its
simplest form, by means of the jour-
nal entry. Business practice is found
desirable on account of its stimula-
tion of the students' interest. Said
one fine teacher to me: "Theoretically,
I believe the 'approach' through the
ledger and the financial statement is
sound, but the students simply will
not get interested in it, whereas, when
you set them to writing checks and
making out bills and receipts, they sit
up and take notice at once."

There is an increasing tendency to
teach practical English more thor-
oughly, also to teach more about
words than merely the spelling.

I find, also, a sharp decline in the
erstwhile enthusiasm over machine
shorthand, or code writing, at least
in the West. The formal teaching of
salesmanship seems also on the wane.

Increasing attention is being given
to the suliject of personal and house-
hold account-keeping, thrift, etc. This
is. of course, a natural reaction from
the "thrift campaigns" that have been
conducted in many cities. I predict
that business schools will take an in-
creasing interest in this very practical
phase of education.

From what I can gather, I believe
the private business schools will gen-
erally be more prosperous this year
than last. This will result from the
great demand, especially by young
women, for quick training to enable
them to get and hold jobs that have
been vacated by the young men who
go to the army. Altogether, the out-
look for business education is good.

Some What we have heard

Compensation about the evils and
horrors of war is a
plenty. It may be a bit heartening to
take a glance at the other side of the
ledger, for even the most lop-sided
pacifist ought to see that the account
is not all debits.

To begin with, we have the fine re-
action of military training and disci-
pline upon our grown boys. Too
many thousands of these have been
spoiled and pampered by indulgent
parents, have grown up without re-
spect for authority of any sort, and
are flabby Ijoth in mind and body, and
are often vicious and nearly criminal.
If you would have this unpleasant
truth borne in on you, spend an hour
some evening in one of our cheap pool
rooms, and study the aggregation of
round - shouldered, slouching, foul-
mouthed, idle cigarette smoking youth
you will find there. Can anybody fail
to see the value, to these young men.
of a year or two of marching, drill,
trench digging, cross country hiking,
and the sure discipline of sharp au-
thority? It will make real men out
of thousands of these fellows who
were on the toboggan toward com-
plete life failure.

As a nation, we have been extrava-
gant, self-indulgent and wasteful, to
an incredible degree. The garbage
collector for Chicago says that the
one million families of that city each
throw away at least one-half pound
of good food daily, enough to load a
train of one hundred cars. War prices,
the scarcity of food and the high cost
of living will render a great service
if they force home to Americans a
sharp lesson in personal and house-
hold economy, and the lesson will
come cheap at the sacrifice of some of
their selfish extravagance and pork-
chop comfort.

The Government is also learniuH
how to do some big things in econ-
omy, the benefits of which will out-
last the war. Control of transporta-
tion, and the regulation of prices aii^l
distribution of staple foods, coal, anil
other mine products under men like-
Hoover, Garfield and Goethels, also
the regulation of wages, may happily
settle some big social problems, and
may save us from domestic troubles
greater than any threatened by the
war itself. The war has forced us to
displace our politicians with some of
our brainy business men and admin-
istrative specialists. Perhaps we shall
learn how to use these men in time
of peace.

But far out-weighin.g these material
gains is the awakening we are getting
in the spirit of patriotism and national
loyalty. The war will make us see in
the Stars and Stripes something more
than a pretty piece of bunting. It will
make the "Star Spangled Banner" a
real hymn. This has hardly come as
yet, but it will come when we begin
to get our casualty lists from the
European battlefield, and see the biers
of our slain heroes draped with the
colors, emblematic of their shed blood
and the white purity and true blue
courage of their sacrifice.

As with the individual man, so with
the nation; it takes tragedy to exalt
character. Whether the war lasts one
year or five we shall come out of it a
better and a greater people.

(Continued on page :>1)

^^^<^u4/ned^£e/iu:a^ ^





In the five years that I was con-
nected with Simmons College as As-
sociate Professor o f
\ccounting, my work
lirought me in con-
tact with a large num-
ii e r of commercial
teachers, t) o t h men
and women, from all
^^ 'a^fi parts of the country.

^^L r^^^ This association came
BBkyjHB niainly through the
Summer School for
commercial teachers, which the Col-
lege has conducted for the past four
years, and through the Extension
Courses for teachers given on Satur-
day mornings and late afternoons.

My own part in these courses con-
sisted of all the work in bookkeeping
and elementary accounting, both sub-
ject matter and methods, and I quite
naturally became familiar with many
of the problems confronting the
teachers of bookkeeping in high
schools and private schools. Further-
more, through the close association
between instructor and students and
the informal and pleasant acquaint-
ance resulting therefrom, I was able
to come to some rather definite con-
clusions with regard to the standards
which generally prevail among teach-
ers of bookkeeping as to their own
technical qualifications, their concep-
tion of the importance of commercial
education, and their standards of at-
tainment in class work.

It seems to me that I would per-
haps be unable to serve the readers
of the Business Educator during the
next few months more effectively
than by discussing certain of the
problems, mainly in methods of
teaching, which it would seem are
rather general among commercial
teachers, and to follow this with cer-
tain observations of my own bearing
upon the present status of commer-
cial education. If I am able to make
a few constructive suggestions for
strengthening our work, all the bet-
ter; but at any rate, a frank discus-
sion of certain problems which con-
front the commercial teacher should
bear fruit in that it should lead to
profitable reflection and personal in-

In this discussion I have no inten-
tion of assuming a dogmatic attitude,
or of imposing my own ideas or theo-
ries upon the reader; rather would I
consider the problem in all its aspects,
making due allowances for honest dif-
ferences of opinion, and for the lack
of uniformity in standards which pre-
vails in various parts of the country
and in different schools. Needless to
say, it is hoped that many of the ques-
tions that are discussed will draw out
an expression of opinion from readers
and will result in other problems be-
ing submitted for consideration.

Class or Individual Instruction

A question which concerns most
teachers of bookkeeping, and one
about which there is a great difiference
of opinion is whether to keep the
class together, or to allow the stu-
dents to advance as rapidly as their
individual abilities warrant. If I have
judged correctly, the prevailing opin-
ion seems to be that unlike the other
sul)jects in the curriculum, liookkeep-
ing reveals in a strong light the wide
difference which exists in individual
accomplishment. Some students pos-
sess the analytical mind so necessary
in bookkeeping; others do not. Some
write much more rapidly than others.
Some are rapid and accurate in doing
the arithmetical work; others slow
and inaccurate. Some are easily dis-
couraged; other are more persevering.
Some are interested in the work;
others dislike it. Some are obliged to
spend perhaps several days on a trial
balance; others complete it in a few
minutes. How then, when all these
conditions are considered, is it pos-
sible to keep a class together? Fin-
ally, is it not the reward to which the
able and ambitious student is entitled
to allow him to out-distance his class-
mates, and thus reap personal advan-
tage as a result of his perseverence
and enthusiasm? Should we stifle
competition and rivalry in school
work any more than we do in busi-
ness? Will not the accomplishments
of the best students stimulate the
backward ones to greatef effort?

It is indeed true that certain or all
of the conditions cited have strength-
ened teachers in their opinion that it
is well nigh impossible to keep the
class exactly together. But while no
one will deny that the arguments ap-
ply with equal force to any other sub-
ject, yet we never think of teaching
shorthand, or arithmetic, or law, or a

Online LibraryAuguste LutaudThe Business Educator (Volume 23) → online text (page 13 of 93)