Benjamin Wiley Johnson.

Industrial education in the northwest online

. (page 1 of 1)
Online LibraryBenjamin Wiley JohnsonIndustrial education in the northwest → online text (page 1 of 1)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook






Published February 1911

Composed and Printed By

The University of Chicago Press

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.



Supervisor of Industrial Education, Seattle, Wash.

The Northwest, particularly the state of Washington, is making some
progress along the lines of industrial education and vocational training
in the elementary and intermediate field of education. The meaning
of the terms industrial education and vocational training is that used
by Dr. David Snedden, commissioner of education of the state of

The description of the schools established this fall in Seattle will
further illustrate the writer's understanding of these much-abused terms.

The history of the movement here parallels that of a number of
eastern states, notably Ohio. Manual training began its leavening
influence in the school curriculum eighteen years ago in the Seattle High
School. Since that time it has made itself an important department
of the city's school system, requiring over fifty teachers for its instruction
in all grades of the school. Tacoma and Spokane followed soon after
Seattle, and have had a proportionate growth. Today there is scarcely
any town over 4,000 which does not have some form of manual training
in its school work, while many rural communities are making a beginning
in elementary handwork and agriculture.

Like the best progress of the East the subject manual training has
itself been greatly modified in method and content and an effort has
been made to use the industries of the community as the basis of this

Such is the case in the great fruit-raising sections of the state. An
example of this is at Wenatchee, where agriculture is being taught very
successfully, with the emphasis upon horticulture and the present and
future needs of that great fruit-growing country.

A similar example is that at Waterville. Led by a very able and
public-spirited citizen, Hon. A. L. Rogers, the people are laying the
foundation for what may be a very remarkable country school, in which



the boys from the entire countryside are to be taught such industrial
branches as will fit them for the highest efficiency in practical farming.

At Snohomish the school board has recently acquired a considerable
tract of land for practical agriculture. It also has iron- and wood-
working shops in connection with this high school. The work in the
latter, however, is based upon the educational rather than vocational
point of view.

On the Pacific slope of this state, the region of the great fir and cedar
forests, woodwork and the vocations dependent upon the production,
manufacture, and distribution of this all-important product predominate.
For the boy, at least, the forms of manual training using wood are
fundamental. For the girl, the home-makers' arts everywhere uni-
versal and fundamental to womankind are the basis of her manual
training. The vocational impulse, however, affects these subjects
for the girl only so far as they equip her better for the actual work and
responsibilities of the home.

The writer is not aware of any vocational or industrial education
in this section that seeks to equip the girl better for earning a living in
definite lines of women's work, other than those few, such as dress-
making or millinery, that may be developed from her work in the home-
making course of the regular school work.

The seeming lack of schools for vocational and industrial education
is not so much due to any failure on the part of those responsible for the
promotion of the educational plans in either state, county, or city
districts but rather to a failure on the part of the people as a whole, who
do not yet feel any serious need for vocational education. The reason
for this is that the state is new and the development of the raw material
of the state is but scarcely begun. Lumbering and fishing predominate
hi the western section while wheat-growing and fruit-raising predominate
in the eastern section.

Manufacturing has scarcely begun with us, consequently the com-
mercial pursuits predominate in the cities and towns. That we are
destined to become a great manufacturing section is evidenced by the
abundance of raw material available, and also from the marketable
water-power available in the Cascade and Coast ranges of mountains.

Further evidence of this attitude was shown in the last session of
the state legislature when a bill for the appointment of a state commis-
sion on industrial education was defeated, because the legislature was


averse to appropriating any money for this purpose and because it
thought the state Department of Public Instruction able to carry on
any investigation as to the industrial and vocational conditions, both
in the schools and the industries of the state.

However, realizing that a beginning should be made and that there
is no pressing demand for a trade school, Seattle, the largest city in the
state, has this fall opened up three so-called industrial centers to accom-
modate the pupils of the intermediate period the seventh and eighth
grades and the first and second years of the high school.

Preliminary to carrying out this plan the usual manual-training
course for the boys of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades was the year
previous enlarged in its aim, content, and method from the usual educa-
tional manual training of giving the boys sequential problems in con-
struction, in the solution of which the boys would gain something of
skill in tools and processes, some knowledge of the materials used, and
some appreciation of the constructive life about them. This enlargement
consisted in making an industrial or vocational approach to the manual
arts using them to illustrate as actually as possible the industries and
vocations that are dependent upon these arts.

While the limitations imposed by the regular school program pre-
vented very much change in the actual work done by the boys, it was
possible to give it a larger significance as a study of those vocations
using similar materials and processes.

For example, in the sixth grades the aim is to emphasize the four
important facts the worker in wood has to know to be successful in his
vocation: (i) his tools and how to use them; (2) what woods and
materials are suitable to use and why; (3) how to form and put them
together; (4) what is wanted and how to supply it.

In the seventh grade this approach emphasizes the same idea, but
from another standpoint. Here the different kinds of workers in wood
are brought out. The differentiation due to the service each renders
society by reason of the special skill and knowledge he possesses is
emphasized. The following four points are kept before the class:
(i) a need to be supplied; (2) what materials are required; (3) what
form or construction is best and necessary; (4) what tools, machines,
and processes are required.

In this way the class considers and makes some problem illustrative
of the furniture-maker, the ship-builder or carpenter, the bridge-builder,


etc. In the eighth grade the application of power in the service of these
different vocations is taken up in a limited way in much the same manner.

No originality is claimed for this plan. It was suggested by similar
efforts in other cities.

It is reasonably successful in the hands of a skilful and well-trained
manual-training teacher. It is to be regretted we do not have more
such teachers. The very limited time granted this subject in our schools
(ij hours per week) is a serious obstacle in carrying out this idea suc-

The industrial classes or centers opened this fall are best described
by the circular which was sent home by the prospective pupil in order
that his parents might understand fully the purpose of such a class :



The Board of School Directors of the Seattle public schools have authorized
the opening of three industrial schoolrooms or centers.

The purpose of this circular is to explain the aims, plan, and program of such
a school; the requirements for admission; its relation to the high school; and
some of the reasons which have lead to its establishment.

The Elementary Industrial School is intended to provide a course of study
relating much more to the industries than the ordinary school program, and
containing a more practical training for a class of boys and girls in the public
schools who will be better suited by instruction which will the better and sooner
prepare them for training in a definite vocation. In every school there are
some boys and girls who prefer studies and exercises that employ their hands
and who have greater aptitude in such studies than their fellows. They
advance in their development by what they do rather than by what they hear.
They are practical-minded. Many such children drop out of school as soon as
the law permits, not from lack of ability, but because the school fails to fit its
procedure to their particular needs. The establishment of these industrial
classes is an attempt to fit the school to the wants of this class of pupils. Such
classes are not substitutes for a trade school, but are intended to lead more
quickly and surely to apprenticeship in business or trade, while not closing
the door to further study either in high or special schools if the pupil desires
to pursue such a course.

The plan provides distinct courses for boys and for girls and requires the
separation of those taking it from the regular school classes in the building
where it is maintained, because of the difference between the courses.

The school day, which is the same as for the regular classes, will be divided


into seven periods of forty minutes each, about half of the time to be spent
upon the ordinary school studies, modified to suit the end aimed at in this
plan, and the other half to be devoted to the industrial and household arts
shopwork and mechanical drawing for the boys, and cookery, sewing, design,
and drawing for the girls.

For Boys For girk

English English

Geography History Geography History

Arithmetic Arithmetic

Mechanical drawing Drawing and design

Shopwork Sewing


English will include reading, spelling, penmanship, letter-writing, and

Geography will include map studies, climatic conditions and influences,
industries and products, exports and imports, routes and centers of trade, the
studies to be correlated as far as practicable with the work in shop and kitchen.

In history there will be a review of the influential events hi the development
of our country, including particular reference to the country's greatest char-
acters and their achievements, and of the causes contributing to our present
national standing. The purpose will be to give an elementary knowledge of the
important facts in our history and to imbue with a patriotic desire to be

In arithmetic the fundamental operations include fractions applied in
shopwork and in local problems; percentage and interest; applications of
measurements and mensuration. The purpose will be to secure accuracy in
the use of figures and practice in then: application to practical affairs.

Industrial. The shop instruction will consist of work intended to give
knowledge of materials and their sources and use; tools and skill in their use;
methods of construction; problems in machine- and hand-work; acquaintance
with factory and individual production; the use of preservatives, as paints,
oils, etc.; discussions of the various vocations; visits to work under construc-
tion, to manufacturing and commercial establishments.

The industrial work for girls will consist of:

Plain sewing, garment cutting and fitting, repairing, household linens,
fabrics used in the home, sewing machine, class talks and discussions regarding
clothing, hygiene, style, costs, methods of manufacture, the sweatshop, trades
and vocations for women.

Plain cooking, properties of foods, economy, table service, sanitation,
laundry work, care of the home, etc. Actual conditions are possible for


purchasing and preparing a simple lunch daily and serving same to other
pupils at noon at cost. Class talks upon related topics of home life and its
obligations, domestic service, income and expenditure, etc.

Applied design in surface decoration as affected by material and service,
the use of color, problems in making designs for notebook covers, belts,
pillows, draperies, etc. The aesthetics of the home.


The rank of this course will correspond to the seventh and eighth grades
of the usual school course, and will require two years for its completion. At
the end of the two years pupils completing this course, who choose to continue
their school work, may enter the high school upon an equal footing with the
pupils entered from the regular course.


This course is open to any boy or girl thirteen years of age or over, who has
completed the equivalent of the present sixth grade, provided, the parent or
guardian makes a written request upon the form provided for that purpose, and
further that the principal of the school last attended by the pupil recommends
that the pupil should take the industrial course.

As only three schools can be established at this time, the number of pupils

will have to be limited to 72 boys and 72 girls. Do you wish to have

attend one of these schools ? If so, please sign your name below as indicative
of your desire to have chosen.

These classes or centers are similar to the prevocational classes of
Indianapolis and the industrial school of Cleveland, Ohio. They differ
in their organization and somewhat in the character of the pupil
encouraged to enrol in these classes. Each class requires three teachers.
The classroom teacher, a woman, has the boys while the girls are with the
special teacher in cooking and sewing, and the girls when the boys are
with the special teacher (a man) in benchwork and mechanical drawing.
She is thus able to center the academic work about the respective instruc-
tion of both boys and girls. The plan uses the usual manual-training
equipment of the building and the class occupies one of the regular

In this respect there is no isolation or separation from the social
spirit of the schools. Class distinctions are avoided. The significance
of this plan of establishing such classes in any school building where con-
ditions warrant it is illustrated by the following quotation from a letter
to the writer written by Mr. W. E. Roberts, supervisor of manual
training, of Cleveland, Ohio.


We have another Elementary Industrial School in operation, differing from
the first in that it is a part of a regular elementary school. There are about
one hundred and forty advanced sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade children
in this department. My earlier experiences made it possible to start this work
without a hitch, and it has moved forward smoothly from the very beginning.
I am more and more convinced that the very great problem stirred up by
Industrial Education, so called, is not as much an industrial problem as a
problem of remodeling our elementary-school work. The new movement is
going to accomplish what should have been accomplished by the manual-
training movement.

In the selection of the pupils the judgment of the principal and
teachers was relied upon to recommend those boys and girls who would
profit the most by such a course.

This has been done so that the pupils in these centers are of an average
in capacity compared to any other group. These classes have been in
operation about six weeks and sufficient time has not elapsed to deter-
mine any definite results. The expression of both pupils and teachers
signifies that the purpose for which these classes were established is
being met.

The aim of the course is industrial cultural education by the indus-
tries rather than education for the industries.

This last will undoubtedly come later when the age is reached that
is best for learning a definite vocation. The success thus far assures us
that the educational needs of a considerable number of pupils who grow by
what they do, motor-minded, is for the first time being adequately met.

A word only can be said regarding the evening-school work. There
is a large and enthusiastic attendance in the cities of Spokane, Tacoma,
Everett, and Seattle, particularly in those classes in the commercial and
industrial lines, such as bookkeeping, typewriting, mechanical and
architectural drawing, machine shop, foundry, forging, and benchwork
for the men, and dressmaking, sewing, millinery, household science for
the women. As evidence of the interest and practicality of the courses,
the total enrolment in Seattle night high schools this year is 2,163, with
35 per cent in the industrial courses.

The Y.M.C.A. in the three leading cities, Seattle, Tacoma, and
Spokane, have more or less equipment for industrial education and are
meeting a certain need among the workers in the various industries, such
as the building and machine trades. This work is done at night. The


Seattle association has excellently equipped shops for the machine- and
wood-working trades, and has been carrying on for the past two years a
co-operative half-time apprentice course, in day classes. Sixteen boys
from three machine shops are now enrolled in this course. They are
also successfully given day instruction in gas-engine construction and
operation, and there is also a class in surveying for vocational preparation
for the subordinate positions.

All of this work is, of course, under private auspices and subject to
the usual tuition of Y.M.C.A. work.

The foregoing statements as to what is actually being done in this
Northwest in industrial education is at best incomplete. Sufficient has,
however, been said to indicate that this section of the country is awake
to the needs of this field of educational effort.




This book is due on the last date stamped below, or

on the date to which renewed.
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall.



NOV 2 m\>

>U' .

^ */ Q 1ccf
** Jbo/

"P AR&ftl^&nVnr-r


MAR o i iyy4

v 5 Q4

^ ED-P

JUN 2 4 Z001

LD 21A-15rn-4,'63

General Library

University of California





Online LibraryBenjamin Wiley JohnsonIndustrial education in the northwest → online text (page 1 of 1)