Donald B. (Donald Budd) Armstrong.

The Penman-Artist and Business Educator (Volume 6-8) online

. (page 216 of 225)
Online LibraryDonald B. (Donald Budd) ArmstrongThe Penman-Artist and Business Educator (Volume 6-8) → online text (page 216 of 225)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

inclination to do otherwise, you are
deceiving yourselves, and you are
endeavoring to stifle the criticisms
of your own conscience.


What do you sa^' when your pros-
pective victim asks you about a
position? Do you evade it or avoid
It? Do you tell him there will be
none for him? Do you allow him to
depart from your school with the
idea that he niay and may not obtain
a position? Assuredly not. I have
in my mind's eye a picture of suavity,
a patronizing air, a bland counte-
nance, and an ecclesiastical rub of
the hands, with the convincing assur-
ance, "There has never been any
time in the history of our college
when we did not have more positions
at our command than we could fill
with ivorthy young men and women."
And the prospective student, uniniti-
ated and unsophisticated, will wonder
at the mighty power behind the
college doors which causes business
men to confide in the institution, and
to take from its sheltering portals
future Morgans, Schwabs and Cas-
satts. Do you say those things, sirs,
with frankness, with belief in your
ability and an actual knowledge of
the conditions which have prevailed
since you first opened your benevo-
lent institution?


I have no doubt, mark you, that
everyone of you has faithfully_ lived
up to the trust reposed in him by
these young people. I have no doubt
that every worthy, deserving student
has been an.xioiisly sought by the
great business world. I have no
doubt that you can recall men enjoy-
ing the world's richest gifts, success-
ful in every way, who were educated
in your schools. You can point to
thein with pride, and rely upon them
to assist you in securing other stud-
ents, that they, too, may go out -into
the world and achieve an equal
measure of success. Do you mean
to say, in view of these assurances,
that there could ever come a time
when the trust and implicit confi-
dence reposed in you may not be
realized by every graduate of your
institution? Is your word as good as
your bond, and if it is, and they are
synonymous terms, are you not as
much bound by vour word as by the
giving of a positive assurance in a
legal form? Can you, after such as-
surances and promises, accept with
a clear conscience the hard-earned
dollars of your patrons, and in the
end, when your institution has done
as much as' it can for them, refuse to
recognize their right to claim some-
thing beyond the giving of an educa-
tion, which many, with proper study
and industry, could have obtained
at home?


If there is one feature of the corres-
pondence school which appeals to me
more than another, it is in occupying
the extensive field left open by the
average business college. It edu-
cates at long distance. It stimulates
the young man without means to
turn his mind to study, and to devote
a few of his precious moments each
day to the acquirement of some
special knowledge which he believes
will benefit him sooner or later.

A business college does not treat
with its students at arm's length.
It invites them into its class-rooms,
encourages them to become ac-
quainted with its teachers, to learn
the policy of its management, to
occupy comfortable seats, and to
avail themselves of the complete
equipment and the supervising eye
of the faculty. And if we make them
so dependent upon us in the earlier
stages of their education, is it honest
to entirely disclaim responsibility in
connection with them as soon as the
pocketbook is depleted or the pre-
scribed course finished ?


The guaranty of positions is a
much-abused subject. Up to the
present time conservative and honest
college proprietors have frowned
mightily upon the school daring to
induce students to enroll, with the
assurance of receiving a position
when the course is completed. I have
faith to believe that the reason for
this is simply because they have not
properly understood what a good
guaranty should be. We declaim
against it. We characterize and stig-
matize it in the bitterest terms, be-

9Ke>f^\x)^M%e^&GiMi^&9%Qr ^

cause we know that it has been used
bv unscrupulous promoters in a dis-
honest wav. We have unconsciously,
or unintentionally admitted to the
business world that there is a possi-
bility of our being dishonest and
incompetent. We have, by our own
acts and volition, placed ourselves in
the same class with those who (as
rascality is always cunning) have
adopted a scheme plausible _ and
enticing and not without merit, to
bait the unwary fish that jumps at
the largest flv in the stream.

To mv mind there is no better evi-
dence of the soliditv of guaranteeing
positions than the fact that dishonest
men have used it to fill their schools
with victims. If an inducement like
this is powerful to draw students to
an unworthy school, what an omnipo-
tent factor it might become if prop-
erly used by trustworthy and reliable

Are we to leave young people in
the ruthless grasp of these wily
tricksters? Can we not gird on the
armor of truth and honesty, buckle
on our swords, and fight them in a
legitimate way with their own
weapons ?


In descanting against these mon-
strosities of a powerful educational
system, opponents will smoothly
glide from the real point at issue and
add another proviso to their condem-
nation. It is said that schools guar-
anteeing positions will also hold out
inducements as to time, and there
you evade the question. You know,
as well as I, that a school holding
out encouragement or promises con-
cerning the length of time necessary
to complete a course, is inherently

A business school educates indi-
vidually, and it is as impossible to
foretell the quantity and quality of
brains, the degree of application, and
the aptitude of prospective students,
as it is to inform them how much
money they have in their pockets or
how fast they can run.


The element of time must not be
permitted to enter into your discus-
sions against guaranteeing positions.
Keep it out, not only from your argu-
ment, but from every transaction in
your school. Allow your students to
judge your merit by their daily ac-
quaintance with your work; and be
ready, if they are not satisfied, to
return their money with as much
grace as you took it.

In my opinion an honest school
should hinge its inducements upon
its catalogue; and then be careful
about the preparation of its chief
medium. Let your requirements for
graduation be explicitly stated, let
them be understood by all interested
in a business education. Make your
students to know that these are your
requirements, and that you expect
them to be met.

When you have done that, be not
afraid that you will be called to judg-
ment, because if your representations
have been honest, you can live up to
them without fear' of condemnation.


A guaranty, to be just, should
specify the length of time required
to complete the contract after gradu-
tion, the salary assured, and the
locality in which the situation is to
be obtained, (live it freely, because
you are bound morally and legally,
by everything you say in your cata-
logue, even if you don't give special
contract to hold you up to your

Did you ever stop to consider that
you are trading upon the ignorance
of your clients by making statements
in your catalogues and interviews,
and not daring to substantiate them
by every means in your power?
There is no danger of misunderstand-
ing if you adhere to your catalogue
and refrain from adding, verbally,
things which you dare not incorpor-
ate in your publication. Let your
written state ments be the Bible to
which you pin your faith, to serve as
arestrfction on smooth words and in-
ducements not backed up by printer's


Do you ever have difficulty in keep-
ing your students until they have
completed your course? Does any-
one ever drop from your school when
half way through because there is no
particular reason for continuing?

It is true that with a student a little
learning is a dangerous thing, and
the vast army of incompetents from
our schools, wasting the energies
and patience of business men, and
vainly endeavoring to secure po-
sitions at any salary, is made up of
those who have not completed their
course, but who have felt, through
stress of circumstances or immature
beliefs that they are competent to
hold down good positions.

If some obligation were imposed
upon the school there would be an
incentive for every student to remain
until this obligation became valid.
I believe that a school guaranteeing
positions is able to turn out a greater
percentage of its students well qual-
ified to fill positions than a school
which makes a practice of getting
money and dodging promises.

If we are looking for the advance-
ment of our profession and the
raising of the standard of our gradu-
ates, there is no surer way of doing
it than to make it worth while for
students to complete the prescribed
course. If you do guarantee positions
and your students don't stay until
the course is completed, how much
worse off are you than if the same
condition of affairs should arise
when you do not guarantee positions ?


The school which properly educates
its students commands the respect
and confidence of the business world,
and its recommendation or diploma
will always be the open sesame of
entrance into business houses. If
the education is incomplete and the
course formulated unworthy of con-
fidence, the school is untrustworthy,
no matter what inducements are

The statement has often been made
that a guaranty of position induces
the farmers' boys and girls to leave
their homes and embark in the
troubled sea of commerce. If the
education you give is good for city
boys, is it' bad for their country-
brethren ? Are you well assured of
the nobility of your calling ? Have
you confidence in your powers ? Are
you providing something beneficial
for young men and women? If so,
why should you hesitate to dispense
your goodness to all who may desire
It ? Is it a sin to create in the minds
of young people a longing for the
greater opportunities which shall
arise in the business fields ? If you
think so, close your schools and
allow some more worthy man to fill
the vacancies you are creating. Have
you a standing in your community?
Has your work hitherto been honest
and successful ? Have you succeeded
in gaining the confidence of your
neighbors, and would an honest con-
tract to perform what you have
always done place you under the ban
of their displeasure ? Or would they
rather admire you for having the
courage of your convictions and
patronize you because you desire to
accentuate the soundness of your
profession ?



Another inevitable blessing in dis-
guise will be the higher standard of
entrance requirements necessitated
by the guaranteeing of positions. I
have been in business colleges and
noted with much concern the youth
of their students. As far as 1 know
there are few business colleges in the
United States refusing to accept
children from twelve to fifteen years
of age. Do you find them positions,
or allow them to realize their mistake
in the years elapsing before they
reach young manhood or womanhood ?
Are they desirable assistants for the
business man and do 5'ou attempt to
supply him with such immature
bookkeepers and stenographers ? If
you knew you were forced to supply
jjositions for every student in your
school would you not hesitate to
accept those who, when the course
was completed, would be ineligible
because of their youth and inexper-
ience? Would the glitter of the
dollar or the prospect of a full school
be as seductive then as now?

We may prate of our superior ad-
vantages, we may theorize on the
difference between a practical and an
impractical education, we may wisely
decide, in the presence of the parent,
that the applicant for admission has
sufficient age, education, and ability
to successfully pursue our course,
but would the tune of our lay be
changed if we shared the responsi-
bility of the student's future with
the legal guardian of the child ? The
alternative of the contract invites
respect. " Your money back if we
fail to live up to our representa-
tions," is the fairest assurance that
we have not allowed our zeal to se-
cure business, to cause us to paint
in too glowing colors the possibilities
of a business career. It establishes
a difference between frankness and

9K&^\\JilLn>Q^&diMi^cbt&r ^

chicanery and justifies the expendi-
ture of money, often at a sacriface, to
provide for the offspring greater
advantages than have ever been
possessed by the father.



Would you buy anything but an
education'if you could not use it?
And without a position the use of
our specialty is impossible. The
average student is absolutely unable
to assist himself in the obtaining of
employment. Picture his impatience
and concern while waiting for some-
thing to turn up unless his fears are
quieted by the knowledge that he
has an assurance, more binding than
words, which will afford him the
opportunity to become independent.
Your liability will never be ques-
tioned until you have proved that you
are irresponsible, and woe betide the
man who uses his guaranty dis-
honestly. His sins will find him out.
A contract of guaranty will do more
to remove from our profession the
incompetent and illusive school pro-
prietor than centuries of personal
attack aud pointed advertisements,
while the reliable and worthy school
will increase in size and reputation
because its history is an epitome of
good and useful deeds. "By their
works shall ve know them."


Cobb has Orthodox

"Our opportunities for aiding our
graduates and competent students
in securing positions are far greater
than those of a school standing alone.
We command the positions of thir-
teen commercial cities, and beyond
that our company has connections in
Chicago and St. Louis which alone
would" employ all the high-grade
office help we' can turn out. Every
competent student is in immediate
demand. This company stands ready
to contract to place every graduate
of our Full Commercial Course in a
business position or refund to him
in cash every cent paid for tuition
while taking the course. This is no
irresponsible "guarantee" to do an
impossible thing. It is a simple
business proposition to do one of
two things, possible to be done, and
which this company stands ready
and able to do " — Bi-ow/i's College
Jontual, Peoria, 111.

method in

Spelling and Ulord


Good spellers are born and made.
So are poor ones. Every school has
its good spellers, pupils who seem to
grasp a word the instant they see it,
and to retain it. Every school has a
great number of poor spellers who,
for one cause or another, fail to see
words, and, failing to see, have
nothing to remember.


The born speller needs very little
of our attention and, as he is gener-
ally weak • on some other lines, we
shall turn him over to the tender
mercies of his instructor and leave
him. The pupil who concerns us is
the one "born short" on spelling.
Our work is to make a good speller
out of a poor one. To do this re-
quires patience and care on the
teacher's part and application and
system on the part of the pupil.


Spelling of English words is a
matter of eye instead of ear. Pupils
learn to recognize words at sight.
Spelling can never be taught by any
system of phonics, and wherever such
system is used, we always find poor
spellers. We have all experienced
the feeling that a word we have
written does not look right ; proving
that the word must be learned bv
sight._ It is obvious that the only
occasion the ordinary individual has
for spelling a word is when he wants
to print it with a typewriter or write
it b)' hand; and, since this is true,
it must be plain that the best way to
learn a word is to learn it in the form
you use the most.


Thus, if a would-be stenographer
wishes to learn words, he must study
them from printed forms. He should
study direct from a text-book, linger-
ing over each word until a lasting
mental picture is made. The pupil in
the business course will have to do
much handwriting. He should study
from written forms, especially in his
own handwriting.


The following is my plan for spel-
ling in a business course : The ordi-
nary spelling lesson consists of fifty
or one hundred words. I require
each pupil to take a sheet of a plain
tablet, 7x5 inches, and rule it as
follows : 1 1-2 inches from the top
we draw a double red line from 5-8
of the left margin to 1-4 of the right
margin. Connect the ends of the
double lines with the bottom of the
sheet. Then draw a line from the
center of the double lines to the bot-
tom, producing two columns. The
words are now copied from the text
in the pupil's best writing, and all
study is now done from this sheet.
At the recitation, each pupil hands
his sheet to the teacher as written
evidence that the pupil has at least
looked at each word long enough to
write it.


The teacher now dictates forty or
fifty of the more difficult words. "The
pupils write these in special blanks
used for this purpose only. Each
word is pronounced but once. After
dictation the pupils exchange books.
The teacher spells each word. The
pupils place a red check against
each error on his neighbor's book.
At the close, the_ percentage, date
and name of examiner are written on
the page.


Every fourth week each pupil pre-
pares a neat sheet or series of sheets,
giving an exhibit of his missed words
for the month. The teacher collects
these sheets and books, the errors in
books balancing the words on ex-
hibit. These exhibit sheets are writ-
ten on paper specially prepared for
filing, and look like the following:

Name of Pupil.

These filing sheets now contain all
the words missed by the class. These
sheets are now bound in the card-
board file. When the class has com-
pleted the text book, the teacher has
every word missed. We now stop
home preparation and begin on our
filing list. The recording proceeds
as before. This is kept up until
each pupil's list is reduced to zero;
The final filing list is practically a
clean record.

This plan is being carried out suc-
cessfully in the "largest business
school on earth and it brings results.

In case we find a particularly poor
speller, we have him send in 'sheets
showing the lesson written out three
or four times. This is done to carry
out the theory that the more times a
pupil writes a word, the oftener he
sees it, and the more familiar he be-
comes with it.


Personally, I believe no word should
ever be learned unless it can be made
apart of the pupil's vocabulary. The
theory being that the pupil will never
have occasion to spell a word until
(Cotitiuiied on pa^e 17)

dfle /SvUin;^^ ^cUb&cbt^er ^

Office Economy in Commercial Education,
Particularly Filing Methods and Labor-Saving Devices.


[An address delivered before the
Eastern Commercial Teachers' Con-
vention, at Brooklyn, April 10, 1903.
As it was the first appearance of the
author before the Association, we
preface his paper by a short bio-
graphical sketch. -Editor.]

Mr. Seward is a New Englander by
birth and spent his early life in New
Haven, Conn., where he was educat-
ed in the public schooFs, later in Hop-
kins Grammar School, and finally in
the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale
University, where, in 189.5, he received
the Degree of Bachelor of Philosophy.
His commercial experience has been
broad, usually tending toward the
technical and descriptive. He carries
an investigating spirit into his work
and delights in condensing and ar-
ranging facts. Among his recent lit-
erary work may be cited his serial
article on " The Card Index and
Mechanical Aids in Accounting" now
running in the "Business World"
(New York). He finds time to edit a
department on Office Appliances in
" The Tvpewriter and Phonographic
World" and has delivered lectures
before societies and at the School of
Commerce, New York University.'

This address is a part of copy-
righted manuscript, which we use by
permission of the author.

Mr. Seward said:

"Your President, just after I had fin-
ished the installation of an ecjiiip-
ment of filing devices for instruction
purposes in his model office, a short
time ago, inquired if I would prepare
a paper on the subject for this meet-
ing. I assented, and shortly after-
ward Doctor Rowe favored me with
an invitation from your Program
Committee to prepare such a paper.
These circumstances account for its
appearance on your program. At the
outset I wish to say that I am not
here in the interest of any manufac-
turer, nor do I receive compensation
for the mention or illustration of any

During the past decade commercial
education has received a great deal of
emphasis and is todaj' one of the most
popular units of our educational sys-
tem. Its present popularity is due to
the work of the faithful commercial
teachers represented here. In the re-
cent stimulus given the subject in
America should be mentioned the
work of President J ames for the Amer-
ican Bankers' Association,' also Dr.
Herrick's monograph^ on the subject,
which sets forth an able argument on
the demand for business education.

Time permitting, I would call your
attention to some similarities between
the training that commercial educa-
tion affords to that to be had in pur-

1. Report of the Cointuissioner of Educa-
tion 189&fi. Chap. XV., and American Bank-
ers' Association, N. Y.

2. Supplement to the Fifth Year Book of
the National Herbart Society for ISOn. Uni-
versity of Chicago Press, Uhicago, ill., liiUO.

suing academic, scientific, profes-
sional, or industrial studies.

For our purpose commercial educa-
tion may be taken to mean "the
whole course of educational training
for a business career." In pursuing
such a course of training, the student
comes into contact with you at a time
and under circumstances that make
your work as a commercial teacher
very difficult. He may or may not be
bright. At any rate you are expected
to properly equip him for business
life in a very few months. My sym-
pathies are entirely with you in your
endeavor to give him a business edu-
cation during the limited time he is
willing to spend in a business school.

With a lengthening of the commer-
cial course and a broadening of the cur-
riculum, the insertion of a systematic
course of study in "office economy"
becomes an opportunity to better pre-
pare the student in a " degree which
can only be understood when the lack
of knowledge on this subject among
office employees is realized.

The report of the Commissioner of
Education for 1901 states that there
were 110,000 pupils attending/the com-
mercial and business schools of the
country during the preceding school
year. The problem how to best pre-
pare these thousands of young men
and women for business as it is prac-
ticed today, is a large one. At your
hands they are to receive the training
which is to shape their life's career,
as well as to train them for their own
personal lives.

With the exception of a few sugges-
tions, I shall leave to you the pre-
scribing of how students shall be
taught the subject before us and
made to understand that there is a
great volume of work to be done in
actual business ; that strong intellects
are pitted against equally strong ones
in an endeavor to manufacture, buy,
and sell in the most economical man-
ner, and that consequently a knowl-
edge of labor-saving appliances and
methods is a requisite to their suc-

By "office economy," I mean not
alone the saving of time, material,
and labor, but also such an arrange-
ment of the office as will provide good
light, proper ventilation, regulated
temperature, and enough elbow-room
for employees to do their work easily
at the pressure under which they are

Online LibraryDonald B. (Donald Budd) ArmstrongThe Penman-Artist and Business Educator (Volume 6-8) → online text (page 216 of 225)