Douglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrie.

The evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors online

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small weekly sum for their board and lodging. 57 At Saint-Etienne
ths net proceeds from work done in the shops are divided into
three sums — 25 per cent goes to the school for the upkeep of tools
and equipment, 25 per cent to the foremen as an addition to their
salaries and to encourage them to an increased productiveness of the
shops, and 50 per cent is divided among the pupils. Half of the
pupil's share is paid to him in cash and half is deposited for him in
the savings bank, to be drawn only when he leaves the school. 88 At
Tours, where there is carried on a model system of apprenticeship
with private employers, apprentices receive from the employers the
wages which their services are worth. At the beginning the pay may
be very small, but it is eked out by a small monthly allowance from
the association in charge, the Assistance aux convalescents mili-
taires, which adopts this method of encouraging the men to continue
the work. Without such help the men might yield to the temptation
of leaving the work in which they were receiving valuable training:

M Bourrillon, Maurice : Comment reeduquer noa Invalldes de la guerre. Paris, 1916,
pp. 96-97. Weill, Mme. David : Leg niutiles et estropies de la guerre dans la menulserie
et quelques autres Industries du bois.. Paris, 1917, p. 3. Reeducation fonctionnelle et
reeducation professionnelle des blesses. Paris, 1917, p. 216. Breuil, J. : L'Scole profes-
slonnelle des blesses de la guerre a Rouen. Rouen, 1916, pp. 18-22. Hirschfeld, Gustave :
Tourvielle. Lyon, 1917, p. 62.

" ficole de reeducation professionnelle dlamantalrft des mutilfis de la guerre. Saint-
Claude, 1916. [Announcement.]

68 iScole professionnelle des blessed milltalres du departement de la Loire. Saint-Etienne,
1917, p. 13.


for more immediately remunerative employment. Men who receive
from their employers less than 50 francs a month receive for the
first six months 20 francs from the association. Half of this sum is
paid to them in cash, and the other half is deposited to their savings
account and can be drawn at the expiration of their apprenticeship,
when they may wish to set up a shop of their own."


The matter of discipline in the schools seems to be very simple. It
can not be better stated than in the words of Dr. Jeanbrau, the first
head of the Montpellier school:

Every pupil whose conduct, work, or attitude of mind does not give satisfac-
tion is sent away. There are no punishments,' and there should be none. If a
pupil could commit any fault and give a bad example to others at the price of a
mere reprimand or of being kept in, the school would not be what we want it
to be. 00

To every new pupil at Montpellier the attitude of the school au-
thorities is explained as follows:

This school is neither a barracks nor a college, nor a workshop of the kind
you have known in the past. It is an institution established by philanthropists
to teach disabled men how to earn an honorable living. You will be boarded,
lodged, clothed, and instructed, all at the cost of the institution. If you are in-
dustrious and become a good workman, we will try to find a position for you or
help you to set up your own shop. In return we demand only two things — that
you work industriously and that you have the right spirit. If a man forgets
that he is here for work, he must go. Here there are no punishments. You are
not obliged to come ; we are not obliged to take you. If we are not satisfied
with you we will send you away and give your place to some more earnest
pupil. But if you do your best we will aid you with all the means in our
power." 1

This is the principle underlying the discipline in practically all the
schools. But sometimes, in order not to do a man an injustice, it
has been found necessary to give him a warning, and then even to re-
peat this warning, with an accompanying deprivation of leave. The
schools at Lyons, at Rouen, and at Saint-Maurice, among others, re-
port that they use these measures. 62 At Saint-Maurice there is an
additional disciplinary measure. For drunkenness men are deprived
of wine at their meals. In describing the system at Saint-Maurice,
Dr. Bourrillon says that the only serious obstacle to discipline comes
from alcoholism.

50 Centre de reeducation professionnelle de Tours. Tours, pp. 12-13.

M Jeanbrau, fimile : L'Gcole professionnelle des blesses de la xvl e region a Montpellier.
Montpellier, 1916, p. 57.

« Ibid.

M Carle, M. : Les ecoles professionnelles de blesses. Lyon et Paris, 1915, pp. 97-101.
Bourrillon, Maurice : Comment reeduquer nos invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1916, p. 77.
Hirschleld, Gustave : Tourville. Lyon, 1917, p. 71. Breuil, J. : L'Ecote professionnelle
des blessfis de la guerre H Bouen. Bouen, 1916, pp. 22-24.


At Saint-Maurice men are allowed their liberty every evening from
the dinner hour until 9 o'clock, and all day on Sundays. At the
ficole Joffre and at Tourville they are not permitted to leave the
grounds except on Thursdays from 9 to 1, and on Sundays. Other
schools have similar rulings.


For teachers or foremen of the shops, the school authorities give
preference to those who have a thorough practical knowledge of the
trade and, in addition, some teaching experience. Thus the director
chosen for the shoemaking shop at Lyon was a former teacher of
shoemaking for the Societe de secours aux apprentis du Rhone and
had been for many years the superintendent of a factory. 63 The
foreman at Rouen was an expert shoemaker who had been a teacher
at the vocational school at Tourcoing. He was a refugee at Rouen
when he was engaged for the work. 64 When this ideal combination
of teacher and master workman could not be secured, schools have
usually engaged workmen of long experience in their trade. Often
they have Secured these by applying to the local trade-unions.
Maimed and crippled men who have mastered their trade in spite of
their handicap have in several cases proved inspiring teachers. A
great deal of the success of the work depends, says Dr. Carle, upon
the personality of the teacher or foreman. He should be, says this
authority, not only an expert in his craft but one who can make his
pupils understand and love it. 66


There are in France large schools teaching a variety of trades and
smaller schools specializing in one trade or group of connected trades.
In the larger schools the curriculum is usually divided into three
parts — instruction in manual trades, instruction in office work, and
general schooling. The manual trades most often taught are shoe-
making, tailoring, basketry, harness making and saddlery, tinsmith-
ing, and carpentry. 66

These trades seem to have been selected for a number of reasons.
They afford a good living in the city or country ; they do not require
expensive equipment; and they are asked for by men seeking reedu-
cation. That they are good village trades is important in view of
the fact that a large proportion of the mutiles were before the war
in rural occupations. 67 In order not to contribute to the movement

M Carle, M. : Les Gcoles professlonnelles de blesses. Lyon et Paris, 1915, p. 67.

" Breull, J. : L'Ecole professlonnellee des blesses de la guerre a Rouen. Rouen, 1916,
p. 26.

°* Carle, M. : Les ecoles professlonnelles de blesses. Lyon et Paris, 1915, p. 43.

60 Office national des muffles et riSi'ormes de la guerre. Bull. No. 1. Paris, 1916, pp.

"Ibid, p. 20.


cityward the schools must teach these men trades which they can
practice in their former homes.

Of all of these trades shoemaking is the most popular with the
men; the shoemaking class in practically every school is the largest
among the manual trades. The director of the school at Tourvielle,
in explanation of this fact, writes that villagers are eager to learn
a trade which, when eked out with their pension, will make them in-
dependent without taking all their time. They like to be able to
set up their shop in their house, where between nailing on new soles
they can run out and hoe their garden or their grapevine.

In addition to the standard trades mentioned, a large number of
reeducational schools teach the trade of mechanic, and many teach
different branches of the printing industry — typography, lithog-
raphy, type founding, binding, etc. The manufacture of artificial
limbs and other appliances — a growing industry in France — is also
considered a good trade for disabled men, and several schools have
organized shops in which men can learn the different branches of
the work. Workers in wood, iron, and leather are employed in such
shops. Other trades taught are brush making, chair caning, clock
making, toy making, paper-box making, welding, forge work, found-
ing, electric wiring, locksmithing, engraving, metal turning, wood
turning, mold making, stucco work, pottery, carriage painting, var-
nishing, upholstery, fur work, photography, jewelry making, sabot
and galoche making, stone carving, hair dressing, dental mechanics,
and wireless telegraphy. Certain of these trades have been selected
for the mutiles on account of a shortage of workmen in the trade,
due to the large numbers of Germans and Austrians formerly em-
ployed; others because they are peculiarly suited to the reduced
powers of disabled men. In some cases regional demands for labor
have had an influence. Other trades have been chosen because they
are growing industries offering many opportunities for well-paid
employment. Several of the schools teach in their own workshops as
many as 15 or 20 different trades. 68

Under the heading office work may be grouped the commercial
courses — bookkeeping, stenography, and typewriting — and industrial
design. Much is written in France about the shortage of the labor
supply and the necessity of returning men to industry, but in spite
of these recognized facts large numbers of workmen are being
trained by the reeducational schools for office positions. Hardly a
school in France, except the specialized schools, is without its com-
mercial courses. In these courses, moreover, there are generally more
pupils than in any manual trade, except possibly shoemaking. 69 It
appears that schools have opened these courses in answer to the great

• Office national des mutlWs et r«orm4s de la guerre. Bull. No. 1. Paris, 1916, pp.
» Ibid, pp. 9-10.


demand for them from men who believe themselves unfit for any
manual work. To become a clerk is the great ambition of most dis-
abled workmen.

Industrial design, or drafting, is not so generally taught as are the
commercial courses, but it is found in the curriculum of a number of
schools. At Saint-Maurice, where drafting is successfully taught to
variously disabled men, the course as first planned included three
kinds of design — for ornament, for machinery, and for building —
but later ornament was dropped as requiring more than ordinary
artistic ability. 70 At the city and departmental school in Paris the
course includes design for furniture, ironwork, building construction,
architecture, and landscape gardening. 71

School subjects are often included in the commercial course to sup-
ply the deficiencies of preliminary education. Many schools require
the men in the manual trades also to attend classes in school subjects,
which are usually held for one hour every evening after dinner.
The illiterate are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic ; the others
receive instruction in French, history, arithmetic, hygiene, geography,
and current events. 72

Courses preparing for a teachers' certificate are given in a few
schools. 78

Smaller schools teaching only one trade or group of trades have
been started in districts where there is a predominant local industry.
Their aim is to give men the training which will meet the labor de-
mands of the vicinity. Thus at Oyonnax men are taught the dif-
ferent branches of the celluloid industry, so that they can go into
the numerous factories which make celluloid articles. 74 At Saint-
Claude, where diamond cutting is an important industry in the town
and surrounding villages, a school organized for mutiles teaches
diamond cutting only. 75 Several national trade schools already es-
tablished before the war to train workmen in a regional industry are
now teaching their specialty to disabled men. Among these are the
national school of clock making at Cluses and the practical indus-

70 Bourrillon, Maurice : Rapport sur L'lnstitut national a Saint-Maurice, 1917, p. 21.

n Devllle, A. : Rapport sur le fonctionnement de l'ecole de reeducation de la place du
Puits-de-rErmite. Paris, 1916, p. 17.

*• BourriUon, Maurice : Comment reeduquer nos invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1916,
p. 98. Hirschfeld, Gustave : Tourvielle. Lyon, 1917, p. 124. Devllle, A. : Rapport sur
le fonctionnement de l'ecole de reeducation de la place du Puits-de-1'Ermlte. Paris,
1916, p. 17. Jeanbrau, Emile : L'lSicole professionnelle des blesses de la xvi e region a
Montpelller. Montpellier, 1916, pp. 48, 52.

'• Gourdon, J. : Rapport general sur l'ecole normale et pratique de reeducation profes-
sionnelle des mutiles et estropies de guerre de Bordeaux. Bordeaux, 1917, p. 5. Bulletin
de l'oeuvre des mutiles de la guerre de la XVI 8 region, 26 Mai, 1917. Montpellier, 1917,
pp. 22, 23. Ecole professionelle des blesses mllitaires du departement de la ' Loire'
Saint-Etienne, 1917, p. 16.

1,1 Ecole d'apprentissage pour les mutlies de la guerre. Oyonnax.

"lScole de reeducation professionnelle diamantalre des mutiles de la guerre. Saint-
Claude, 1916. [Announcement.]


trial schools at Elbeuf and Roanne, which train men in the textile

In Paris some special schools have been organized by trade-unions
and some by employers. Novelty jewelry making, for example, as
has been mentioned above, is taught in a school managed by the
union of workmen in the trade. Different branches of mechanics
are taught at the Ecole Rachel, Montrouge. There are other special
schools in Paris for carpentry, glass blowing, toy making, and
tapestry weaving.

. Length of Courses.

The length of time required to learn a trade in French reeducation
schools varies with the trades and with the schools. At the ficole
Joffre and the Ecole de Tourvielle in Lyons the courses are long,
for the aim of these schools is to turn out thoroughly trained work-
men capable of competing with sound men on equal terms. 76 Six
months is the length of the shortest course offered in these schools,
which is a course in beadwork organized for badly injured men in-
capable of vigorous movements. Eight months are ordinarily re-
quired for bookkeeping, radiotelegraphy, and galoche making; a
year for shoemaking, fur work, horticulture, paper-box making, and
binding; and eighteen months for tailoring, cabinet making, toy
making, and the manufacture of artificial limbs." At the National
Institute at Saint-Maurice the apprenticeship is shorter, the aim
here being rather to fit men to earn a living wage in a shop where
they can complete their knowledge through practice and so later
aspire to higher pay. Bookkeeping is taught in three months at Saint-
Maurice, shoemaking and saddlery in eight months, tinsmithing in
five months, the use and repair of agricultural machinery in five
months, and industrial design in one year. 78

At Rouen the period of apprenticeship is not fixed. The direction
of the school aims to produce first-class workmen in each trade, and
it leaves the foreman of each shop to decide when an apprentice has
acquired the necessary knowledge and skill. 79

Some of the special schools require a long apprenticeship, but
during the latter part of the period pay wages approximating an
outside workman's. This is the case in the diamond-cutting school
at Sainte-Claude, where the apprenticeship lasts one year. 80 At
the lllcole nationale d'horlogerie at Cluses the regular course is for

™ Carle, M. : Les ecoles professionnelles de blesses. Lyon et Paris, 1915, p. 49.

" Hirschfeld, Gustave : Tourvielle. Lyon, 1916, p. 61.

™ Bourrillon, Maurice : Rapport sur l'lnstltut national a Saint-Maurice, 1917, pp. 11-28.

™ Breull. J. : L'ficole professioneUe des bl&ses de la guerre a Rouen. Rouen, 1916,
p. 25.

80 Kcolc de reeducation professionnelle diamantaire des mutiles de la guerre. Saint-
Claude, 1916. [Announcement]


three years, but for the benefit of the mutiles this has been shortened
to two years. 81

At the iDcole normale et pratique of Bordeaux, which is considered
a model school, the length of apprenticeship in the different trades
is as follows : 82

Gilding 4 to 6

Paper-box making 4 to 6

Toy making 3 to 5

Tailoring 10 to 12

Musical engraving 6 to 8

Basketry and caning 5 to 8

Industrial design 6 to 8

Truck gardening 5 to 6

Bookkeeping 9 to 10

Mechanics and metal turners. 10 to 12
Locksmiths and forge work-
ers 10 to 12

Agricultural machinery and

automobiles 5 to 7

Oxy-acetylene welding 4 to 5

Shoemaking 6 to 9

Sandal making 3 to 4

Pottery 10 to 12

Binding, plain and artistic 8 to 10

Vocational Advice.

The larger schools offering a choice of trades must usually advise
their pupils as to what trade to take up. On the quality of the
advice given depends, according to Dr. Bourrillon, the success of
a school. 83 French reeducational authorities generally agree that
good advice is based not only on the extent and nature of a man's
injury, but also on his age, his general health and muscular strength,
his native intelligence and previous education, his former occupation
(in order to direct him, when possible, to a similar trade), his manual
dexterity, and his inclinations. In order to determine a man's phys-
ical condition, many schools subject their pupils to a thorough ex-
amination by a physician. The technical director then interviews
each man to discover his mental capacities and tastes. After consul-
tation between the physician and the technical director, the man is
directed to the trade best suited to him. In a report presented to
the interallied conference last spring. Dr. Carle regrets that some
schools, owing to an increasing number of candidates, are tending
to dispense with an examination and are admitting and classifying
pupils on their mere written application. 84

Although it is generally admitted that men should go back to their
old trade whenever their earning capacity has not been seriously re-
duced by their disability, the majority of men in reeducational schools
are, as might be expected, learning new trades. Most men who can

* Harper, Grace S. : Vocational reeducation for war cripples in France. New York
1918, p. 73.

a Oourdon, J. : Rapport general sur l'ecole pratique et normale de reeducation profes-
sionnelle des mutll«s et estroptes de guerre de Bordeaux, 1917, p. 10.

» Bourillon, Maurice : Rapport sur l'instltut national a Saint-Maurice, 1917, p 9.

« Conference interallied pour retude de la reeducation professlonnelle et des questions
qui lnteressent les invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 100.


overcome their handicap by practice do not attend a school. At
Bordeaux, of 773 pupils who had passed through the school 20 per
cent had readapted themselves to their former trade. In Mme.
Weill's Atelier, out of 97 pupils 25 were there for readaptation. 88

French authorities do not believe that one can lay down any hard
and fast rules as to what disabilities are compatible with the differ-
ent trades. They have found that too much depends on the indi-
vidual's determination and perseverance and on his natural ingenuity
in adapting himself to his disability to make such a classification
possible. In general, French experience has proved that a man who
has lost one leg can take up almost any trade which does not require
continued standing ; and that there are numerous seated occupations
for men who have lost both legs.

The man who has lost an arm is considered a much more serious
problem. Dr. Bourrillon does not believe that one-armed men can
become proficient enough in a manual trade to compete with normal
workmen, and favors training their intellectual capacities. The
manchots at Saint-Maurice are, therefore, to be found in the book-
keeping and stenography classes and in the section for industrial
design. 86 In the schools at Lyons, also, the majority of one-armed
men are being trained for office positions, though there are a con-
siderable number, barred from such work by a lack of schooling or
intelligence, who are learning a trade in the bindery and the toy and
paper-box shops. 87 At Tourvielle, two men with arm amputations
have relearned their old trade of galoche making, a trade from which
in principle one-armed men are debarred. One man there who has
lost an arm has learned wireless. 88

At Montpellier, men with their right or left forearm amputated
have been taught to do wood and metal lathe work and mechanical
fitting, and men with ankylosed or paralyzed arms have learned
tailoring and shoemaking. Several men with severely injured or
amputated arms have become successful draftsmen. 89 In the work-
shops for artificial limbs at Bordeaux, a man who has lost an arm be-
low the elbow earns a normal wage as a filer ; another whose arm has
been disarticulated at the shoulder is running a band saw in the toy
shop ; and men with various kinds of arm amputations are learning

88 Gonrdon, J. : Rapport general sur l'ficole pratique et normale de reeducation profes-
sionelle des mutlles et estropies de guerre de Bordeaux. Bordeaux, 1917, p. 27. Weill,
Mme. David : Les mutiles et estropies de la guerre dans la menuiserie et quelques autres
industries du bois. Paris, 1917, p. 5.

M Reeducation fonctionnelle et reeducation professionnelle des blesses. Paris, 1917,
pp. 39-43. Bourrillon, Maurice : Rapport sur l'instltut national a Saint-Maurice, 1917,
pp. 14-28.

87 Baseque : Rapport sur l'fecole Joffre, 1917.

■ Hirschfeld, Gustave: Tourvielle. Lyon, 1917, pp. 83, 92, 108.

— Jeanbrau, fimile : L'ecole professionnelle des blesses de la xvi e region a Montpellier.
Montpellier, 1916, p. 44.


the potter's trade. 90 Mme. Weill's Atelier readapts to their trade
former carpenters who have lost an arm, if their stump is 13 centi-
meters long, i. e., long enough to permit an appliance to he firmly
attached and easily used. An inexperienced man who has lost an
arm is not encouraged to learn the trade. Men with an arm disar-
ticulated at the shoulder are here taught French varnishing. 91 Work
with a lathe and band saw, in the experience of several schools, yields
a good return to one-armed men. 92


The great shortage of agricultural labor, which threatens to be a
serious problem in France even after the demobilization of the
armies, makes it important to return every wounded peasant to his
old surrounding and work. That disabled men, even men who have
suffered an amputation, are capable of doing agricultural work has
been demonstrated many times. Experiments have proved that a
man who has lost an arm or a leg can, when provided with the proper
piosthetic appliance, dig, plow, and reap with a fair degree of effi-
ciency. 93 As the disabled farm worker is, however, usually con-
vinced that he is unfit for his old tasks, it is necessary to show him
what he can do with his appliance and to give him a short course of
training in adapting himself to his disability.

In order to provide this training for disabled men the minister
of agriculture, as was stated above, organized courses and sections for
mutiles in the existing agricultural schools. The Federation na-
tionale d'assistance aux mutiles also provides agricultural reedu-
cation in two schools, and the Union des colonies etrangeres has
established a very ambitious school for agricultural training at
Juvisy, 20 miles from Paris. 94 Horticulture is taught at the ficole de
Tourvielle and truck gardening at Bordeaux.

Difficulty in Obtaining Pupils.

In April, 1917, 21 schools under the minister of agriculture had
opened reeducation courses for disabled men, but their accomplish-
ment in the way of reeducated men was not large. Eight hundred

Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors → online text (page 5 of 38)