Minnesota. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Biennial report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the State of Minnesota ... online

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Plumber apprentice

Furniture factories










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A few interesting facts are revealed by an inspection of these
tables. Less than 13 per cent, of the boys are under 12 years
of age and these are predominantly '^street Arabs." By Table
No. 5 it appears that the average wage is, substantially, 50
cents per day. There are 19 per cent, of the boys fatherless
and 8.1 per cent, motherless, 2.2 per cent, are orphans.

By Table No. 6 it will be seen that the fathers follow a great
variety of occupations, many of them callings which would
seem to relieve them from the necessity of sending their chil-
dren out to work at so early an age. The number of laborer's
children is disproportionately large being 33. 5. per cent, of the
whole. It appears from Table No. 7 that 11 per cent, begin
work before the age of 10 years and 30 per cent, before the age
of 12 years. By Table No. 8 it appears that the average num-
ber of months employment is 8.6, the average months of school
attendance being 2.6, an amount evidently insufficient to secure
proper education for any child. It must be remembered that
this includes attendance upon night schools. It seems nothing
less than cruelty to send a child to night school after having
worked in a factory all day. It seems probable that all knowl-
edge so acquired must be bought at the expense of physical
deterioration in the subject. The English half-time school is a
vast improvement upon the night school in this respect.

By Table No. 9 it appears that 92.3 per cent, of the boys can
read, 88.4 per cent, can write, 79.3 per cent, can add, 77.1 per
cent, can subtract 74.7 per cent, can multiply, 57. 5 per cent,
can divide, and 24.0 per cent, can work in' fractions.

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Manual and technical training — industrial training — What is
it, what is its purpose, what are its results? Every innovation
upon old ideas and old methods must answer these questions.
A variety of views have been held with respect to its nature
and utility. The popular idea is that it is an effort to teach
boys a trade in school. This is erroneous. The best opinions
upon the subject at present regard it as a necessary, but hereto-
fore neglected part of an education; a thing needful to the sym-
metrical growth of the physical and mental powers which
naturally belong to a human being. It is reinforcing the power
of thought with the power of execution; cultivating the facul-
ties, not only to know how a thing should be done, but to do it.
It is supplementing the action of the trained mind with the
action of the trained hand and eye. Entirely aside from its
utilitarian value, it is an essential method of harmonious devel-
opment for the individual.

It is difficult to fix a precise definition for the term ''Manual
Training." The New Jersey Council of Education defines it as
''training in thought-expression by other means than gesture and
verbal language, in such a carefully graded course of study as shall
also provide adequate training for the judgment and the executive
faculty. This training will necessarily include drawing and
constructive work, but experience alone can determine by what
special means this instruction may best be given."

Says the Commissioner of Education: Using the expression
''Manual Training" in the sense here given, the argument for
its introduction into the public school course is placed dn ex-
actly the same basis as the argument for the essential branches
of education.

As in the case of all new propositions of a social and educa-
tional nature, there are propagandists and conservatives.

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Since it is not the province of this bureau to make a case, we
present as fully as space will permit the best available argu-
ments for and against it, as stated in the report of the Com-
missioner of Education for 1887-88:

The Industrial Association of New York City says:

"The argument for manual training rests upon psychology, and it is
only modern psychology that has discovered 'and emphasized the place
that man's powers of expression occupy in the acquisition of knowledge
and the development of mental capacity. Manual training is the form of
instruction with which it Is proposed to appeal to these powers of ex-
pression. It consists of two reciprocal parts, drawing and constructive
work. The ohject of the training is to add to the pupiPs power of ex-
pression by verbal description, the powers of expression bv delineation
and by construction. Either of the latter powers is simpler and easier
than the use of abstract language. It is more natural to be able to draw
a sphere, or to make one out of clay or wood, than to comprehend the geo-
metrical definition of a sphere. Yet the curriculum of the ordinary com-
mon school has no place for the former, while it devotes much time to the
latter mode of expression. It will be seen that the argument thus out-
lined is a purely psychological or educational one, and takes no account of
the social and economic benefits that are known to result from manual
training. Though these benefits are great, it is obviously out of place to
urge them as other than addenda to the main argument. Many persons
lay the greatest stress on the social and economic benefits referred to, and
thus confuse the argument for technical education with the argument for
manual training in the pu -lie schools. 'Industrial education' is the title
used to signify the education which includes manual training, but it is
also often used as synonymous with technical education. The failure to
discriminate between these two significations of the phrase industrial
education' has caused much confusion, and almost all of the arguments
that are advanced against manual training are traceable to a misconcep-
tion of what manual training really means. ^ Even those teachers and
others who advocate manual training are not* always clear as to what It
means. They often speak of substituting manual training for mental
work. This Is Incorrect. The substitution Is of one form of mental
work for another. Manual training. In the sense In which it is here used,
is mental trainlhg. It is a training of the mind to accuracy of perception
and truthfulness and readiness of expression. If manual training were
non-mental and non-disciplinary it could have no proper place in the pub-
lic-school course. The scliools are not established for the purpose of
teaching pupils how to make a living, but to teach them how to live.
They are not to teach trades, but to educate.

*"rhe argument for manual training asserts that the power to express
and use knowledge is an essential part of the process of acquiring knowl-
edge. It claims that In the past the powers of expression have been neg-
lected In education, and that the appeal made to them In the Instruction
in reading and writing is not sufficient. It points out, too, that nowhere
in the present school course is any provision made for training the judg-
ment and executive faculty, than which no mental powers are of more
practical importance. The instruction in delineation and construction,
which is included in manual training, appeals directly to both these

**It will now be seen, it is hoped, that the argument for manual train-
ing in the common schools is psychological and educational. It is not
economic or utilitarian."

Let us illustrate this further. If I have an idea in my mind,
and wish to express it, I may put it in written or spoken lan-
guage. This is one medium of conveying my idea to the mind
of another person. It is, however, quite imperfect. Nothing is


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more frequently misunderstood than language. If this lan-
guage is now more fully illustrated and explained by a sketch
or drawing the idea is still more clearly and definitely conveyed.
Again, if this language and drawing are now embodied in a ma-
terial form with the proper dimensions, forms, colors, substance,
etc., the idea is still more fully expressed and conveyed. In
fact the idea is developed into a substantial and tangible
reality, while by the use of language alone it could never be
brought to this point. Now the man who can express himself,
however well, in language, may be well nigh powerless, when
thrown upon his own resources, to execute anything. His
thought can not take effect upon matter, by tlie mere use of
language, without the intervention of the man who knows how to
execute. He is cut off, so to speak, from the physical world
around him, a motive power, a magazine of force, an engine with-
out connecting machinery. He knows how a thing should be
done, but he can not make a sketch or working drawing illus-
trating how it should be done, nor can he take hold and do it
himself. His thought is half wasted from this disabilty.
Hence the phrase * 'thought expression" used in the above defi-
nition might be explained as thought realization or thought
practicalization — the process of reducing thought to completed
action. It will scarcely be denied that this is a faculty which
all men should possess.


In one of the leading educational journals of this country one of the
most distinguished educational authorities has expressed views in opposi-
tion to the introduction of manual training in the public schools that
have attracted considerable notice. As each argument appears unanswer-
able when considered separately, we will take the liberty of comparing
them and endeavor to find wherein they are not in unison. Dr. Dickinson

^'Suppose, then, it is admitted by those best able to judge, that the
proper function of the public school is to furnish the occasions of symmet-
rical human development, it still remains to determine what are the oc-
casions of this development.

* 'Human development is produced by the right exefcise of power. la
school the occasions of this exercise are objects and subjects of thought
These, collected and rightly arranged, constitute our public school courses
of study.

'*If , therefore, the courses of study used in the public schools are defect-
ive, the mental development produced by pursuing these courses will be
defective also. In criticising the school, then, we must first turn our at-
tention to defects in the products, and second to the defects in our
school exercises that have occasioned the defective products. In criticis-
ing results it is said that the children pass out of their classes in school
into active life without being prepared for anything. They may have
some information, but they seem to have very little actual knowledge.
They may be a])le to understand what is explained to them, but they have
neither the ability nor the inclination to produce anything by their own

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independent activity. They may have some power of thinking, but they
cannot realize their thoughts in any product outside their owd minds.
Their capacities have been trained, but their faculties have been

* 'These statements are made by those who, dwelling upon the products
of their imaginati )n8, neglect to observe for facts. Nevertheless the criti-
cism has some foundation and directs oar attention especially to one de-
fect charged against the schx>ls. This defect consists in a failure to
train the children to an independent u^e of their powers. It is proposed
to supply the deficiency by introducing Into the school exercises a training
' in the use of mechanical tools. This is to be done not for the sake of the
manual dexterity that may result, but for the general development of
active power that may be produced. For no other reason than this can the
practice with mechanical tools find a legitimate place in the public

'^Admitting that the defects in our present school work actually exist,
it does not follow that they are due to defective courses of study, nor that
they may be removed by adding the operations of the workshop to the list.
Both these things are assumed, but neither of them has yet been proved
to be true.

"Mere manual dexterity acquired without reference to invention or con-
struction is the product of imitation. To produce It requires a simple
practice in imitating a few mechanical motions made as examples to be
imitated. After a sufBclent number of repetitions the states of mind
which are the causes of the movements of the body are hardly the objects
of consciousness at all, and the Individual moves on under the Influence
of the mechanical principle of action. Great manual skill is often found
with those whose general intelligence is of a low order. If this is true, it
follows there is no necessary connection between the two.

**By long continued imitation men seem to become very much like the
machines they use. In our experience I am sure we have all found In-
stances of this kind. Such persons become skilled in imitating, but at
the same time they may be wanting in independent and progressive
power. They may be wanting In that general Intelligence which Is neces-
sary for the regrulation of their private conduct as individuals or of their
public acts as members of a self-governed state.

♦ »♦*»♦»

**It d«>es not appear that mechanical dexterity holds any necessary rela-
tion to general intelligence or to virtue.

"To cultivate it in the schools must distract the mind from Its legiti-
mate disciplinary work and lead It to pursue other and inferior ends.
The president of a western industrial institution recently read a paper be-
fore a convention of public school teachers which contains the following
statement: *I have not been able to discern such valuable results from
hand culture as my friends seem to find. I do not find that the exact con-
struction of a box leads to the exact construction of an English sentence.
But mechanical students need as much drill as any others. I have not
found that students in mechanical courses are specially good In their
mathematical work. On the contrary, I do find that the best workers in
wood and metal are they who have clear thoughts and can express them
clearly, and who have mathematical ability.'"

If It be considered that the advocates of manual training desire to in-
troduce it, not for the general development of mental power, but for the
"mere manual dexterity" that may result. Dr. Dickinson certainly repays
the compliments that those he opposes have been paying the publlcscnool
system as to the mechanical manner in which the pupil there performs his
tasks. The experience of the president of an Institution In the West,
though convincing as to the necessity of mental training, would seem to
ignore that manual training is not to supersede, but, as it is claimed, to
supplement It.

But what is the specific difference between the^e arguments so far as
the latter has been given? O i one side a defect Is charged, and a remedy—
"construction and delineation"— offered. On the other, construction, un-
der the title of mechanical dexterity, is flatly denied as a remedy for the

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imputed defect and delineation, under the title of drawing, admitted in
the following terms:

**Drawing," Dr. Dickinson continues, "has an important educational
value, and should be introduced into every public school in the land. It
implies a careful and prolonged observation of things to be described. It
presents occasions for the free exercise of judgment, imagination, and in-
vention." Nor is there apparently any material difference between the
educator and the association as to the result to be obtained by education.
In concluding his article Dr. Dickinson uses the following forcible lan-

"My friends, if we desire to construct such a system of public instruc-
tion for the youth of the country as will best prepare them to discharge
with efficiency and fidelity the duties of private and public life, let us
make ample provision for the complete training of the powers of observa-
tion, for an accurate knowledge of facts, of analysis and comparison, for
a knowledge of the relations of things, of generalization and reasoning,
for a knowledge of those general truths from which the rules of conduct
should be derived, and, above these things, for that training which leads
to an all-controlling love for the truth; and the youth will take their
places in life elevated above the narrowing effects of any trade, occupa-
tion, or profession, and ready to enter upon any service to which they may
be called." The association says with emphatic brevity that manual
training is a training of the mind to accuracy of perception and truthful-
ness and readiness of expression. The schools are not established for the
purpose of teaching pupils how to make a living, but to teach them how
to live.

Construction or mechanical dexterity, as either side may prefer to call
it, is then the main point of difference. Now, what defect is it intended
to remedy? "Nowhere in the present school course,'' says the association,
"is any provision made for training the judgment and executive faculty
than which no mental powers are of more practical importance.'' *'What
changes do we need?" says Dr. Dickinson. "If the defect is found in a
failure to cultivate practical power, then the change we need is not so
much in the course of studies as in the method employed in presenting
these courses to the learner's mind. If the children graduate from the
schools without the ability to do any independent work, it is because their
school exercises did not permit nor require them to do independent work
in mastering their lessons. The great reform we need will be introduced
by turning the learner's mind from words to things; I do not mean physi-
cal things only, but all things which may be made objects of thought.
* * * The pupil may become an original investigator by being trained
to handle the objects of his investigation. This training leads to self-
control and prepares one to take up the work of life with every prospect
of success." In this there exists substantial agreement, although Dr.
Dickinson speaks rather hypothetical ly as to the reality of a defect; in-
deed, the last argument is the more reasoned.

But what kind of investigation? And here it is that the difference
appears. Having first recalled to the reader's attention that tool instruc-
tion is said to be demanded by the advocates of manual training, we will
quote once more and finally from Dr. Dickinson:

"If the children in our elementary schools could be trained to study in
a philosophical way the elements of the sciences, they would not only pre-
pare themselves for the future pursuit of the sciences themselves, but at
the same time they would be put to those exercises that are best adapted
to train the mind to a skilful use of the hand and eye."


Philosophical apparatus is thus decidedly preferred to tools, as merely
requiring a change in the manner of teaching a subject that has already
been introduced into academic and perhaps, in some instances, into lower
grades of the schools, and is now acknowledged to be in harmony with

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their object. This suggestion is supported by the remarks of a writer in
a journal* of the highest standing, which we quote:

'*The pleas for manual training as an educational measure are many, and
as the methods employed in instruction must necessarily depend upon the
end expected, it may not be amiss to examine at least the leading theories:

"Such a critique, nevertheless, based upon the campaign of words, if we
may so call them, of the different advocates, in the absence of a full ex-
position of their views, must be made rather in the form of suggestion
than otherwise. Thus the first encountered is that of the devel^ment of
percevtions. One would assume a psychological basis if the age of the
pupil corresponded with the programme in view; but in the present appli-
cation perception means sharpness of the sensorium, the first stage of
mental growth in the child, generally expected to have been accomplished
in the kindergarten; afterward, object teaching in the elements of natural
sciences, aid^ by collections, etc.. would do quite as well, and, moreover,
would produce as a beneficial result certain general knowledge not attain-
able from the simple manipulation of tools." It will be observed that
"general knowledge" is here balanced with "Simple manipulation" to the
advantage of the former.

Ck)mparing these suggestions with the statement made by Lord Arm-
strong, the head of the Elswick Company, which employ I3,0v0 men and
boys, but better known to the American public as Sir William Armstrong,
of rifled cannon fame, considerable difference of opinion in this matter Is
shown. Lord Armstrong, consulting his experience, prefers capacities
for ttseful action to the possession of mere knowledge.

In an article entitled "The Cry for Useless Education,"! areply toa
criticismt by Sir Lyon Playfair, president of the British Association for
the Advancement of Science, on Lord Armstrong's article, **The Vague
Cry for Technical Education,"? this distinguished engineer observes: "A
man's success in life depends incomparably more upon his capacity for use-
fid action than upon his acquirements in knowledge, and the education of
the young should therefore be directed to the development of faculties
and valuable qualities rather than to the acquisition of knowledge.
* • * I can affirm with confidence that had I acted upon the principle
of choosing men for their knowledge rather than their ability, I should
have been surrounded by an Incomparably less efficient staff than that
which now governs the Elswick works."

It is necessary to ascertain what Lord Armstrong means by knowl-
edge and "capacities for useful action." To give this we will quote from
"The Vague Cry for Technical Education," an article that caused Sir
Lyon Playfair to wonder why the author was not a member of the "Tech-
nical Association" of England:

"In expressing my own views on popular education, I must address my-
self in the first place to the present system of primary or elementary
education, which Is now very generally considered to be ill-adapted as a
preparation for the business of life. That system has. In my opinion, the
radical defect of aiming at Instruction in knowledge rather than the
training of the faculties. * * * Not only should the mind be trained
In habits of thought, and In quickness and accuracy of perception, but
the hand, the eye, and the ear should all participate in training exercises
calculated to make those organs more available as instrumsnts of the
mind. ♦ * * Except, in teaching the art of writing, no attempt Is at
present made to educate the hand. The addition of drawing would be a
step in the right direction, and would afford a useful accomplishment,
but would not supply all that is needed for giving dexterity to the hand.
Appropriate exorcises ought to be devised for cultivating its mobility,
precision, and delicacy of touch; and If, in so doing, the ability to use
simple tools were acquired, it would be advantageous in any line of' life that

♦Popular Science Monthly, July, 1888; Manual or Industrial Training, by Prof. G von

^Nineteenth Century, November, 1888.
^Nineteenth Century, September, 1888.
S Nineteenth Century, June, 1888.

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might be ultimately adopted. Every man and woman would be the bet-
ter for pre-acquired manual dexterity, but to attempt to teach children
special trades and processes of manufacture would, I conceive, be a mis-

We can now return to the "Cry for Useless Knowledge*" and quote some
important lines without fear that they will be misunderstood. VSir Lyon
Playfair declares himself an advocate of Including within the scope of
technical education the teaching of specific trades and industries. 1, on
the contrary, say that workshops and factories or other places where
actual business Is carried on are the proper schools for the learning of
such trades and industries. Here at once we stand face to face in dia-
metrical opposition. Kor is our agreement more apparent in his defini-

Online LibraryMinnesota. Bureau of Labor StatisticsBiennial report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the State of Minnesota ... → online text (page 27 of 42)