Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The following is from Charles A. Bennett's History of Manual and Industrial Education from 1870-1917:
...John Dewey's School and Society in 1899 (placed) industrial occupations at the very center of the elementary school curriculum. He accepted the idea that manual training in the lower grades of the elementary school, at least, should be regarded as a method of teaching--as a means of teaching related subject matter--but in these grades he would make the industrial occupations so broad and rich in related content that they would very readily and naturally become the basis for instruction in the so-called other subjects. Moreover, he would not select occupations that were merely typical of adult life, but, occupations that were real in school life. They should serve as "instrumentalities through which the school itself shall be made a genuine form of community life, instead of a place set apart in which to learn lessons."
As Dewey later described:
A large part of the educational waste comes from the attempt to build a superstructure of knowledge without a solid foundation in the child's relation to his social environment. In the language of correlation, it is not science, history, or geography that is the center, but the group of social activities growing out of the home relations. It is beginning with the motor rather than with the sensory side... It is one of the great mistakes of education to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of the school work the first two years. The true way is to teach them incidentally as the outgrowth of the social activities at this time.
As further explained by Bennett:
With this new philosophy put into practice, all teachers needed to be taught the arts and crafts, industries and occupations, that were serviceable in the home, school and play environments of children.

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