Friday, October 21, 2011

apprenticeship vs. school wood shop...

At one time apprenticeships were wide spread in all fields of craft and art. Part of the reason for schools to teach industrial skills was the failure of the apprenticeship system as described in 1871 by Mr. GĂ©rard, director of the Paris Academy:
From whatever point of view one considers the different conditions of apprenticeship, they do not correspond with the needs of youth. The want of forethought in the parents, the indifference of the master, the impotence of the law, all betray the education of the apprentice. The development of commercial competition and progress in industrial technique are turned to his disadvantage... It will be generally admitted that the workshop, which ought to develop all the powers of the boy, wears out his body before nature has completed its development in form and power; blunts the intelligence which the school has tried to awaken; shrivels up his heart and imagination, and destroys his spirit of work. Deplorable school of private morals! It robs the man in the apprentice, the citizen in the workman; and does not even make an even an efficient workman.
This is from Charles A. Bennett's History of Manual and Industrial Education, 1870-1917, an excellent resource for anyone willing to make the argument that real hands-on activities still belong in American education.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Thanks for the tip. I'm going to try to get a copy to read.

  2. Nine years as a Boy Scout leader tells me video games now shrivel up his heart and imagination.