Saturday, July 07, 2007

A few words from the early days (1885)

Dr. Felix Adler on manual training:
Leave the direct material applications entirely out of account; suppose there were no factories in the world; suppose that all the millions of children educated in our public schools were to be ladies and gentlemen of leisure: I should plead for it then as now, simply because of its broadening, humanizing effect; because it quickens into activity certain faculties of human nature which too commonly lie dormant; because, instead of the present one-sided development, it is a step further in the direction of that all-sided development which is the ideal in education.

James MacAlister, superintendent of public schools in Philadelphia:
...manual training as I understand it, aims at general results. Its purpose is to develop human beings on the executive side of their nature as well as on the receptive. Its aim is to equip a boy so that, when he gets in the world, he will be able to do as well as to think.

John W. Dickinson, secretary of the Board of Education in Massachusetts:
Our public schools do not propose to train their members directly for the practice of any trade or any profession. They propose to do much more than that, to give the children the opportunity of obtaining that knowledge and that cultivation of mental power which will in due time, bring them to the various occupations of life, ready to pursue them in the most intelligent and most productive manner.

Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, president of the New York College for the Training of Teachers:
Manual training as I use the term is mental training. It is mental training by means of manual training. It is included in the psychologically determined course of study because it reaches important mental faculties which no other studies reach. It is also a most valuable and important stimulus to the receptive faculty of observation. The child can neither draw accurately nor construct correctly unless he observes acutely.

From a few years earlier, A Lecture Read before the Society in Amory Hall on Sunday, March 3, 1844. Ralph Waldo Emerson:
We are students of words; we are shut up in schools and colleges and recitation rooms from ten to fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing. We cannot use our hands, or our legs, or our eyes, or our arms... In a hundred high schools and colleges, this warfare against common sense still goes on.

1 comment:

  1. Mr Stowe:

    on my website,
    i am tracing the history of woodworking, with particular attention directed toward amateur woodworking.

    right now am focusing on how, between 1876 -- introduction of the russian system and, later, when arts and crafts principles were introduced -- nicholas murray butler, felix adler, charles godfrey leland, j liberty tadd, among other educators, argued that manual training (including woodworking) infused critical thinking skills in students.

    (note: "critical thinking" is a later term ca 1962; butler, et al, use the term, "reflective" in place of critical, and reflective is the term dewey used in his 1910 book, "how we think".)

    obvious links exist between my topic and the quotes on your website, and i would like an opportunity of exploring these ideas via telephone.

    if you agree, please get in touch with me:

    an early, tentative webpage on the topic is here, but the ideas that it contains need much more work:

    best wishes