Page images
PDF
EPUB

elimination at this stage in a boy's career (between thirteen and fourteen) is not fraught with those social and economic difficulties which arise later on, when it is usually too late to shape square pegs to fit round holes. On the other hand, those boys who showed promise in any special direction could be advised as to the future with greater certainty. Although the aim is not to train a boy for a special occupation but to give him such a general training in dexterity, adaptability, etc., as would fit him for any one or more when the opportunity arose, still employers and others could be supplied with more suitable candidates for the various trades. And even if a boy did not eventually continue in a direct trade line after following this "intensive” course, he would doubtless be none the worse for his experience.

One cannot close this chapter without some remarks on the training of the teacher of handwork. For the class of work conducted in the juniors' divisions, no very great skill is required, but the method of teaching and the practical processes of the work ought certainly to be undertaken by all students in the Training Colleges. This is a lamentable weakness in the majority of our Training Colleges, and one that should be drastically amended. One knows that some handwork is taken in these institutions, but with what effect? Usually that the students despise the whole subject. Now a teacher's function is to teach, to educate ; but it is doubtful whether the Training College student gets enough professional training during his college careerhe gets a surfeit of mathematics, history, and geography, etc., of a sort, but he spends the major portion of his time in stuffing facts away for examination purposes rather than learning the arts of his profession. In this

period there should be an adequate allotment of time to the pedagogics of handwork and necessary practice in the tools and materials of the work, and the student be well versed in the “why and wherefore ” of the methods employed.

It is to be regretted that there is not one of our Training Colleges or Universities which caters for a teacher drawn more particularly towards the teaching of practical subjects. When so much is being said at the present time regarding educational reform, and the shortage of teachers is a grave menace to the future development of education, is it not time that the Universities took the matter in hand and offered a diploma or degree course in education in general and handwork in particular ? The demand for adequately trained and educated men is great at present, and it will be even greater when developments are afoot in the future, and the supply is nil. True, there are a few coming into this work, but they are sadly illprepared ; artisans chiefly, good workmen at their trades, but quite ignorant of teaching and the management of boys. Can nothing be done for these men to give them a decent start in their new work by attendance at a University in the evenings, or part time, or better still, whole time for one or two years ? This is only palliating; a remedy is wanted, and to obtain this a satisfactory training course will have to be devised. There is also the advanced training in practical subjects for men who will eventually be employed in the pre-vocational and vocational schools, so that a further period of training would have to be undertaken by those wishing to engage in this advanced instruction.

The remedy could be effected by requiring students to attend full time for a one- or two-year course at the Training College or University, where a corresponding diploma is awarded. It must be of a high rank and standard, and worth the time and cost expended in obtaining it. Later on, the period of training should be increased, so that a student must spend at least two years in qualifying for the diploma. Now though this is intended as a diploma in handwork and its teaching, it must not be concluded that only handwork is to be studied during the training ; it should be a general cultural course with specialization in training. If it is necessary for a cookery teacher, a fortiori, it must be an essential for the handicraft teacher.

In conclusion, a wide survey of the whole subject should be made, and the problem treated in a manner worthy of the great cause signified by the term liberal education.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

educate your

sano

Parents if asked, “Why do you children?” would probably reply, “To fit and equip them to take their place in the world as active, useful men and women.” And, though the principle of “Mens sana in corpore

is being more and more generally accepted, and the necessity for a national system is emphasized in Mr. Fisher's Education Bill, its actual application as a matter of the most vital importance in every home throughout our Empire is not yet properly recognized. With very many physical training is still regarded in the same light as voluntary rationing, an excellent subject to talk and platitudinize about, but not a matter that directly concerns each individual father and mother. The lesson that history has taught over and over again, viz. that neglect of physical training has caused empire after empire to dwindle, crumble and finally fall to pieces is forgotten in the scramble “ to get rich quick.” But to do this with even moderate success health is necessary. Day by day we see

men to whom labour is life, and illness is death, men who devote themselves to great purposes and great works, men who run the life-race with feet winged with the purest hope, and who, with the goal in view, falter and fail; all for the want of a little bodily stamina, a little

bodily power and bodily capacity for the endurance of * fatigue, or anxiety, or disappointment.” How many men, earnest, eager, uncomplaining, are pursuing their avocations with the imminency of a certain breakdown ever before them, when health and full power might have been secured, if, while cultivating the mind, a regular time for systematic, rational exercise had also had its place in the daily round. For want of exercise appetite fails, energy flags, sleep — nature's great restorer-is lost, and the whole system gets out of gear.

There is no profession, no occupation, no position in life in which a normally developed frame will not be valuable ; even to the most highly intellectual man it is essential to success.

We want neither the book-worm, music-box nor acrobat. Exclusive culture of either mind or body is a deplorable error. Mind and body must be viewed as the two well-fitting halves of a perfect whole designed mutually to sustain and support each other, and each worthy of our unstinted care and attention. “No man would dream of yoking two oxen to pull against each other, but man very frequently does forget to see that the burden allotted to the team of mind and body is fairly adjusted.”

Properly regulated exercise bears directly upon the functional systems of the body, and especially upon those important structures which contain the vital organs and on whose full development the health and functional ability must greatly depend through life. Such exercise will enable a man to prolong and sustain his labours with safety to himself and increased value to his fellow-men. This culture must, however, be obtained in youth, while the body is growing, while all

« PreviousContinue »