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Nevertheless, even after all allowances are made, the inevitable conclusion remains that in vocational guidance the greatest field of immediate development for psychological tests is in choosing persons for positions rather than in selecting positions for persons.
The possibilities in the former field of effort are inspiring. When the best possible adjustment shall have been attained between work and workman, each one will have his full opportunity to achieve at least something for commonwealth and common weal; the tasks of the world will be better done and the workers will receive greater rewards, deeper joy, and fuller satisfaction in their doing.
C.-NECESSITY OF PROFESSIONAL TRAINING FOR VOCA
FREDERICK G. BONSER,
Director Industrial Arts, Teachers' College, Columbia University.
Reduced to its lowest terms, the chief work of the vocational counselor is to deal with individual persons who are in need of help in choosing a life career. There are, however, factors involved in doing this which make it expedient and necessary for him also to be no less a counselor for the vocations themselves on the one side and for the schools on the other. Of course, there is the great problem of the floating population, the vocational tramps, who need help periodically in getting jobs; but aid given them is essentially in the nature of the employment agent's work. His problem is to know opportunities for immediate employment and to connect the given job with a man who can do it. He gives no advice, counsel, or information save only that necessary to provide the employer with his man, the man with his job. The work of the counselor, however, is concerned much more with the choice of permanent life work. He is, therefore, dealing with a problem that is fundamental, both from the standpoint of the individual seeking his place in the world's work, and of the social world for which his work is to be done.
Whether one who assumes responsibility for such counsel should have professional training may be best answered by noting the elements of specific work which he is to do and the qualifications required to do it. Upon the efficacy of his counsel depends the weal or woe of many individuals and the consequent well-being or misfortune of the society these individuals serve.
Among the qualifications which seem to me to be necessary for successful counseling, I shall note specifically four which are inclusive of many minor elements. These are: Information, experience, appropriate personality, and capacity for constructive research.
The information definitely needed is of two types-that of the vocational world and that of people. It is manifestly impossible for any one person to know the details of all of the several thousand different kinds of work by which people maintain a livelihood, but it is possible to know something of each of the relatively small number of groups of vocations into which these may be classified on the basis of fundamental activities involved. First of all, there is the grouping into the five large divisions, the professional, the commercial, the agricultural, the industrial, and the household. Within each field are subdivisions rather well defined in some particulars. In turn, each of these subgroups is divisible into specific phases of work, making a total of several thousand different kinds of occupation. There are, however, many overlappings in these occupations from the standpoint of the activities and qualities required for efficient service. As a matter of fact, we know little that is of fundamental character in the classification of qualities for vocational success, nor of the activities that are fundamental in the vocations themselves. Viewed from this one standpoint the hit-or-miss, leap-in-the-dark quality of advice given by a counselor who does not even know the little now known and who has not the training and capacity for further discovery is quite apparent. The fundamental activities involved in the larger groups of vocations and their more important subdivisions the vocational counselor should know as the analytical chemist knows the elements, the families of elements, and the compounds of these elements and families of elements.
The counselor must know not only the more fundamental activities involved in these various fields and the personal qualifications required to conduct them, but he must also know the conditions of the occupations as they exist from time to time. The relationship between present and probable supply and demand, the relative wages, and the changes in methods, devices, and organization affecting the workers must all be more or less at his immediate command. Illustrations may be drawn readily from the fields of farming, commercial work, and manufacture to show that new inventions are constantly supplanting whole groups of workers, leaving them out of employment and unable to derive any help whatever from a technical training which may have been developed only through a long and devoted period. A current illustration of this is clearly evident in the commercial field. Stenographers have been in great demand, and means for preparing them have developed in response under both private and public auspices. If a young man or woman seems well adapted to this field, nothing is easier than to advise attendance upon a school appropriately fitting for such work, assuming that such a
school exists. But a disturbing factor immediately appears when it is learned that the dictaphone has begun an invasion of this field which points toward the early elimination of the stenographers from perhaps one-third to one-half of the offices in which they have heretofore been indispensable.
A knowledge of the initial wages in the various occupations is entirely inadequate for the purposes of the counselor. Possibilities for training, advancement, and increase in wages are altogether of more significance than are initial wages. There are hundreds of jobs that offer wages alluringly high for boys in their early teens, 16, 18, or even 20 cents an hour; but there is nothing in the work save the easily attained maximum of the 20 cents an hour. The end of the "blind alley" is reached. When manhood overtakes the worker in such a calling, he either morosely submits to a life sentence of dulling, monotonous drudgery with all that this implies, or he changes to some other occupation, rarely finding one with much more chance of growth or advancement than the first. Dissatisfaction leads him again to change, and the probability is strong that he will soon become a permanent member of the class of "job floaters" or "hoboes." All such occupations the counselor must know.
The counselor must likewise know in which vocations the capital for success lies primarily in manual skill, and in which it is chiefly a matter of vocational intelligence. In the transition from handicraft methods of manufacture to factory and machine production a whole generation of schoolmasters and not a few tradespeople have made the error of prescribing an effective method of training for an outgrown method of production without realizing that it was fundamentally defective in meeting the conditions for which they were presumably preparing. We all thank God and progress that the day of handicraft production has been supplanted by methods far more efficient, just as log cabins, kerosene lamps, hand-reaping machinery, and "prairie schooners" have been supplanted by inventions a hundredfold or a thousandfold more efficient. But the work of a thousand manual-training teachers in this country, fondly supposing themselves to be vocational trainers for present-day industry, shows how the factory system with its division of labor, its machine processes, and its applied science has entirely escaped them. If these and the authorities employing them have been so oblivious to conditions in the real world of industry, it behooves us to have a care that those counseling young people about to enter such callings should be alive to the world's work as it actually must be done by those taking up its problems. I count it a travesty upon our schools and a tragedy for
our boys and girls that a number of large hardware dealers in New York, who conduct supply houses for the whole country, carry a large stock of goods no longer used at all in the trades, but carried to meet the steady or even increasing demand of the manual-training departments and schools of the country.
The vocational counselor must also know people. In addition to the usual meaning which would attach to this statement, I mean that he must know how to use all of the means whereby he may be able to help the candidate to discover his vocational aptitudes and capacities and make the adjustment between these and the work appropriate for him. He must be able to make appropriate use of the tests and devices discovered by psychological research in the finding of individual differences and abilities; he must know the bearing upon the problem of race and national peculiarities, traditions, prejudices, and characteristics; he must know the influence of home and social settings and of previous experiences in determining motives, ambitions, and ideals; and he must know how to interpret those more or less elusive and intangible qualities that go to make up the thing we call personality. Thus to know people requires at least three factors: An intimate knowledge of the methods and values of making records and tests, together with their interpretation; a large background of experience in observing young people and workers in their work, in their homes, and in their social life; and a high degree of common sense or the ability to take the results of common observation and experience and from these to deduce quickly a valid judgment. This resulting judgment will seem to the casual observer a matter of intuition, but it is rather only the product of much knowledge, training, and experience reduced to terms by the instant and almost unconscious application of the expert.
Besides this crystalized experience, the counselor must be characterized by tact, decision, and unbounded human sympathy. He is to give advice, not orders. The candidate is to act as a free person, following counsel because of the appeal it makes to his ambition and sense of worth, not because of any sense of compulsion.
As a final qualification, I would add that of capacity for constructive research. Since human life, and notably vocational life, is in a state of constant change, the vocational counselor must be capable of making or of directing such lines of research and investigation as will insure his progressive familiarity with those changes to which adjustments of workers must be made. Furthermore, in our present state of poverty of knowledge relative to questions of fundamental importance in the classification of vocations and of the means for determining vocational aptitudes, the counselor will have the pressing
problem of initiating means of inquiry which will help to supply this much-needed information.
The relation of the counselor to the schools is of paramount importance. The needed changes revealed by his work must be wrought through the schools. When he looks at the conditions and needs of vocational life on the one hand and at the pitiable emptiness of the schools with reference to these needs on the other, his spirit must indeed be courageous and heroic, or it will shrink from a task that looks almost insuperable. Besides his own experiences, he reads in one of the most recent studies of the vocations entered by children between 14 and 16, based upon 4,386 St. Louis cases, that about 90 per cent entered unskilled occupations; about 7 per cent low-grade skilled occupations; and less than 3 per cent high-grade skilled occupations; that over 70 per cent of these children entered occupations demanding merely fetching and carrying-"blind alleys" in almost every case. Turning to the Massachusetts study of 1906, the New York study of 1911-12, the Cincinnati studies still in progress, the Philadelphia study of 1912-13, and to any others available, he finds this condition approximately true for the country at large. He reads that Charles H. Luddington, of the Curtis Publishing Co., Philadelphia, recently stated that:
Seventy-five applicants were interviewed for a recent vacancy in our typist force. At least 50 were obviously unfitted, and about 25 were tested before one competent worker was secured. To fill the position of correspondent, it is necessary for the Curtis Publishing Co. to interview from 10 to 50 persons; to find a stenographer, 15 to 25; a typist, 25 to 50; a high-grade clerk, 20 to 25; an ordinary clerk, 10 to 15. Whenever it is necessary to secure operators for our office appliances, which are generally used throughout the commercial world, we are obliged in 90 per cent of the cases to train them ourselves.
From these conditions in the vocations the counselor looks back to the schools. What are they doing about it all? Armies of children are dropping out, largely because the work makes no appeal of appreciable worth to them or their parents; occupations offering opportunity for growth and progress will not have them until they are 16. Counseling 100 children to enter vocations that will take but 3 is as foolish as it is vain; counseling them to go back to the schools from which they came is almost as foolish and usually quite as vain. To counsel the child to make the most of the occupation possible as a temporary measure and to take up part-time school work for entrance into an occupation that is more desirable when adequate maturity is reached appeals to the counselor as the most hopeful solution. But here arises the stone wall of ancient tradition, manned by the guns of academic schoolmasters and political boards of education. backed by a quiescent public opinion. The counselor realizes