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date and to complete the tale, it is necessary to add that the legislature, at its session in the spring of 1913, changed the statutes regarding school attendance and child labor in such a manner as practically to eliminate the field of the compulsory continuation school. The new law makes it necessary for boys to remain in school until their fifteenth birthday and girls until their sixteenth. This leaves subject to the old unchanged continuation-school law only those boys at work between 15 and 16 who have not finished the eighth grade. However, under an interpretation of the attorney general, which construes as valid all age and schooling certificates issued before the new law went into effect last August, all children thus at work and subject to the law are attending continuation classes. These, with the boys already referred to as now subject to compulsory attendance, are the pupils with whom the work described is carried on,
IV. HOW SHALL WE STUDY AN INDUSTRY FOR PURPOSES OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE?
A. HOW SHALL WE STUDY THE INDUSTRIES FOR THE PURPOSES OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION?
CHARLES R. RICHARDS,
Director of Cooper Union, New York City.
Of late years a large number of investigations or surveys have had for their purpose the development of data upon which to formulate measures of vocational education. The results obtained by many of these surveys have not seemed commensurate with their expense, nor, on occasions, with their pretensions. Their frequent weakness has been that the data obtained have not been of a nature capable of interpretation in definite educational terms. The present paper represents an attempt to present principles and lines of investigation that may be turned to immediate practical account. Its distinct purpose is to formulate lines of inquiry and enable data to be obtained upon which desirable relations of vocational instruction. to a community or an industry may be accurately determined.
If we analyze the relation of education to industrial workers, we are likely to find that in each industry there is one of three ways. by which the welfare of the workers in that particular industry may best be promoted: First, their industrial efficiency may be improved either as regards skill or technical knowledge; second, their general education may be extended; third, opportunities for physical and mental recreation and stimulation may be offered them, whereby the monotony of automatic tasks may be relieved and the narrowing or cramping influences surrounding the daily work may be neutralized.
It is evident that only the first of these divisions constitutes the field, in any strict sense, of vocational education. The other two lines may be equally valuable and important to the well-being of the workers under certain conditions, but they do not constitute in a strict sense vocational education. One is concerned with the extension of general education, perhaps under many conditions the most needed and helpful influence that can be brought to bear. The other represents a field of activities of great importance in large
numbers of factory and mill trades where the conditions are such that a combination of physically recreative and mentally stimulating experiences are the most important benefit that can be brought into the lives of young workers.
Before beginning any survey intended to develop a program of vocational instruction, it is evident that substantial indications should be present pointing to opportunities along the first division. Such evidence should indicate, first of all, that there is large need in the industries of the community under consideration for further skill or technical knowledge that can not be entirely supplied in commercial practice, and furthermore that this need is worth supplying. To be specific, we should know whether considerable difficulty exists in obtaining efficient workers; whether the industries represented are of sufficiently high grade to afford adequate employment that insures a fair standard of living. Besides these facts we should know certain things as to the general industrial situation in the community, such as the proportion of industrial workers to the total population; the status of the community and its social attitude toward industrial work; the situation as regards variety and concentration of industries; racial traditions as regards the use of the child as an income asset; the habit of the community in regard to the use of educational opportunities; whether the industries concerned represent on the whole healthful occupations; whether they represent on the whole industries that from the civic and social standpoint are desirable to encourage.
To obtain such an outlook might require a preliminary survey. If so, the methods and conclusions of such an inquiry should be based upon its particular purpose and should be thoroughly distinctive from investigations of the type to be hereafter considered, which aim to develop data to be used as a basis of a constructive program.
As a result of such a preliminary outlook upon the situation we should be able to determine roughly whether the prospects for the introduction of vocational education becoming a benefit to the community are such as to justify an intimate investigation of the community's industries.
Before attempting to formulate the lines of such an inquiry it may be well to point out that the propositions submitted are based upon the assumption that our main progress in vocational education is to be made by adapting instruction to the specific needs of different industries rather than by setting up general types of vocational instruction and inviting workers or would-be workers to conform thereto. This leads to the conclusion that an investigation that aims at direct constructive results from the educational side should address itself to the study of each of the important industries or types of industry represented in the community.
The first effort of such an investigation would then endeavor to ascertain whether the industrial efficiency of those engaged in any industry or those intending to enter the industry may be improved either as regards skill or technical knowledge. In order to develop the lines of such an inquiry, the following analysis may be of service:
In general there are two aspects to every industry: (a) The purely manipulative side, that is, skill or dexterity, which may be denoted by S; and (b) the technical side, consisting of knowledge or information, which may be called T. The efficiency of a worker may be expressed by the equation E=S+T. Different industries vary greatly as to the amount of these two elements needed to secure efficiency. The following different cases and intermediate conditions stand out:
(a) Both skill and knowledge are needed.
(b) Skill is needed, but not technical knowledge.
(c) Technical knowledge is needed, but not skill.
(d) Neither skill nor technical knowledge is needed except in a very low degree.
Not only does the need for the two elements vary greatly in the different industries, but the opportunities for acquiring either or both of these elements in commercial practice are a matter of great variation.
Under (a) we may have three sets of typical conditions: (1) In which the worker can obtain both skill and requisite technical knowlcdge in regular employment; (2) in which he can acquire skill, but not technical knowledge; (3) in which he can obtain technical knowledge, but not skill.
Under (b) there are represented two typical conditions: (1) In which the learner can obtain skill in regular practice; (2) in which he can not.
Under (c) likewise there are two typical conditions: (1) In which technical knowledge can be acquired; (2) in which it can not be obtained.
This classification represents extreme typical conditions, between which are to be found intermediate stages.
From this analysis follows the first line of the proposed inquiry: 1. Is skill or technical knowledge, or both, needed for efficiency and progress in the industry?
If so, (a) can skill be obtained under conditions of regular employment? and (b) can technical knowledge required be so obtained?
As a result of these lines of inquiry it would be found, for example, that both skill and technical knowledge are needed in the industry. It would also be found, however, that in many industries under usual conditions the requisite skill may be obtained in practical work, but
that the technical knowledge required for progress and full efficiency may not be readily obtained. This would indicate that in such industries organized school instruction along technical lines may be of service. Again, it would develop that skill represents the important element in efficiency and that technical knowledge is of small account. In many industries the requisite skill can not be obtained under usual conditions of actual practice. Here again it is indicated that the school may have a possible place in the training on the manipulative side.
Further to determine the exact needs of school instruction, the following lines of inquiry are desirable:
2. Opportunities represented by the industry-Opportunity as shown by (a) relative number of persons employed in the upper and in the lower stages of the industry; (b) average wages in the upper and in the lower grades; (c) proportion of new employees each year as compared to the total number of employees; (d) intermittence or steadiness of the industry; (e) number of departments or kinds of work represented in the industry.
3. Ways in which the industry is recruited.-Recruiting as shown under the following conditions: (a) Difficulty experienced in obtaining efficient workers. (b) How are high-grade workers recruited, by promotions from below or by direct employment? (c) Are untrained beginners wanted by employers? (d) Different ways in which beginners enter the occupation. (e) Average wage at which beginners enter the occupation; preferred age from employers' standpoint. (f) Percentage of those between 14 and 16 years of age entering during one year. (g) Percentage of those between 16 and 18 years of age entering during one year. (h) Average amount of general school training represented by beginners. (i) Are the wages small at first, growing slowly to high, or are they comparatively large at first but with small rate of increase? (j) Percentage of beginners leaving in the space of one year. (k) Percentage remaining in low-paid work at end of six years. (7) Percentage advanced to skilled or responsible work at higher wages at end of six years.
4. In what ways do workers obtain training?—(a) Have all beginners opportunities to learn more than one operation or kind of work? (b) Are there opportunities later on for those showing ability to change from one department to another? (c) Is the occupation open at the top for all beginners with requisite ability? (d) Does the worker receive any instruction or training from the employer? (e) Is there an apprenticeship system? (f) What percentage of all young beginners are apprenticed?
5. Qualities demanded in a worker.-Strength, endurance, intelligence, quickness, accuracy, dexterity, carefulness, artistic feeling.