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A.—THE ROUND TABLE QUESTION BOX.
Presiding Officer, Prof. J. M. TELLEEN,
Case School of Applied Sciences, Cleveland, Ohio.
Question 1.-What should be the relation of vocational guidance to employment agencies?
MR. HENRY D. HATCH, Chicago: In this country we have very much to learn from Edinburgh, Scotland. In that city there is a very vital connection between the educational information department, which practically works out the vocational adjustment problem, and the employment department.
Under the Parliamentary act of 1910 it was made possible for boards of education to expend public funds in Scotland, and later in England, for the establishment of vocation bureaus. Afterwards the board of trade labor exchange made it possible to establish juvenile departments, and now throughout Great Britain and Ireland three different forms of cooperation exist. In my judgment the type found in Edinburgh is the wisest, where there is a combination of both functions, the juvenile department of the board of trade labor exchange and the educational information department in the board of education offices, both under board of education supervision and direct control.
MISS LILLIAN KANE, Hartford, Conn.: I wish to speak of the special problem of placement from my experience in Hartford. When I went to Hartford to start vocational guidance work there was no vocational education at all. The children were leaving school by the thousands between the ages of 14 and 16 and entering any industry they happened to find. We found by investigating in Hartford that placement is needed for children between the ages of 14 and 16. Vocational guidance is too loose a scheme; that is, you can advise a child to enter a vocation, but you must define exactly the place for him to get the right guidance. Placement work is necessary, but it can not be done legitimately by the public-school system until there is a thoroughgoing system of continuation schools.
CHAIRMAN TELLEEN: There is a rather interesting phase in the city of Cleveland, where they have made provisions for an employment bureau in connection with which vocational guidance will be taken up. It is felt that vocational guidance must necessarily go hand in hand with the employment or placement.
MR. GUSTAV BLUMENTHAL, Washington, D. C.: An employment agency can not have much to do at present with vocational guidance. Most of the vocational agencies which the Young Men's Christian Association has started in Buffalo, Minneapolis, and New York have to do altogether with boys who have already been through school.
Vocational guidance should have its start in the schools before the children attain the age of 14 years and require employment. For the last three years I have practiced in America a kind of vocational employment work, but it was not actually to find positions for people; it was rather to size up what they were
actually capable of doing. We have recently started a vocational bureau in Washington, D. C. The chamber of commerce, the board of trade, and the manufacturers' association have no other purpose in this enterprise than to find work for high-school boys and girls in Washington when they leave school.
MR. EDWIN G. COOLEY, Chicago: They have a most practical bureau in the city of Edinburgh. In the building on Castle Terrace the organizer of continuation schools has his own office, and in the next room the man at the head of the labor bureau has his office, and this serves as a clearing house for the employment of youthful people in the city of Edinburgh. The educational organizer receives from men and women in charge of schools a list of those who are going to be free at the end of the year to seek employment under the law, being 14 years of age. He knows whether they are going to stay in school or whether they are going out. If they are going to leave, they are reported to this organizer of the continuation schools. Information is filed with him about these boys and girls as to their physical and mental characteristicswhether their eyes are good, whether their lungs are good, whether they are stupid or intelligent, industrious or lazy. Any general information that can be made available is all at hand in this organizer's office.
On the other side of the doorway is the application of the employer stating what he wants-a carpenter's apprentice, a plumber's apprentice, or whatever it may be.
It is the duty of this organizer each year, shortly before the close of the schools, to call the students in with their parents for a meeting, at which he, the teachers, the parents, and the members of a special committee appointed by the board of education, representing various trades, all talk with these boys and girls, to ascertain what wages are paid and how many positions there are to fill. Then, before the close of the year, the students make their applications to the educational organizer, stating what they would like to do. On the other side of that application is placed the information as to what is available. The work is carried on in a very systematic and careful manner. As soon as a boy or a girl enters upon employment, the continuation school organizer knows it; the child is called in; and full information is obtained concerning his employment. The system is working admirably in the city of Edinburgh.
Question 2.-At what period of the school work should vocational guidance be begun?
Mr. JESSE B. DAVIS, Grand Rapids: It just happens that we begin with the seventh grade in Grand Rapids. That does not mean that we believe that this is the place where it necessarily should be begun. We have not tried to get at it from that point of view. It is a matter of evolution. We began the work in the high school and have worked it back to this point, and as so much of our work is in a condition of experimentation, this is about the only answer I can make to the question. In other words, so far as this formal study of the problem on the part of the pupil is concerned, we feel that the seventh grade is about as early as it is practicable; but others may have had experience in beginning it before the seventh grade.
There is some work in broadening the vision of the pupils that might perhaps be done earlier-industrial excursions, or something of that sort; but so far we have not attempted to do anything by way of formal instruction earlier than the seventh grade.
MRS. WILLS, Hartford, Conn.: In the State of Connecticut nearly 70 per cent of the children have left school by the end of the sixth grade. Therefore, if you begin vocational guidance in the seventh grade, it would only
touch a few of the children who leave school at the age of 14 to go to work. We think, in Hartford, that vocational guidance should begin just as early as possible.
Perhaps I do not understand what some of you mean by vocational guidance in the lower grades of school, but to me it would mean the study of aptitudes, such as the teacher can make from daily association with the child. Possibly an illustration would be of more interest. I know of a little apprenticeship school for machinists in a small town in Connecticut, where they take boys in at the age of 16; and the director of that school told me that within three months 40 per cent of the boys are discharged as not having the aptitude for becoming expert machinists. There the special requirement is that a boy should have the correct eye for proportion and direction. Without that qualification he can never be an expert machinist. As I say, the director informed me that the boys go in at the age of 16 and that 40 per cent of them are found to be misfits. Now, that should be found out by the teacher in the school long before the child is 14 years of age. To me what is meant by vocational guidance is the study of aptitude.
MR. F. P. GOODWIN, Cincinnati: A few of us in Cincinnati have been considering the advisability of trying something in the way of vocational guidance with that class of pupils whom we may call prevocationists—those pupils who perhaps are behind in their course, whom we are already putting or expect to put in prevocational work, largely manual in character, and who will spend at least half of their time in school and the other half in employment. We have not attempted this yet, but we have come to believe, as has just been said, that a good deal could be done through the study of aptitude.
I am willing to go further as a suggestion for an experiment and to urge that a considerable body of information should be given pupils of that class concerning the various trades which may be open to them, so that the child himself will be giving some consideration to the question of what his life career shall be. I should add in that connection that in my judgment there should be a strong contrast in the child's mind between the two classes of occupations he may enter the blind-alley trade and the trade which opens up a career instead of simply a fair living at the beginning.
MR. HENRY D. HATCH, Chicago. Two points occur to me in this connectionone as to the relation of the charts which Dr. Ayres has exhibited' and the other in connection with what has just been said. Dr. Ayres very distinctly showed that the sixth grade and those below it contain half of the pupils who leave school. If you begin in the seventh grade to look after the vocational adjustment problems of these children you leave more than half of them out of any consideration whatever, and perhaps you leave out of consideration that half which is most in need of your help, because the circumstances of those who go on with their school work are much more favorable to their life outlook than are the circumstances of those who have dropped by the wayside in these lower grades.
Now, just a word again supplementing what Mr. Cooley has said and adding further to what I suggested in reference to Edinburgh. It is a part of their plan there that when the child is 12 years of age, or when he has reached the sixth standard, corresponding fairly well to our sixth grade, the parents are taken into a heart-to-heart talk with the school authorities as to the outlook for future school attendance on the part of the child. If it is the outlook of the child that he may go on into the higher-grade schools, having completed
1 See p. 27f, for the data on which these charts were based.
the sixth standard, for a two-year course, or a three-year course, or a five-year course, leading eventually to a certificate to the university, then his way is clear through the regular courses that have been in operation for a number of years; but if it is the forecast of the parents that that child must leave school at 14, then it is the thought and arrangement of the school authorities in Edinburgh to care very carefully for the child during these next two years, between the age of 12 and 14, in what are known as the supplementary courses in the regular day school, courses which form the first foundation of the continuation school for those that do not get a chance to accomplish this work before they leave school.
MR. HENDERSON, Hammond, Ind.: It seems to me self-evident, if we are to give the child vocational guidance, that we must give it to the child while we have him and not after he is gone. If practically 70 per cent of the children leave school at the end of the sixth grade, we must get in ahead of that time.
It does not seem to me, however, that we should accept this condition as at all needful, that of a boy leaving school in the sixth grade at 14 years of age, or about two years retarded. We had better devote our attention to getting that boy past the sixth grade at the age of 14. If 70 per cent of the children leave school at the sixth grade, we would have to begin at the fourth grade. That does not seem to me to be needful at all. We as instructors should see to it that those children get beyond the sixth grade at the age of 14. Question 3.-What methods and agencies are needed for advising school children with a view to securing the training indicated by vocational guidance?
MISS ANNE DAVIS, Chicago: We started to work in Chicago a little over three years ago with a private organization entirely outside of schools. It started under the supervision of the School of Civics and Philanthropy, being assigned to the research department of that school. They were making an interesting study at that time of truant children who were coming out of the grammar schools, with no one to guide them or lead them into any beginning jobs; and in following up the children they found the majority of them landed sooner or later in the juvenile court as delinquent boys and girls. They began making a study of some of the industries and some of the jobs open to boys between the ages of 14 and 16; and after a few months of experimental work they began studying some of the occupations and industries open to girls in the city of Chicago between the ages of 14 and 16. For nearly two years we worked entirely outside of the schools. The result was the children that came to us were children that had been out of school for some time. They were children who had had anywhere from one to eight or nine jobs; they had drifted from one blind-alley occupation to another; and the result was that there was very little we could do for them in the way of vocational guidance. Some of them had worked on automatic machines; they could not see, and we could not make them see, that it was worth while to enter a trade as an apprentice at $5 or $6 a week, when they could earn $8 or $9 or $10 a week on an automatic machine. For that reason, as I say, the result was that we could do very little for these boys and girls.
We saw, therefore, that the work ought to be done in the schools; that we ought to catch these children before their working certificates were issued and before they had a chance to get into any kind of employment.
In March of this year (1913), Mrs. Young and the board of education very kindly consented to give us office space in the board of education headquarters. Notices were sent out to the principals asking their cooperation and asking also if they would be willing to send children to us before they issued their working