Appendix 30: Notes on the Home Workshop Movement
The Boy's Busy Book (1927) develops the idea of helping the boy with a home workshop to obtain "a tool knowledge and a resourcefulness", both to support him in his shopwork in school, and to stimulate within him the creative instinct.
The book begins with suggestions for establishing a simple workshop and a description of various items of equipment, some of which can be made by the boy. This is followed by instruction in the care and use of tools and the making and repairing of many and various objects....
The Boy's Busy Book. By Chelsea Fraser. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1927.
Motives for Promoting a Home Workshop Movement
In large part, until post-WW II (approx 1950) many problems associated with education in America focus on school dropout rates.
Depressing Statistics: Rate of School Dropouts, Rates of Child Labor
In 1917, statistics from the United States Commissioner of Education show that every year one million boys and girls fourteen and fifteen years of age leave school to go to work.
The 1910 census show the total number of boys and girls fourteen and fifteen years of age as 3,569,347. Of these, 1,094,249 were employed.
The same census showed nearly a million children under fourteen years of age employed in states where child labor legislation had not been passed or was not being enforced.
For Vaughn and Mays, page 10-11: "The passage of wise legislation governing child labor has undoubtedly changed this situation very materially."
As exhaustively set forth by Lawrence A Cremin in "Child Saving and Social Service Agencies", Chapter 6 of American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 1876-1980 New York: Harper and Row, 1961, especially pages 304-314, by the end of World War I that so-called "wise legislation" -- and with more effective enforcement of child labor and compulsory attendance laws were enforced more effectively -- secondary school enrollments rose from 1,115,000 in 1910, to 2,500,000 in 1920, to 4,812,000 in 1930. (Unfortunately, Cremin's book is not online in fulltext format.)
In 1919, the United States Children's Bureau issued this report:
The Literacy of the Working Boys and Girls Between Age Fourteen and Sixteen in Five States That Employ Children
In the report,
"Of the total of 19,696 children [in five states], one-fourth could neither read their names nor write them legibly..."
Read more in this source: Suffer the Little Children: Two Children's Bureau Bulletins - Page 39 by United States Children's Bureau, Leon Stein, Viola Isabel Paradise Published by Ayer Publishing, 1977.
The Home Workshop Movement Spawned the National Home Workshop Guild
The first signs of an organizing of woodworking enthusiasts appeared in 1933-34. So far I haven't found anything before this date. If hobbyist woodworking occurred before the 1930s, the driving motive was individual choice, not group activity. See Document 2: A L Hall Workshop at Home 1908.
The National Homeworkshop Guild was formed during the Depression, guided by Arthur Wakeling, homeworkshop editor at Popular Science, and I've found traces of evidence that the National Recovery Act was also involved. By the mid-30s, some 500 chapters of the NHWG existed across North America.
Details are briefly given month by month in issues of PS, but unfortunately not indexed in the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, the only index of the time that covers popular magazines, and then only selectively.
"Selectively" is the operative word, because while I use the RG database online a lot, news of events like the formation of the NHWG are not indexed. Instead I discovered this Depression-era movement, more-or-less accidentally, when perusing bibliographies of master's these done in the 1930s. One university library in Iowa is a goldmine!
I have yet to find the smoking gun evidence, but I believe now the motives for the formation of the NHWG come from reactions by Industrial Arts teachers, woodworking, primarily, but other technologies as well -- to the declining enrollments for woodworking courses in the era leading up to and during WW I.
Part of the Industrial Revolution, this enrollment decline was caused by the impact of mass production upon manufacturing processes mucking up the old apprenticeship programs. That is, if manufacturers could hire untrained workers off the street, the long term apprenticeships were no longer needed. Hence the decline in enrollment in woodworking courses.
Below is an actual account of one Industrial Arts teacher -- Orville Arthur Oaks -- recalling an event in 1935, in "Hobbies ... ", Industrial Education Magazine 37, 1935 page 185:
THE NATIONAL HOMEWORK GUILD
On Saturday, March 30, 1935, one of my former shop boys who now has a workshop of his own, invited me to attend an exhibit of the National Homeworkshop Guild in Chicago, occupying the top floor of the immense building , a hardware manufacturer and wholesaler. The Guild was started two or three years ago, in Rockford, as a local attempt to engage some of the unemployed, who had some talent and some home workshop equipment, in making toys for the charity organizations.
The idea worked so well that the aid of a popular magazine was enlisted in the establishment of a proposed chain of about 20 Guild units during 1934-35. When the season ended, 156 clubs had been set up!
The exhibit in Chicago was undertaken as an experiment to "pep" up the interest of club members. A few prizes were announced, but no one knew what to expect in the way of exhibits. To the consternation of everyone, there were over 1500 pieces of homecraft work on display, with 456 exhibitors.
The pieces displayed included woodwork, metalwork, home-made tools and appliances, stagecraft models, examples of fine woodcarving, and other items too numerous and diverse to describe. The oldest exhibitor was 71 years of age; the youngest, 16 years; the average age, 36 years. Who shall say there is no demand for hobbies to fill up leisure time?
I spent five hours roaming through the exhibit, inspecting the wonderful things that had been created in those hundreds of home workshops. There were objects of beauty, and sometimes of bad taste—even of ugliness, it may be. But, think what it meant to all those people who made these things.
See also Document 12: The formation of the National Home Workshop Guild 1933
Apprenticeship in America
Early after Colonial America's founding, the European Guild system of labor oragnization is transferred to North America, but the system never really is a good fit. Chapter 1: 1900 and Before 1:4:-- Hand tools vs power tools
In this turn-of-the-century encyclopedia article, a leading figure in IA circles, Columbia University professor, Charles Richards, poignantly captures the malady of apprenticeship in America:
Since the term "apprentice" is loosely used to designate almost any shop learner or employee below the journeyman, it is important to point out that fundamental to true apprenticeship is the indenture, a legal instrument, in the terms of the laws of New York, "whereby a minor is bound out to serve as a clerk or servant in any trade, profession, or employment, or is apprenticed to learn the art or mystery of any trade or craft."
An indenture implies mutual obligation of service in preparation for a definite occupation, and apprenticeship is therefore a sharply defined and strictly limited type of vocational education...
At no time has apprenticeship failed to have some footing in the United States. The old form, reaching its maximum in the early nineteenth century, steadily waned as the factory system grew, and, while still existent, has been of little importance since the Civil War. The new form, having its rise in the exigencies of certain industries, has been steadily making way, during the last fifty years, against indifference and prejudice, until to-day it finds itself one of the major means through which the fast growing demand for adequate vocational education seems likely to be met."Not only herein the United States is the apprenticeship system in process of being resuscitated along expansive lines, in order to meet modern conditions of production in great manufacturing establishments, but many countries in Europe have for some years been perfecting this process, coordinating the apprenticeship system with general trade and industrial instruction." Source: Carroll Wright, The Apprentice System, p. 19; Wright's report is not online, but read more here, a 1921 book by Paul Douglas, American Aprenticeship and Industrial Education; a 1986 book by W J Rorabaugh, The Craft Apprentince: From Franklin to the Machine Age in America, new york, 1986; and Bruce Laurie, Artisans into Workers: Labor in 19th Century America, 1989
The apprenticeship of colonial days and of the earlier years of the national existence was that of the Old World, and exhibited like advantages and evils. Among the advantages was the direct association of the inexperienced youth with the skilled master versed in his special trade and imparting all its practical details to the apprentice. Where the master was not only efficient, but conscientious, the apprentice doubtless secured the best possible acquaintance with the ramifications of the trade. Domestic intercourse with such a type of master was also of high educational value. On the other hand, the length of the indenture usually seven years, or until the apprentice came of age was then, as it would be to-day, altogether too great. Consequently, a large part of the time of the apprentice was necessarily given to matters in no way connected with the industry itself. He was employed in sweeping out the shop, taking care of the horses and wagons, doing household chores, and running errands for all the members of the master's family.
A typical example given by Mr. E. P. Bullard, Jr., in an address before the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education outlines the duties of an apprentice bound to a coach-lamp maker:"He had to get up out of bed at half-past four in the morning, sweep out the shop, then build the kitchen fires for the lady in the house, had to sweep the house afterwards and do any other work around the house that was required, had to take care of the old man's horses, and along in the afternoon, sometimes, not always, he bad an opportunity to go and see how they made coach-lamps."
The indentures were often strongly obligatory on the side of the apprentices, but not so on the side of the master.
Source: Charles Richards et al, "Apprenticeship and Education", Paul Monroe, ed., Cyclopedia of Education, v 1, Macmillan, 1911, pages 156-161.Read more here, pages 156-161
The Problem of School Drop Outs
In the box below are two images -- a cover of a "report" and a fragment of a page -- from several United States Children's Bureau reports: -- check out this almost-900 page volume here)
... Nearly one-tenth of [the children] had left school without completing the first grade; half had left in the fourth grade or lower; while only 3-percent of them had reached the eighth grade.
Sources: Samuel J Vaughn and Arthur B Mays, Content and Methods of the Industrial Arts New York: The Century Co, 1924, pages 10-11; Lawrence Cremin,The Transformation of the Schools, 1876-1957 New York: Knopf, 1961, pages 304-314.
Reference Source: Sandy Hobbs, Jim McKechnie, and Michael Lavalette, Child Labor: A World History Companion
Alleged "Defects" in Industrial Arts Programs
To protect their enrollments in industrial educaton courses, IA instructors came up with the idea of encouraging their students to develop workshops at home. The movement started in the 1920s, and -- ever so slowly -- this homeworkshop movement evidently - in today's cliché - "had legs" -- because it resulted in a cadre of young men - schooled in the 1920s -- who had been given a taste for what rewards amateur woodworking has, primarily giving personal pleasure in creating useful objects, and who had workshop space in their homes. In the 1930s, this enthusiasm translated in the NHWG..
The boxed text below contains part of a statement by Professor Emanuel E Ericson, California State University, Santa Barbara, CA , January, 1926, voicing his concern about a "defect" in IA courses designed for Junior High School boys:
The apparent assumption that every junior high school boy is likely to become a tradesman, and the organization of the shop curriculum almost entirely on the prevocational or semi-vocational basis may not best serve the average youth.
There appears to be a lack of correlation in our large junior high schools between the various types of short-unit subjects required of the individual, and probably too little cooperation and understanding between the highly specialized individuals who teach these subjects.
Exclusion, particularly in larger school systems, of activities and operations which do not fall distinctly under one of the five or six accepted unit shop subjects leaves the student deprived of those experiences which may be of more future usefulness to him than his participation in formal, classified trade processes.
A lack of connection between present personal and home needs of the individual with the work he is required to do in school is often evident. Boys in many classes are too young to see the trade application of the work and no other motive is furnished.
Overstressing trade methods below the high school by teachers who have extensive industrial and trade training, and who have the strictly vocational education viewpoint, and no other, is often a drawback in industrial arts teaching. Correct methods of working are not without flexibility and can be used without placing production in the place of instruction and making of the instructor a shop foreman instead of a teacher.
Time was when a cry for more equipment was in order. Now it may be questioned whether cannot be used for industrial arts work. Is not mechanical activity more than equipment, and manual dexterity more than manipulation of machines? Are we producing machine operators, or are we endeavoring to develop initiative and ability in the use of tools.
There is a lack of an organized program governing the planning of courses, subject matter and teaching procedure in such a way that the boy shall pass through a definite series of predetermine activity during his school career.
There is also a lack of a system of comprehensive records of actual progress made by the individual during all of his experiences in school, home, Boy Scout activities, employment, and so on, in order that his experiences may be consciously guided in school to cover a certain desirable variety of problems and processes.
Source: Emanuel Ericson, "Defects in Industrial Arts Program", Industrial Education Magazine January, 1926, page 256.
In 1930, Ericson authored a well-received textbook, Teaching Problems in Industrial Arts, that went through at least 5 editons , the last one evidently in 1976. In Google print there is quite a few hits, but none are online in full text version.
The Project Method As Critical Thinking, or "What Project Method Should Be Taken To Mean"
In the first half of the 20th-century, the Project Method is, according to educators James F Hosic and Sara E Chase, first of all, “a method of living”. In the second half of the 20th-century, more likely, we will call the Project Method a “lifestyle”. Why? Because “Life itself is full of projects”. The moment we face a situation to some degree out-of-the-ordinary, we need to make a conscious adjustment.
And, say Hosic and Chase,we do so with more or less of intelligence, more or less of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and more or less of perception of what we do, why we do it, whether it succeeds or fails, and the reason for this.
Speaking about his experieces as a young boy, Hosic says,When I was a boy, I lived on the farm and in the midst of emergencies. On one occasion a hind wheel of the wagon gave way miles from home or the nearest shop. Fortunately the wagon box was empty. We fell back on the Indian method, secured a pole, placed it under the axle, fastened one end under the wagon, permitted the other to drag on the ground, and so proceeded homeward. The difficulty was overcome, and I personally learned to some extent how to meet that emergency as well as any similar one.
The authors gives us another example:
Image Source: Clarence Budington Kelland, 1881-1964, The American Boy's Workshop Philadelphia: D. McKay, 1914, page 83.
A six-year-old boy wished to make a wheelbarrow. He hunted up a small wheel which he had seen in the attic and tried to fasten this to some wooden boxes which were among his playthings. He thought that the wheel was too small for one box but decided that it fitted another very well. He studied his father's wheelbarrow to see how the wheel was placed.
He tried one or two similar modes of attachment on his box. The result was somewhat unsatisfactory because he was not skillful with hammer and nails, and because he could not analyze the weakness of his efforts.
A wise father discussed the matter of the attachment with him and suggested one or two ways that he might try in order to see if they would result in improvement. The boy followed one of the suggestions and fastened the wheel securely. He nailed two handles to the sides of the box which formed the body of the wheelbarrow; and he was much pleased with the result until he tried to use it for carrying wood and found that the handles were too short.
After considerable search he found a stick that was right in diameter and long enough to make two satisfactory handles. He wished to saw this into two pieces of equal length, but he did not know how to find the middle point. After thirty minutes of concentrated attention and experimentation, he decided that if the stick were a string he could get the middle point. He found a string, cut it to the exact length of the stick, folded it to get the middle, and used this as a measuring tape to find the middle of the stick. In a few moments he had a wheelbarrow which meant so much to him that he wished to take it -- not the new bicycle that had been given to him that day -- to show to his grandmother who lived a few streets away. That night the boy asked his father how he would have found out where to cut the stick in order to get two equal pieces, and his father showed him the use of a yardstick.
The boy had learned something by the project method. He had a purpose which led him to plan and execute for the realization of that purpose, and he judged his planning and his executing, as you and I do every day, by the satisfaction found in the results.
The term Project Method may therefore be properly applied also to learning. In today's academic vocabulary, it means applying “critical thinking”. Whatever it is called, say Hosic and Chase,It is a name for what happens when an individual, or a group, sets about accomplishing a purpose, and in carrying it out brings about changes in his (or their) knowledges, skills, habits, or attitudes. If the undertaking is worthy and the changes are desirable we call the activity educative in the narrower and better sense of that word. We should recognize, however, the distinction between desirable and undesirable projects. Thieves, for instance, become clever through attempting and carrying out projects, and it is their success which confirms them in their evil occupations.
Source: James F. Hosic and Sara E. Chase, Brief Guide To The Project Method Yonkers-On-Hudson, NY: World Book Company, 1926, pages 3-5.
Again, the Project Method as Critical Thinking
First, by the "project method", we are witnessing turn-of-the-century attempts by John Dewey and his contemporary associates to inject into the curriculum of the era what today is called "critical thinking". That this attempt is a struggle is obvious, because a "translation" is required from the John Alford Stevenson text before the gist of the "thinking" can be understood.
However, an article -- "The Project Method: The Use of the Purposeful Act in the Educative Process " -- by the Columbia University professor, William Heard Kilpatrick, is responsible for creating the interested concern --link to full text online --
In the spring of 1918 Kilpatrick set out to prepare an essay called "The Project Method," a theoretical analysis setting "the purposeful act" at the heart of the educative process. He suffered the tortures of the damned in drafting it, finding that in addition to his usual difficulties in writing, he was consumed with discouragement and doubt about his enterprise.
The article appeared the following September in the Teachers College Record and literally catapulted him to national and international fame. Over 60,000 reprints were destined to circulate during the next twenty-five years.
Kilpatrick's effort in his celebrated essay was to present "wholehearted purposeful activity proceeding in a social environment" -- his formal definition of the project -- as a pedagogical principle capable of reconciling Thorndike's connectionism with the Deweyan view of education. By emphasizing purposeful activity, activity consonant with the child's own goals, he sought to take maximum account of Thorndike's law of effect, thereby enhancing both direct and concomitant learning. And by locating this activity in a social environment he believed he could facilitate certain ethical outcomes, since moral character was for him "the disposition to determine one's conduct and attitudes with reference to the welfare of the group." In a curriculum reorganized as a succession of projects he saw the best guarantee of sharpened intellectual acumen and enhanced moral judgment.
"The regime of purposeful activity offers ... a wider variety of educative moral experiences more nearly typical of life itself than does our usual school procedure, lends itself better to the educative evaluation of these, and provides better for the fixing of all as permanent acquisitions in the intelligent moral character."
Source: adapted from Lawrence Cremin, The Transformation of the Schools, 1876-1957 New York: Knopf, page 216-220
According to Michael Knoll,
The project method is one of the standard teaching methods. It is generally considered a means by which students can (a) develop independence and responsibility, and (b) practice social and democratic modes of behavior.
The project method is a genuine product of the American progressive education movement. It was described in detail and definitively delimited for the first time by William Heard Kilpatrick in his essay, "The Project Method," which became known worldwide (Church and Sedlak, 1976; Cremin, 1961; Kilpatrick, 1918; Röhrs, 1977).
A project is "a problematic act carried to completion in its natural setting".
In this definition note that:
(a) implied is that a particlar "act" is completed, rather than simply a "passive absorption of information";
(b) "reasoning" is required, "rather than merely the memorizing of information";
Source: Adapted from John Alford Stevenson, The Project Method of Teaching New York: Macmillan, 1921, pages 42-45.
The Origins of the Project Method in Dispute
The origins of the project method is a subject of revisionist scholarship. Gary E. Moore (1988) locates the concept in the thought of the agricultural scientist and educator, Rufus Stimson. Michael Knoll, Journal of Technology Education (1997) at the University of Bayreuth claims that the roots of the project method are much older, tracing back to 1590, in the architectural schools of Renaissance.
"THE PROJECT:-- SINNING AND SINNED AGAINST"
L. L. Jackson, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Montclair, N. J.
The project-method foreshadows the practice of teaching through types, today often identified as teaching/learning through "analogy", i.e., the Project Method is a form of learning through personal investigation.
For example, in history, the learner seeking to obtain a concept of a "statesman" will choose to study a few typical statesmen rather than from "a composite of the biographies of all the statesmen of Europe, Asia, and the Americas".
Likewise, to understand the qualities of hardwood, rather than from a formal study of many varieties, draw conclusions about the nature of hardwood from a study of several typical specimens.
Educational Criteria for Project Method of Teaching/Learning
Educational criteria for project method of teaching/learning falls into three major categories:
The focus of the first educational criterion - ie , involving both teaching by the instructor and learning by the student components -- is where the student
(a) seeks the materials most suited to his project;
(b) passes judgment on several kinds of wood,
(c) notes the different methods of construction, and
(c) evaluates types of finish.
(Few pupils have sufficient information to make this decision until they have made a study of the problem.)
The second standard of good teaching/learning provides
(a) the exercise of judgment,
(b) the motive for gaining a fund of useful information,
(c) enlist the service and co-operation of the student's physical and mental powers.
The third educational test includesexercising a capacity for organization and assembling of the parts according to the specifications governing the design.
Employing sound pedagogical methods - an activity the requires special preparation by teacher -- creates the opportunities for the exercise of the desirable mental activities.
For critics apt to conclude that project-teaching is inconsistent with the requirements for information-getting, Jackson says that
The probable answer to all this is two-fold:First, right habits of thought are more important than most information, and
second, most curricula consist of a minority of important information and a majority of secondary information.
Furthermore, it is now generally conceded that education is not chiefly concerned with technical knowledge and technical skill except in the strictly vocational field.
Sources: Industrial arts & vocational education 7, no 4 April , 1918 , pages 138-139Supplement this definition with Kilpatrick's "THE PROJECT METHOD The Use of the Purposeful Act in the Educative Process", a small book online, and/or John Alford Stevenson's The Project Method of Teaching New York, The Macmillan Company, 1921.
Rhetorically, M L Roark asks, "Is the Project method a contribution", in his January 1925 article in the Peabody Journal Of Education, v 2, no 4, pp 197-204.
Among other evidence, the quality of education in the era left much to be desired:Report of the Massachusetts Commission on Industrial and Technical Education, but the link above -- to an issue of the Manual Training Magazine -- leads to a good summary and selected passages; the box below has a fragment:
The Commission discovered thousands of children between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, out of school, out of work, or working at lowpaying, dead-end jobs, a problem to themselves and the community, "the most important question which faces the educational world today."
Source: Columbia University, Teachers College, Educational Reprints, No. 1, Report of the Massachusetts Commission on Industrial and Technical Education (New York, 1906), pp. 25, 30-31.]Read more here.
The Home Workshop Movement's Origins
Unraveling and sorting out how the homeworkshop movement emerged tests an investigator's skills. But while the evidence is sketchy and scattered, things are coming together. For example, the founding father of the Project method is said to be Rufus S Stimson, a pioneer in American agriculture education, William Kilpatrick, John Dewey's colleague at Columbia University, and author of the oft-cited The Project Method: The Use of the Purposeful Act in the Educative Process; see the online paper, "Where Are You When We Need You, Rufus W. Stimson", by Gary E. Moore.
Moore 's Stimson paper was first presented to the National Agricultural Education Research Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, December 1985. This was later published as an article in The Journal of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, 1988, 29 (3), pages 50-58. The article's title "The Forgotten Leader in Agricultural Education: Rufus W. Stimson."William james connection -see more in Thayer 1928 - also the 1935 William H., Kilpatrick, ed. The Educational Frontier. New York and London : Century, 1933. 325 p. Reprint. Arno Press, 1970.)
An account of the evolution of the project method is in Vivian Trow Thayer's The Passing of the Recitation (1928). (ordered amazon 10/05/13) Thayer, a noted educational philosopher, wrote several important books during the first half of the 20th-century. A contemporary of Kilpatrick, he collaborated with Kilpatrick, Dewey, Bode, and others to write The Educational Frontier .which was edited by Kilpatrick in 1933. In The Passing of the Recitation Thayer (page 229) writes: Some twenty years ago R. W. Stimson, at the time a representative of the Massachusetts Board of Education, devised a plan for revitalizing the teaching of agriculture in the vocational high schools of Massachusetts . . . . What Mr. Stimson proposed to do was to supplement the regular class work of the school with home projects. Thus in the Smith Agricultural High School at Northampton a trained teacher was employed for the summer months of 1908 to assist and direct boys in selecting and carrying on appropriate home tasks, which tasks should involve the concrete application of principles already learned in the school.- This plan was successful from the start. Consequently, in 1911, the Massachusetts Legislature agreed to pay two-thirds of the salary of specially qualified teachers whom a selected list of high schools might employ. In this action Massachusetts set the standard for a new departure in vocational education.
W Wilbur Hatfield, "The Creative Impulse", The English Journal 8, no 2 February, 1919, pages 139-140
The Creative Impulse in Industry. By Helen Marot . New York : E. P. Dutton, 1918.
A neglected aspect of living has been brought sharply to the fore by Helen Marot in her slender volume on the Creative Impulse.1 Her surprisingly simple thesis-many find it simply surprising, too-runs something like this:
Work is not educative unless the worker is interested in producing rather than in acquiring economic goods. Such interest is possible only when the worker shares the responsibility
(1) for choosing the object to be produced,
(2) for planning the production, and
(3) for executing the plan-actual producing.
Adventure, experiment, finding out for one's self, not blindly following the directions of another, is the essence of the intellectual life and the best part of freedom. This sharing of responsibility is denied the mass of workers by our present system of managing industry for profit. Machines and scientific management have concentrated all responsibility in the hands of the management. Two bad results follow:
(1) The life of the ordinary worker is straitened, whereas it should be broadened by his work.
(2) The warmth of interest gone, the worker shrinks back into himself and applies only a small fraction of his potential energy to the business of production, so that our total production is much less than it should be. In other words, our present methods of production tend to make the worker a mere attachment of a machine, much less valuable both to himself and to his employer than the vivid personality he might be.
Miss Marot goes on to show that our industrial schools have much the same effect as the factories. They too often treat the methods of production as already settled and perfected and needing only to be learned and minutely followed by the learner. She even hints that our ordinary high schools have been guilty of this sin of making the eager youth into a mere cog in our social and economic machine.
The remedy? It scarcely needs statement. Restore to the employee and to the pupil a share in the planning of the enterprise and in the responsibility for its conduct. In factory work the restoration will be difficult, but fortunately we are concerned with that phase of the problem only as English teachers are vitally concerned with every aspect of social life. In schools the restoration is hindered only by our own bondage to tradition. There is no reason why we should not, in secondary schools and colleges at least, permit our pupils to participate in choosing the objectives and in planning the procedure, and to bear much of the responsibility for executing the plan. The project method again! You knew it all the time? Naturally, for the project method is the method of real living in school as well as in industry.W. W. H.
School Life Best When Organized Around Home And Community
At bottom, in the era of WW I, what educational theorists worked out is that school life is best when it is organized with life in the home and community. According to James Fleming Hosic, in such a context, then, a "project" is defined as "a single complete unit of purposeful existence".Source: James Fleming Hosic, "An Outline of the Project Method," The English Journal 7, no 9, November, 1918, pages 599-603.
Earlier, but still in 1918, William H Kilpatrick's theoretical outlines of the project method: "The Project Method: The Use of the Purposeful Act in the Educative Process", Teachers College Record 19 September 1918, pages 319–334. The article details the merit, assumptions, and value of the project method. Says Kilpatrick, page 320:I did not invent the term [the project method] nor did I start it on its educational career. Indeed, I do not know how long it has already been in use.
In his 1925 Foundations of Methods Kilpatrick writes,the merits of purposeful activity [referring to the project method] depend on how well it will work if given a fair chance and not at all on the name assigned to it and still less on who first used the name.
Kilpatrick's books, articles and presentations about the effectiveness of the project method receive national attention and earlier in the last century, his work is highly cited. In 1966, An entire issue of Educational Theory honors Kilpatrick. In that issue, several distinguished authors tell how the project method of teaching is used around the world. They herald the project method as one of the greatest events to have occurred in education. "It revolutionized education!"Obviously, this webpage only covers a fraction of the Homeworkshop Movement. (If I get the time -- and live long enough -- perhaps I will extend this discussion.)