Glossary Intro and Glossary Annexes

Glossary--Woodworking as Reflective Thought: The History of Critical Thinking in the Manual Training Movement

(All comments below are tentative, and not yet formulated into anything permanent.)

Woodworking as Critical Thinking?

It's not a stretch! To engage in woodworking -- whether it's a profession or a pastime at home -- requires complex measurements, visualization, and creative problem-solving and planning.

Current Meaning

Generally agreed upon as an important component in education at all levels, critical thinking seeks to give individuals the ability to solve problems, to think rationally and creatively.

According to cognitive psychologists, problem solving and planning requires visual and spatial functioning: for woodworkers, for example, in constructing a piece, say a table, a chair, a bed, for final assembly, to figure out, how parts fit together -- the dry-fitting -- requires mentally rotating the project's components in your mind, all of which are cognitive functions involved in woodworking.

In another sense, doing procedural-based tasks -- that is, learning how to do something -- engages different learning circuits than more cognitive-based tasks

Three basic criteria associated with woodworking are

that it is:

    (1) an activity that is cognitively stimulating,

    (2) an activity that is emotionally stimulating, that is enjoyable

    (3) an activity that requires physical movement

Source: Adapted from Imperial Valley News , Saturday, 28 March 2009

Prevailing History of Critical Thinking in America

(In 1900, reflecting on a career as an educator that began in 1858, Frank A. Hill writes about the reversal of his opinion about the impact upon young lives of manual training; for inspiration about the manual training program, read online pages 283-286 of Hill's article; here are pieces):--

When I began to teach in 1858 I sometimes heard it said that it would be a good thing if boys could be taught the use of tools in school. I regarded the notion at the time as a visionary one. The school had no business with tools; they belonged to the home, to the period of apprenticeship, to the workshop. It would be the wildest extravagance for the schools to take them up. What tools should they teach? What trades should take precedence? What should be done with the girls meanwhile ? Does education lie that way? So I put the matter aside as a harmless speculation....

the manual-training school leaves the factory as an educational agency hopelessly behind. The boy is now the supreme thing, not something to be made and sold. One process mastered in principle and fairly fixed in practice, the next is taken up, and the next, for, although it is surprising to how few typical tools and processes the endless operations of constructive industry can be reduced, there are many to be learned, and life is short....

Frank A. Hill, "The Manual Training Idea" Self-Culture 1900, page 293. ; Hill served as Secretary Of The MassachuSetts Board Of Education. click here for an obituary)

Origin, Historical Development, Related Issues

(Conducted around 1999-2000, this review of critical thinking literature has not been updated since.) Currently, as a concept, critical thinking is said to have been first articulated by Robert Ennis in 1962; see Jane B. Halonen (1962). However, in his 1962 paper, Robert Ennis cites Othanel B. Smith (1953) and Kenneth B. Henderson and B. Othanel Smith (unpublished circa 1962). And judging from the almost 50 citations in Ennis, 1962, initially the postulates of critical thinking are grounded in the education philosophy of John Dewey.

Using the JSTOR database, a nest of citations on critical thinking were discovered from the early 1940s. Following this discovery, we began to check the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, the International Index to Periodicals, and the Education Index, around the 1940s, under the heading "Thought and Thinking": "Critical Thinking" as an entry, was not yet created. Further, a search for critical thinking in Psychinfo, the database for psychology that stretches back to 1887, shows about ten "hits" (i.e., articles posted) per decade, from 1920 to the 1960s, a time-frame that we believe coincides with John Dewey's proposals, in several of his articles published between 1900 and 1922, about the prospect of implementing Critical Thinking in the curriculum. Later, in the 1960s and after, of course, the number of hits on Critical Thinking in the Psychinfo database increases exponentially.

In the Reader's Guide, the earliest article which includes "critical thinking" in the title seems to be by C. R. Miller, in Childhood Education January 1940, p 196. The earliest article in JSTOR database to include "critical thinking" in the text is a review of James Harvey Robinson's book, The Mind in the Making: The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform, by H. N. Gardiner, in the American Historical Review 27 July 1892, page 768:

Accordingly the major part of the book is taken up with discussions of our animal and savage ancestry; the beginning of critical thinking [emphasis added] in Greece, whose supreme contribution to human thought was skepticism and ...

Critical Thinking in the Manual Training Curriculum

Interesting, because of the field, Manual Training, from the late 19th century, from evidence we derive from such writers on education as Calvin Woodward, John Runkle, Charles Godfrey Leland, and J Liberty Tadd, Nicholas Murray Butler, and Felix Adler, the motives existed among numerous educators for injecting critical thinking into the curriculum of Manual Training.

...In the 1880s, educators who supported manual training argued that it was not "trade training," or preparation for particular forms of work. They argued that students would develop hand and eye coordination by learning to use tools for working with wood and metal. The skills gained through manual training would be beneficial for all students, whatever their vocational destination in life.

Sources:Lawrence A. Cremin, The Transformation of the School, 1961 (not online); Herbert M. Kliebard, Schooled to Work: Vocationalism and the American Curriculum, New York: Teachers College Press, 1999 (not online).

Also in the 1880s, however -- when manual training was first introduced into North American schools, as recorded by Frank Hill, in the box above, on the left -- the idea of vocational education was resisted many educators. By the turn of the century, however, evidence of a shift in attitude is readily demonstrable.

Nicholas Murray Butler, The Argument for Manual Training New York: E. L. Kellogg & co., 1888

In a sense, educators in that era began to visualize not only manual training but also all of public schooling as preparation for work.

At the same time that certain views about the purpose of education were changing, the nature of work in industrial society was changing as well:-- read more here. With the development of new technology and assembly line methods of production, "workers could be hired off the street". Employers no longer needed employees possessing the of knowledge and skills developed through long, arduous apprentceships.

(for more details, click here.)

Instead of hand and eye coordination and qualities such as self-direction, the kinds of "skills" industrial workers needed were an ability to follow orders and to perform simple, repetitive tasks. Increasingly, educators joined businessmen in criticizing manual training at the turn of the century, not because it was vocational preparation, but because it was an anachronistic, outmoded form of vocational training in an industrial age. (See for example, see the doubt about the utility of manual education expressed the opening paragraph of Dr Frank Hill's "The Manual Training Idea", in the box up on the left. Hill was Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education. Click here to read Hill's turn-around.

Or, check out these selected articles -- culled randomly from the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature -- by Nicholas Murrary Butler, then president of Columbia Univeristy and a leader in formulating the era's educational policies:

"Is there a new education?" Review of Reviews v. 13 (February 1896) p. 217;
"Democracy and education", National Education Association. Proceedings and Addresses v. 35 (1896) p. 86-95;
"What shall the schools teach?", The Outlook (1893) v. 51 (May 4 1895) p. 727-8;
"What knowledge is of most worth?", National Education Association. Proceedings and Addresses v. 34 (1895) p. 69-80;
"Reform of high-school education", Harper's Weekly v. 38 (January 13 1894) p. 42

Bio for Nicholas Murray Butler

Butler, Nicholas Murray, 1862-1947, American educator, president of COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. (190245), b. Elizabeth, N. J. grad. Columbia (B.A., 1882; Ph.D. 1884). Holding a Columbia 'fellow- ship, he studied at Paris and Berlin, specializing in philosophy. Beginning in 1885 he was made successively assistant, tutor, and adjunct professor of philosophy at Columbia. He became (1886) president of the Industrial Education Association, reshaped it into what is today Teachers College of Columbia Univ., and was (1889-91) the institution's first president.

He was intimately associated with John W. BURGESS in the struggle to integrate a university organization and was largely responsible for the expansion of Columbia College into Columbia Univ. In 1890 he became professor of philosophy and education and dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and in 1901 acting president of Columbia. The next year he formally succeeded Seth Low as president. He instituted the Summer Session, University Extension (now the School of General Studies), the School of Journalism, the Medical Center, and other units which have contributed to the magnitude of present-day Columbia.

An advocate of peace through education, he helped to establish the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, of which he was a trustee and later president (1925-45). His efforts in behalf of disarmament and international peace won him international prestige, and he shared with Jane Addams the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize.

Prominent in national, state, and New York city politics, he remained a regular Republican party member despite differences with its platforms. Though a close friend of Theodore Roosevelt, he refused to join the Progressive movement of 1912 and that year received the Republican electoral votes for Vice President after the death of Vice President James S. Sherman, the regularly nominated candidate. He later was the leading Republican advocate of the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, urged economy in government, and supported local reform movements. He was (1928-41) president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

His books include Education in the United States (1910), The International Mind (1913), The Meaning of Education (rev. ed., 1915), Scholarship and Service (1921), The Faith of a Liberal (1924), The Path to Peace (1930), Looking Forward (1932), Between Two Worlds (1934), and The World Today (1946). See his autobiography, Across the Busy Years (2 vols., 1939-40); see also Bibliography of Nicholas Murray, Butler. 1872-1932 (1934).


Charles B. Howe

A QUARTER of a century ago the advocates of manual training were waging a determined and an aggressive campaign for the adoption of their principles. Eventually, the fight was won and for the past ten years the recognition and application of those principles has been all but universal. Now a situation has developed which puts the friends of manual training on the defensive and the indications are that some of the fighting must be done over again.

In the argument for the vocational school it has been pointed out that the manual training school is a failure from the standpoint of vocational training. Before conceding this statement and suggesting any plan for meeting the objections, let us review the origin and purpose of the manual training high school.

In the spread and development of the manual training idea, first and foremost in the ranks of the pioneers was Calvin M. Woodward of St. Louis. On October 1, 1877, Woodward stated his vision of a Manual Training School. Most significant, I believe, was Woodward's realization that American students needed ste-by-step directions to create joints. As a solution, Woodward cames up with the idea of "Instruction sheets". However, even with instruction sheet, the limits of the the Russian system -- limited as it was to learning how to create joints -- soon became evident. Students became bored. Picking up on this, in Philadelphia, Leland took a more "holistic" approach, and had students in his classes create 'whole" projects, an action that gives "completeness" to the exercise.

All complex mechanical processes result from different combinations of a few simple elements, just as all the words of the dictionary are but combinations of the letters of the alphabet. The true method of instruction is to teach the elements first, i. e., "analyze the processes requiring manual skill and teach each process by itself to a class." The first principles are taught and illustrated by practical examples, just as we would teach algebra or music. This alphabet of steps in mechanical science is much simpler than would at first be supposed.

The process of instruction must precede that of construction; that is, the student must learn the use of tools before he is required to construct anything. Here is the point where the best manual-training schools differ radically from the ordinary system of apprenticeship. In the latter, the learner acquires the "arts" involved in a piece of work incidentally, and generally without a conscious analysis; in the former, the "arts" are made the direct object of his study and attention; their subsequent combination (which may or may not follow in his school experience) is a very simple matter.

The immense advantage of this method would seem to be obvious. In the first place, the shop is not embarrassed by commercial issues. Pecuniary considerations do not come in to confine students to that which they have already learned to do well, and which, on that account, they ought to lay aside. And secondly, the scope of the shop which manufactures for the market is generally very limited, and the apprentice is apt to come out entirely ignorant of the use of some of the rarest and most interesting tools and processes.

Source: Charles A Bennett, History of Manual and Industrial Education 1870 to 1917 volume 2, page 337

In an address before the National Teachers' Association at Saratoga, July 1883, Dr. Woodward said:

The word 'manual' must, for the present, be the best word to distinguish that peculiar system of liberal education which recognizes the manual as well as the intellectual. I advocate manual training for all children as an element in general education. I care little what tools are used, so long as proper habits (morals) are formed, and provided the windows of the mind are kept open toward the world of things and forces, physical as well as spiritual.

And again in an address delivered before the Social Science Association of Philadelphia in December, 1885, he said,

We believe that mental activity and growth are closely allied to physical activity and growth, and that each is secured more readily and more fully in connection with the other than by itself.

The philosophy of manual training has never been more clearly expounded than in a paper read at the meeting of the American Institute of Instruction by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler in July, 1888 at Newport. Dr. Butler said:

... Th[e] Russian experiment was made known to the people of the United States in 1876, by Professor John D. Runkle, then President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ...

... The next step was to recognize the unity of principle which underlay the Kindergarten at one end of the educational scheme and the manual training school at the other. ...

... the distinction already made between the end and the means of education; that the one, the development of the mental faculties, is always the same, but that the second varies according to our knowledge of the child's mind and the changing character of its environment. ...

It is objected as to the first [the Russian system] that manual training is not mental training, but simply the development of skill in the use of certain implements.

The manual training movement is based on a sound pedagogic principle and manual training must be introduced into schools of every grade. ... Manual training is mental training through the hand and eye, just as the study of history is mental training through the memory and other powers. ... It is truly and strictly psychological. In view of the prevalent misconception on this point, too much stress cannot be laid upon the fact that manual training, as we use the term, is mental training. ... It is the mind that feels and fashions, and the mind that sees; the hand and the eye are the instruments which it uses. The argument for manual training returns to this point again and again.

Sources of text: This is a version that I slighly annotated. This is online: Nicholas Murray Butler, "Manual Training", Annual Meeting, American Institute of Instruction, 1888, 214-234, the link should take you to this passage on page 221.

Of the introduction of tool work into the Boston schools we speak with some diffidence. About 1885 Professor John Ordway, now in charge of the Manual Training Department of Tulane University, made a report on the Swedish system of manual training, called, by those who can intelligently use the word, Slojd. (John Ordway, et al, "Report on Industrial Education", National Education Association, Proceedings and Addresses, 1885.)

A committee of the State board of education, after dwelling on the great, similarity of Swedish and American manners and institutions, advocated the introduction of the Swedish system аз tho only one that "embraces the elements of manual training that aims, preciselyas we aim, at manual training rather than industrial education proper." The instruction given in the Dwight school, the committee says, was illustrating that work of this kind could be done.

As to the purpose of construction work, the last of the several features of manual training to appear, there can be no doubt that it was introduced in a purely pedagogical spirit. It has been advocated on such grounds for years by Dr. Felix Adler, of New York, and exemplified by his Workingman's School, a continuation of the Free Kindergarten School; and the gap between the kindergarten and the manual training school (Russian plan) signaled by the New York committee's report on manual training, is being supplied by the adoption of processes somewhat similar to those of the lower grades of this "Workingman's School."

The kindergarten, then, and its extension, construction, are without doubt based on a pedagogical theory pure and simple, and not on the bread and butter argument. Drawing was introduced to foster industry, for "Drawing is the language of mechanics, and ability to use the pencil lies at the foundation of success in many mechanical pursuits." Della Vos's Russian school is a preparatory institution to the foundry and machinery shop; while the tool work at the licbton grammar school was an isolated fact ; no note is made of a preparatory course in construction work and in the kindergarten,* no future in a school on the Russian system.

Dr. Felix Adler expressed his opinion thus:

Paper by Adler: Technical and Art Education in the Public Schools as Elements of General Culture

In 1880, Felix Adler started the "Workingman's School", in New York City, which introduced practical lines of industrial training and tool work for children. (Adlerfounded the Ethical Culture Society; Cremin, metropolitan expereice, page 77.)

Professor Adler says:--

Among those who have given most thoughtful attention to the subject, the following points are accepted, namely: that manual training means the training of the intellect as well as the hand; that its chief recommendation is that it offers a new instrumentality for training the mind ; that manual training logically connects with the system of teaching at the point called object teaching; that the business of manual training is to deepen the methods of object teaching. The old object method was to teach the child to observe, but manual training teaches not only to observe but to create. The principal departments of school in which this method is illustrated are the departments of drawing, of geometry and of science.

Manual training has recently been suggested as one of the means of combating the criminal tendency in the young, and this suggestion is being received with increasing favor. But until now the theory of manual training has hardly begun to be worked out. The confidence which is expressed in it is based, for the most part, on unclassified experience. Now experience without theory is blind. Theory, it is true, without experience, is without feet to stand on. But experience without the guiding and directing help of theory is without eyes to see. I shall this evening offer, in a somewhat tentative way, a few remarks intended to be a contribution to the philosophy of manual training as applied to the reformation of delinquent children. I do not, of course, attempt to cover the entire ground. I shall confine myself to one type of criminality in children, a not uncommon type, that, namely, of moral deterioration arising from weakness of the will.

Source:Felix Adler, "The Influence of Manual Training on Character", The social welfare forum: Official proceedings [of the] annual meeting By National Conference on Social Welfare, National Conference of Charities and Correction (U.S.) 15 1888

Felix Adler, born in Germany in 1851, came to America as a small child, and graduated from Columbia University in 1870. A leader in education and social welfare, he founded in 1876 the Ethical Culture Movement In 1876 he established the New York; and in connection with the Ethical Culture School, he founded the first free kindergarten in New York city. Adler organized the Workingmen's Lyceum, helped to establish the Workingmen's School and the Manhattan Trade School for Girls, and, in 1883, founded the first child study society in the United States. A member, in 1885, of New York state's first tenement house commission, he also served as chairman of the National Child Labor Committee. He became professor of political and social ethics at Columbia University in 1902, in 1908-9, Roosevelt professor at the University of Berlin and, in 1923, the Hibbert lecturer at Oxford University. Among his books are Creed and Deed (1877), An Ethical Philosophy of Life (1918) and The Reconstruction of the Spiritual Ideal (1924). He died in 1933.

Superintendent C. F. Carroll of Worcester, Mass, said:

... Manual training is from the beginning an indispensable part of a liberal education.

In an address delivered before the Present Day Club of Dayton, Ohio, Superintendent Mailman said,

"From "these considerations it appears that manual training as an educational factor has deeper roots than the transient industrial needs of our time. These roots lie in the innate nature of man, in the demand for his full, all-sided development in individual and social relations."

The most complete and comprehensive exposition of the psychological principles of manual training -- Manual Training: Its Educational Value -- ever made were set forth in an address delivered by Dr. T. M. Balliet before the Massachusetts Teachers Association at Worcester, Nov., 1895. The whole tenor of Dr. Balliet's address was for the purpose of demonstrating

... that manual training is but another form of mental training, and that the hand is but a sixth sense,âan additional avenue to the mind.


... whilst the manual training school does not aim to teach a boy a trade, it gives him a training which will enable him at once, on leaving school, to earn from $1 to $2 a day.

Regarding the vocational aspect of the subject in his "Argument for Manual Training," Dr. Butler said:

"No one with any appreciation of what our public school system is and why it exists, would for a moment suggest that it be used to train apprentices for any trade or for all trades."

Dr. Woodward stated his position as follows:

The object of the introduction of manual training is not to make mechanics. ... Our great object is educational: other objects are secondary. ... A public school must put no bar to a boy's development; the upward roads are always to be left open. A public trade school in America would be out of place.... The first reason why I think we shall not wisely attempt to teach the details of actual trades is, that the scope of a trade is far too narrow for general educational purposes.... Should we not abstract all the mechanical processes and manual arts and typical tools of the trades and occupations of men, and arrange a systematic course of instruction in the same, and then incorporate it into our system of education? Thus, without teaching any one trade, we teach the essential mechanical principles of all.

Similar expressions upon the purpose and character of manual training from the late Superintendent Seaver, Dr. G. Stanley Hall, and many others might be cited. It must be understood that in quoting the opinions expressed above it is not the purpose to maintain that these are necessarily the views held and advocated by these parties at the present time, neither is it desired to justify the continuation of the manual training school prototype in the future, nor to maintain that vocational training is not a rational and logical development. But from the historical standpoint and in the light of its origin and purpose is not the manual training school as an educational product exactly what it was intended to become?

As Dr. Woodward said again:

The prevailing motive in the organization of the first manual training school was to furnish opportunity and stimulus for the growth of certain powers of the mind through the instrumentality of the hand and material things."

Or, in the words of his famous aphorism,

Put the whole boy to school.

In view of the educational principles out of which the manual training idea grew and developed it may be demonstrated that the manual training school has achieved its purpose. Evidence is at hand to support this statement, from college and university presidents, superintendents, and other educational experts. The prevailing consensus of opinion was well expressed by the late president of Johns Hopkins, Dr. Daniel C. Oilman, who said:

Manual training is an essential part of good education, whether that education is restricted to the common school or carried on to the highest discipline of technical schools and universities.

Whatever may be offered in the way of criticism of the manual training school is certainly not justified from the point of view of its origin and purpose and in all fairness the educational critics should refrain from pulling down the foundation of what is destined to become the finest structure in our education.

In his "Argument for Manual Training" the words of warning which Dr. Butler uttered to those who would pull everything to pieces? were never more appropriate than now. He said:

It would be a gross error for those who attach themselves to a new educational movement, to denounce preceding systems and conditions as misleading, worthless, bad. The most beautiful flower depends for its existence upon a clumsy and unattractive root. The flower loses its beauty and attractiveness if torn from the source of its life and strength. So it is with educational systems. The last makes the next possible; and the newest has quite enough to do without undertaking the profitless task of pointing out how all earlier systems would have failed had they been called upon to do something which in the nature of the case it was not possible for them to be called upon to do. Growth is continuous. Each stage is necessary; and it is worse than useless to attempt to exalt any one at the expense of that which laid the basis for it. Each system and each theory of education rray have been the best for its own time.

The evolution of the manual training school as a type has broadened and enriched the whole school curriculum educationally and has made possible another type; the former was its chief end and aim; the latter an inevitable result.

8 Drawing and Constructive Work:-- To introduce this subject generally into the secondary schools of this country would be a new departure. It is so, however, only because these schools have not been doing their duty by the pupils entrusted to them. Taken together, drawing and constructive work constitute what is properly called manual training, the educational value of which has been established beyond all contravention both by argument and by experiment. It aims to develop in the pupil powers of thought-expression that no other study reaches, as well as to train the judgment, to call out the executive powers, and to give self-confidence in dealing with actual material. It serves also to illustrate much of the instruction in mathematics and in natural science. Many secondary school pupils may wish to follow manual training beyond the mere rudiments and with more especial reference to its scientific and technological applications.

It may be added, for the sake of definiteness, that the constructive work will naturally employ for its material pasteboard, clay, soft wood, and metal, successively.

Source: Nicholas Murray Butler, The Meaning of Education, and Other Essays and Addresses New YorK: Macmillan Company, 1898, pages 182-183 ("What Knowledge is of most worth?", listed above, is included in this collection.)

To test this changing attitude -- that educators began to embrace the idea that manual education should be part of the curriculum -- using the search engine, Google, I conducted a "quick-and-dirty" survey: limiting the coverage to the years 1850-1900, and using the search string, "educational value of manual training", yielded 446 hits on may 13, 2009. Because of the ongoing program of the digitization of books and articles by Google, tomorrow and later, these numbers could change. Regardless, the yield confirms that a lively discussion about manual education was occurring at the time.

This research string -- reflective "manual training" thinking OR thought --yielded less, only 46, but a telling amount, all the same. The top of this "hit" list is Hill's "The Manual Training Idea", and little lower down is Calvin Woodward's 1887 The manual training school:

1884, Calvin M. Woodward, "The Fruits of Manual Training", <strong><em>Popular Science Monthly</em></strong>

C. M. WOODWARD,"THE FRUITS OF MANUAL TRAINING", Calvin M Woodward, "The Fruits of Manual TRaining", Popular Science Monthly 1884 (note that woodward -- as president of the AAAS, salutes Balliet's claim that manual training has a "psychological basis" in Science, 1906 -- on hard disk under manual training.)

American Association for the Advancement of Science, "The Industrial Education Association", Science 9, No. 227 June 10, 1887, pages 553-558

T M Balliet, Manual Training: Its Educational Value American Physical Education Review 1 1896, pages 483-499 [address given in 1895]

Psychological Bases for Manual Training

adapted from Mary Ann Stankiewicz, Roots of Art Educational Practice, Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 2001, ch 3

Manual training was frequently justified on the basis of psychological research on brain and mind. For example, in his talk to the state teachers' association a Massachusetts school superintendent cited research on the specialized functions of various lobes of the brain,' Superintendent Balliet posited a one-to-one relationship between cells in the brain and cells in the body.

Sensory nerve cells ... developed through use of the senses, and motor cells developed through motor activities. When the body was not exercised, both body and brain degenerated. For the most effective development, sensory and motor cells had to be exercised during critical periods of brain growth.

Balliet compared the brain to a battery that generated nerve force to activate the body. He explained that a man of energy was necessarily a man of brains as well; the popular distinction between brain work and handwork was false. Both brain and hand worked in coordination and must be developed through a sequence of activities to develop first large muscle groups and later fine manual coordination.

Well-organized muscles implied well-organized minds; clear and accurate ideas developed from clear and accurate sense perceptions. Carefully organized manual training activities with hand tools should be available to students during the critical learning period from ages four through fourteen. When manual skills had been learned thoroughly, they would become habits. Balliet used his knowledge of neurological research to argue that manual training developed sense perceptions, motor ideas, and sound working habits.

Nathan Christ Schaeffer, Thinking and Learning to Think Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1900, page 310

The movements in manual training are an excellent preparation for the movements in the handicrafts and the daily occupations by which men gain the necessaries and the comforts of life. Ten thousand men are active in supplying our breakfast-table, and many thousand more in providing clothing, shelter, light, heat, and the manifold necessities and luxuries of modern society. All these involve thinking quite as useful, as logical, and as effective as the thinking which ends in talk or printer's ink. The relation of thinking to doing and the reflex influence which the latter exerts upon the former is seen in the solution of problems and in all exercises involving the application of knowledge. Manual training is really and primarily a training in thinking, but it is the kind of thinking most closely related to thinking in things, and its value in education is so great that it has led to the formulation of the maxim, We learn to do by doing,a maxim which deserves separate consideration, because, as usually applied, it is taken to mean that doing by the hand necessarily and inevitably leads to thinking and knowing.

The work now being done in the manual training schools is a step in the right direction, but, like all other efforts made at present to encourage handicrafts, there are no standards for it save the indi- vidual experience or beliefs of each teacher; also, there are few practical results beyond the generally beneficial effect of the training afforded to the hand as well as the brain of the student. It would be an easy matter to have the woodworking department in a manual training school put under the charge of an experienced cabinetmaker who would teach the boys sound principles of construction and a thorough method of workmanship, just as the apprentices were taught in the shops of the famous old cabinetmakers whose furniture still stands as the height of achievement in this direction. If a school giving a fairly comprehensive course in handicrafts under experienced and competent instructors were established in each village, there would soon be no doubt of its practical value to everyone living there. In the case of a number of students the interest of the work would naturally be increased by cooperation and exchange.

Source: Gustav Stickley, "How the government could aid in bringing about a much-needed reform in the industrial system of this country", The craftsman February 1908 page 561

Charles B. Howe, ""The Future of the Manual Training High School in Vocational Education", Manual Training Magazine 14 1913, pages 105-114.

Joseph Schimmel Taylor, Handbook of Vocational Education, 1914 New York: macmillan, 1914. pages 50-56, especially 54.

III. Changes in Manual Work. The generalized exercises which constituted the early form of manual training in this country have been undergoing a gradual change. The boy no longer learns to saw, and plane, and hammer, and chisel; but he employs these processes in the making of some useful article whose value he can appreciate. This transformation has been stimulated by Professor Dewey's vigorous demand that school work shall appeal to the child as being worth while here and now, rather than useful in the dim and distant future. It is true that, from the adult's standpoint, the child is preparing for life; but from his own viewpoint he is already living his life. To the pupil the school is life and not a preparation for life.

When manual training was first offered as a school study, its friends took pains to disclaim all practical or vocational aims. It was to be a mode of training the mind, and not a means of livelihood. These arguments by slow degrees have been abandoned. The boy no longer makes a mortise-and-tenon joint as an exercise in accuracy and honesty. He makes chairs, desks, tables, coat hangers, flower stands, and a host of other useful articles. The school shop now resembles the abode of the cabinetmaker.

John Dewey on Reflective Thought

Until the 1920s, evidently, critical thinking remained as what might be labeled "an analytical observation" in scholars' discourse, that is, there were no proposals for implementing critical thinking into the curriculum. This changed with John Dewey, but in stages, between 1900 and 1922, where he speaks in terms of "reflective thought". [For the evidence, check JSTOR .] In How We Think (1910, p. 3), for example, he declares what constitutes reflective thought:

Active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends.

In 1922, on pp. 29-31, in "An Analysis of Reflective Thought," in the Journal of Philosophy [in JSTOR] Dewey declares that his How We Think (1910) was "written for pedagogical purposes rather than for strictly logical ends." Dewey claims that his "analysis is formal, and indicates the logical "movements" involved in an act of critical thought. It is a matter of indifference which comes first." For emphasis, he asserts "that the main distinction between uncritical and critical or scientific thinking is that the latter strives to combine as far as possible into one act the functions of inferring and testing."

Dewey further demonstrates that, for him, critical thinking is scientific thought:

Experiment is the indicated application of meanings to the particulars to see what happens .... Experiment has a two-fold function. From the side of suggested meanings it is a test; from the side of the otherwise fragmentary data, it supplies organization, system. [for] the traditional idea of ready-made or given particulars and universals, data and meanings. ... [T]he text of How We Think, with its practical pedagogic aim, was especially concerned with enforcing the difference between uncritical and critical thinking.


Calvin M Woodward, "The Fruits of Manual Training"; Lawrence A. Cremin, The Transformation of the School, 1961 (not online); Fisher, 1967; Herbert M. Kliebard, Schooled to Work: Vocationalism and the American Curriculum, New York: Teachers College Press, 1999 (not online); Marvin Lazerson, Origins of the Urban School: Public Education in Massachusetts, 1870-1915 Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971; Mary Ann Stankiewicz, Patricia M. Amburgy, Paul E. Bolin, "Questioning the past: contexts, functions, and stakeholders in 19th-century art education", in Elliot W. Eisner, Michael D. Day, eds, Handbook of Research and Policy in Art Education,Mahwah, NJ: National Art Education Association; published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004, pages 33-53


My original CT bibliography:

Anderson, Howard R. "Introduction," Teaching Critical Thinking in the Social Studies Howard R. Anderson, ed. Thirteenth Yearbook of the National Council for the Social Studies. 1942, pp. v-ix; Dewey, John. "An Analysis of Reflective Thought," The Journal of Philosophy Volume 19, Issue 2 (Jan. 19, 1922), 29-38; Dewey, J. (1910) How We Think: A Restatement of the Relation of Reflective Thinking to the Educational Process. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath; Ellis, Elmer. "Methods and Materials for Developing Skill in Critical Thinking," Teaching Critical Thinking in the Social Studies Howard R.Anderson, ed. Thirteenth Yearbook of the National Council for the Social Studies. 1942, pp. 49-92; Ennis, Robert H. "A Concept of Critical Thinking," Harvard Educational Review 32 (1962): 81-111; Glaser, E. M. An Experiment in the development of Critical Thinking. New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, 1941; Halonen Jane S. "Demystifying Critical Thinking" Teaching Psychology v 22 (February 1995): pp 75-81; Henderson, Kenneth B. and B. Othanel Smith A Study in the Teaching of Critical Thinking (circa 1962); Horkeimer, Max. Critical Theory: Selected Essays. New York: Herder and Herder, 1972, p.p. 188-243; Horkeimer's Traditional and Critical Theory (1937); Judd, Charles H. Education as Cultivation of Higher Mental Processes. Macmillan, 1936; Klee, L E "Folklore and the Development of Critical Thinking," Social Education (1946) 267-269; Lipman, Matthew. Thinking in Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991; McPeck, John E. Critical Thinking and Education Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1981; Marcham, Frederick George. "The Nature and Purpose of Critical Thinking," Teaching Critical Thinking in the Social Studies Howard R. Anderson, ed. Thirteenth Yearbook of the National Council for the Social Studies. 1942, pp. 1-48; Paul, Richard. Critical Thinking: What Every Person Needs to Know to Cope in the Modern World. Rohnert Park, CA: Center for Critical Thinking an Moral Critique, 1990; Siegal, Harvey. Educating Reason: Rationality, Critical Thinking and Education. New York: Routledge, 1988; Smith, Othanel B. "The Improvement of Critical Thinking," Progressive Education, 30, 5 ((March 1953): 225-233; Taba, Hilda. "The Evaluation of Critical Thinking." Teaching Critical Thinking in the Social Studies Howard R. Anderson, ed. Thirteenth Yearbook of the National Council for the Social Studies. 1942, pp. 123-176; Wilson, Howard E. "Developing Skill in Critical Thinking Through Participation in School and Community Life," Teaching Critical Thinking in the Social Studies Howard R. Anderson, ed. Thirteenth Yearbook of the National Council for the Social Studies. 1942, pp. 93-122; Bailin, S. "Critical Thinking: Philosophical Issues," In Torsten Husen and T Neville Postlethwaite, eds., International Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford: Elsevier Science, 1994. pp. 1204-1208 (Includes an account of the contributions of Robert Ennis, Richard Paul, Harvey Siegal, Matthew Lipman, and John McPeck); Baron, Jonathon. "Rational Thinking", In Robert J. Sternberg, ed. Encyclopedia of Human Intelligence. New York: MacmIllan, 1994. v. 2, pp. 912-916. "Critical Thinking", Barrow, Robin, and Milburn, Geoffrey. A Critical Dictionary of Educational Concepts: An Appraisal of Selected Ideas and Issues in Educational Theory and Practice. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990. 2d ed, pp. 77-80; Langer, Judith. "Critical Thinking Debate in Language Arts," In Alan C. Purves, ed., Encyclopedia of English Studies and the Language Arts New York: National Council of Teachers of English, 1994, v. 1, pp. 326-328.