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This letter was followed by a conference between the city superintendent of schools, the board of school directors, and a committee of metal-working manufacturers. At the conference a tentative plan was agreed upon whereby the school directors should furnish building, teacher, and equipment and the manufacturers should furnish 150 boys for a school which should have for its purpose the raising of the intellectual efficiency of the boys in question; the school to be in session each day of the week, and each apprentice permitted to attend one-half day each week (four hours) and to be paid at his regular rate for the time spent in school. Eighteen manufacturers entered into the agreement; 21 are now cooperating. The school opened with 198 pupils instead of the promised 150.
During the first year the school was under the supervision of the manual-training director of the public school, and funds for its support were drawn from the manual-training appropriation. During this first year the school was regarded as an experiment and frequent changes were made in program and policy, as conditions seemed to warrant. It was moved three times before it was permanently located in one of the intermediate school buildings, where it now occupies six well-equipped rooms. It has passed from the experimental stage to an established part of the public-school system, a committee on continuation school has been added to the board of directors, and $10,000 appropriated for next school year, but the fact must be borne in mind that its work is still in the formative period.
Although the director of the school in consultation with the city superintendent decides what subjects shall be taught, the employers sending boys are consulted in the matter and act in an advisory capacity. The director disavows any intention of confining the instruction to apprentices in the metal trades and states that if other trades will send their apprentices they will be cared for. No specific trades are taught, but such work in mathematics, science, history of industry, English, etc., as will correlate with the shopwork and increase the general efficiency of the boy is taught. At present but three trades are represented, the machinists by 175 pupils, pattern makers by 25, and electrical workers by 10.
Any apprentice 16 years of age or over whose employer will give him time to attend is accepted in the school. No pupil is compelled to attend, but most of the shops make employment contingent upon attendance, which, of course, amounts to compulsion.
Pupils are accepted at any time, the requirement being that they must enter within three months after entering the trade.
The entire course of study is not yet determined, and the results of the past year's experiments will be considered in working out the program in its final form. The course probably will cover the four years of apprenticeship.
The general plan is as follows: Each pupil spends four hours per week in school and the remainder of the week at work in the shop of his employer. It is proposed throughout the four years to devote 45 minutes of the time each week to mathematics, 45 to science, 14 hours to theory of shop practice, 45 minutes to general culture, and 15 minutes to physical culture. Because boys representing each of the four years of apprenticeship are in school, and no two come from the same department, classification has to be made upon the basis of years of service until such time as the older boys now in school graduate. At such time as the third and fourth year apprentices have had the first two years in the school the program can be followed out more satisfactorily.
Mathematics during the first year deals with shop arithmetic. The instructor goes to the shops, sees what the boys are working on and what their difficulties are; he then prepares problems of which they can make practical application in the shops, with the result that the boys have frequently been able to solve problems upon which their foremen have failed. They take up the study of geometry the second year, algebra the third, and trigonometry the fourth. Little time is given to abstract rules and theorems; the practical application of the more complex shop problems is kept uppermost.
Under the caption of science, the first-year pupils study the geographic relations of shop materials, taking up the source of supply and the geography of material used. The second year is narrowed down to the manufacture and founding of iron. The third and fourth years the study of physics is taken up, not the ordinary high-school course in physics dealing with abstract subjects, but physics with reference to the practical problems of the shop.
In theory of shop practice, which receives twice the amount of time given any other one subject, the pupil devotes the first year to blue prints, learning first to read and use them, and later to make them. The director has prepared a special course in blue prints, known as "jigs." The second year's work will consists of lectures and discussions on shop conventionalities and their necessities. The third year on theory of shop practice will be devoted to discussion and answering questions submitted through the foremen's "question box," and in the fourth year a course will be worked out under the title of "the sense of proportion."
The general culture work has been, perhaps, the most difficult to work out. The school authorities have felt that some such work was absolutely essential, while the majority of the boys were inclined to the opinion that it was a waste of time. The problem that confronted the director was to give the culture work in such a way that the practical value would be evident. The first year is devoted to reading, writing, and spelling. Carpenter's Geographical Reader is
used and the work made to correlate with the study of geographic relation of shop materials. The spelling lessons consist of learning to spell the names of shop tools and machines. Up to the present time machine-tool catalogues have been used as textbooks. The American Machinist has in press an industrial speller calculated to furnish text for such spelling lessons. The director expects this course to fill a double purpose-not only will the boy be able to spell the names of the tools he uses, but he will also acquire a valuable shop vocabulary. In the second year composition and reading are studied. For the composition the boys are instructed to bring in from the shop some piece of work which has been spoiled; the boy tells why the work was discarded, points out the errors, estimates the cost of material, and the loss on the work. He then writes the story he has told, and the composition, together with the discarded work, are filed away in the library. In the third year literature and history of trade take the place of reading and composition; civics is added, with the idea of training the boy to be an intelligent voter. In the fourth year this period will be devoted entirely to civics, the general subject being, "The man, a wage earner and voter." The course is not worked out in all details as yet, but the director expresses appreciation of the need for and also the possibilities of such a course and expects it to be a real course for the training of citizens.
Fifteen minutes of each session are devoted to physical culture; calisthenic drills and setting-up exercises are given with the view to counteracting the tendency to round shoulders, and to teach the proper carriage of the body.
Very few books other than technical journals are used either for text or reference.
No shop practice is provided at school, but the director, who is also a coordinator, spends two half days each week in the shops with the boys, and the shop foremen serve in the capacity of trade instructors. The boys who are attending school get much more real trade instruction in the shop than the ordinary apprentice gets.
There is a two weeks' vacation in midsummer and one week at Christmas, the plan being for 48 weeks of school per year; there is no stated opening or closing time as such. The resuming of work at the expiration of the midsummer recess can not be regarded as the opening of a new term; entrance at any time makes impossible any formal term arrangement.
In the beginning the manufacturers promised enough boys for one teacher, and only one teacher was engaged. It was soon found, however, that because of the necessity of mixed classes and giving individual instruction there was more work than one teacher could handle, and an assistant was added.
The director, a graduate of the Cincinnati High School, spent two years in the University of Cincinnati and three years working at the machinist's trade in six different metal-working establishments. He taught manual training in the city school one and a half years, for six years he taught in the Ohio Mechanics Institute, and at one time he conducted a private school for machine-shop apprentices in Cincinnati. His assistant attended Ohio Mechanics Institute four years. He also studied mechanical engineering for four years, during which time he was serving his apprenticeship in a machine-tool house. He worked four years as a journeyman in the railroad shops and two years as a draftsman.
The school is under the general direction of the board of directors of the city schools. This board is made up of 27 members elected by the voters of the city, 24 of whom represent the various wards; 3 members are elected at large. The board is made up largely of professional men, 8 are attorneys, 6 are physicians, 1 a druggist, and 1 a college professor, the remaining 9 represent a variety of commercial and manufacturing interests.
There is a subcommittee of this board composed of 2 physicians and 1 attorney, known as the committee on continuation school. There is no official advisory board, but the employers sending boys to the school are consulted, and so unofficially act in the capacity of advisory board.
The manufacturers in the metal trades accept the work of the school, hour for hour, in the apprenticeship of the boy. What the individual trade-unions will do in the matter remains to be seen; they are waiting until the results the school will obtain are more evident before they take any action.
The school is not old enough to know from experience what part it will have in the matter of advancement of the apprentices; it is to be expected, however, that some of the boys who have had the advantage of training will naturally rise above the rank of journeymen and fill the positions of "gang bosses" and foremen. Many of the workmen have expressed a desire to be admitted to the school. A few unusually promising young men, who are not apprentices, are permitted to attend the school.
The chief objection which the labor unions have made (and this objection is made by unions whose trades are represented in the school) is that the usefulness of the school is restricted to workers in the metal trades, that no provision is made for woodworkers, boot and shoe workers, and many other trades largely represented in Cincinnati. The school announces that it is open to all trades, but it is alleged that as yet nothing has been done to attract others. The Central Labor Union has recently indorsed the school.
The manufacturers cooperating with the school are enthusiastic in their praises of its work. Instead of a decreasing output for the boys who spend four hours per week in school, it is found that there is no decrease in the output, and in many cases the output has been actually increased. The foremen of the shops have entered into hearty cooperation with the director; when the boys return to the shops they are quizzed by both workmen and foremen and the lessons are quite generally discussed in the shops.
DAVID RANKEN, JR., SCHOOL OF MECHANICAL TRADES, ST. LOUIS, MO.
The cooperative classes of the David Ranken, Jr., School of St. Louis, Mo., constitute one of its three departments. For a complete description of the school, see page 61.
The cooperative classes were organized at the suggestion of the St. Louis branch of the National Metal Trades Association for the instruction of apprentices in the machinist's and pattern-making trades. The association, through its shop superintendents, provides complete instruction in the use of tools and machines, leaving to the school the theoretical instruction. The school invites apprentices and employers of apprentices to avail themselves of the work offered in the cooperative classes.
Applicants for admission must be apprentices at least 16 years of age. During the first year of the school 30 apprentices of the machinist's trade received instruction.
The subjects studied are mathematics and drafting. Three hours per week is given to mathematics and 4 hours per week to drafting. The school year covers a period of 46 weeks, beginning in September. There is a week's vacation at Christmas.
The cooperative classes are divided into two groups, one of which reports on Tuesdays and Fridays and the other on Mondays and Thursdays from 8. a. m. to 11.30 a. m. The employers pay $15 per year tuition for each apprentice and at the same time pay them the regular wages for time spent in attendance at the school.
MECHANICS' INSTITUTE OF ROCHESTER, ROCHESTER, N. Y.
The Mechanics' Institute of Rochester (see p. 69) has a cooperative part-time course which is attended by seven machinist apprentices of the Gleason Works. These pupils attend the class from 1 to 2.30 p. m. three days a week for 26 weeks each year. The course of instruction extends over three years beginning about September 15 of each year.
Instruction is given in mechanical drawing.
The company pays the apprentices their regular wage for the time. spent in school and also pays the tuition, $7.50 per term of three months.