Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/468

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mous waste of energy and the life-long unhappiness which arise from mistakes in one's calling, is certainly a highly important function of an institution which professes to prepare a lad for the problems of daily living. The absence of pronounced taste in the boy is not the only obstacle to be overcome. There are few boys totally devoid of some interest which may be made available for future work, but it needs something to bring it out. The ordinary school training does not do it. In the outcry which is periodically made against what is mistakenly called "over-education," there is discernible the bitter tone of men who feel in a blind way that somehow the schools have cheated them in so ill-preparing them for life. There is much reason in their complaint. It is not true that such questions are outside the business of the school. What a boy is to do after he leaves school is very much the business of the school, and its neglect is scarcely less than criminal. If what is done before graduation bears no relation to what is to be done after graduation, then the school—and it is said in all soberness—had better give place to the gymnasium, for that at least would give health and beauty in place of narrow chests and pseudo-culture. But the faculty of a manual training school do not so believe. They believe that the development of a useful, judiciously chosen purpose in life is a very important element in education, and it receives in such schools an amount of attention commensurate with its importance. A boy can not judge rightly for what sort of work he is best fitted unless his experience be so enlarged by those who guide his course that he shall at least come in contact with the different departments of human activity, and taste them, if we may so phrase it, for himself. Even with these advantages, the choice is a difficult one. The first boyish impulse is not always to be trusted; but, by giving these impulses as free play as practicable during the three years of the course, the chances of mistake are at least greatly reduced. In a well-equipped manual training school there are few boys who are not able to become interested and proficient in some one of its several departments. In the hope of making the school still more useful in helping boys to select a suitable life-work, and in helping to prepare them to carry it out with efficiency, the plan of post-graduate study has been introduced. By permitting a boy to work a year in that particular department where his undergraduate performances have shown the greatest promise, he can be still more effectively prepared for the work of the world. This is a special and experimental feature of the school at Philadelphia. The results indicate that it is worthy of further extension.

It is significant of the spirit of its teaching that so large a proportion of manual-training graduates continue their studies in