Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/392

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tigations and measures some surprising revelations and practical results, which eventually affected the whole of the prevalent practice of infantile and juvenile training and education. The graded school and the trained teacher were partially the incidental outcome of a work primarily undertaken to rescue mentally and physically the young factory slaves. There were a few enlightened and humane employers, permeated with the progressive spirit of the time, who established schools in connection with their works, and there were some good schools kept by trained teachers in the large manufacturing towns, as at Manchester and Oldham, where the half-timers could be sent. Mr. Chadwick made a careful study of the best conditions for mental work among twelve thouands pupils, during a period of twelve years, and has left on record some very surprising but accurately thought-out conclusions. He thinks that alert voluntary attention is the only profitable attention, and he is sure that "three hours is as much time as can be occupied profitably with any subject-matters of instruction, with very young children," but it was found that the half-timers got a superior habit of mental activity, so that employers came to prefer short-timers to long-timers, and the military drill that had been introduced in the schools resulted in such superior bodily aptitudes that the stunted pauper boys of town got the preference over strong, robust rustics from the coast; but the most surprising result remains to be stated, for it soon began to appear that in mental attainments the half-time factory boy was in advance of the pupils of the board schools of the same age, the factory boy attaining the fourth standard by his tenth year, while the "long-time" board scholar reached it in his twelfth or thirteenth year.

In 1882, after half a century of observation and experiment, Mr. Chadwick summed up some of the defects of the current systems in words too apt to be improved upon. He says: "Unfortunately, the primary principle of education, the capacity of the recipient, the mind, is not understood or regarded. . . . The receptivity of the minds of the great mass of children, for direct simultaneous class-teaching—the only effective teaching is less than three hours, and where these limits are undistinguished and disregarded, the consequences are displayed in wearisome efforts, as it were, to get quarts into mental capacities of pints and gallons into quarts, with prolonged sedentary detentions for this foolish purpose, and with grievous bodily as well as mental injury."

Meantime, educators have now settled these points:

1. The inadequacy of the old-fashioned college education to enable the average man to take and hold a place among the world's needed workers—those six hundred applicants in Chicago prove this.