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Science and skilled industry.
the logic of pure synthesis may shew you how to detect fallacies in drawing conclusions from general truths; it is by the inductive process that men must form the fixed and general principles on which they reason and act. And since for once that a man goes wrong through reasoning badly on given data, he goes wrong ten times through accepting data which are unsound and unverified; inductive reasoning is at least as useful a part of mental training for the duty of life, as the deductive process to which the name logic was once exclusively applied.
Such are some of the weightiest reasons for desiring to see experimental and inductive science included in every scheme of liberal education. Other reasons might easily be multiplied. “Scientific teaching," say the Public School Commissioners in their Report of 1861, “is perhaps the best corrective for that indolence which is the vice of half-awakened minds and which shrinks from any exertion that is not like an effort of memory, purely mechanical.” A still more practical and obvious reason was urged in the Report of the Parliamentary Committee of 1863, “A knowledge of the principles of science would tend to promote industrial progress by stimulating improvement, by preventing costly and unphilosophical attempts at impossible inventions, diminishing waste, and obviating in a great measure ignorant opposition to salutary changes.”
Practical and commercial considerations like these The bearmust of course not be kept out of view. They have ing of
scientific a very intimate bearing on the education of primary knowledge schools and on the welfare of the industrial classes gene-on skilled
trades. rally. One hears of the want of knowledge often evinced by artizans; of the trade rules which practically forbid a man to put special ability or enthusiasm into his work, and which seem designed to reduce the working power of
the intelligent mechanic to the level of that of the unintelligent. Laments are often heard of the decay of the old custom of apprenticeship, by which a master undertook to give a youth systematic instruction in the art and mystery which he practised; and in consequence of these shortcomings it is said that English workmen are less successful competitors than they once were with the skilled craftsmen of other nations. The gravity of these facts is unquestionable, though it is not within our present province to discuss them, except in their bearing on school education. Closely connected with every form of handicraft there is some kind of elementary science—it may be of mechanics, or of chemistry, of the properties of matter, or the nature of forces—which explains and justifies the rules of that particular handicraft and the knowledge of these things would be useful to the workman, not only in enabling him to do his work better, but also in calling out his sympathy and transforming him from a mechanical drudge into an intelligent worker. It is a humiliating thing to see a grown man content to employ year after year methods and forces which he does not care to understand. No one who earns his living under such conditions can get any enjoyment out of his work. Still less is he capable of discovering new methods by which in his own special department future workers may be helped to economize time, and to do work in a more artistic and thorough manner.
A partial remedy for this evil would be found if the study of natural phænomena were included in some form in the course of every primary school. One at least of the specific subjects of advanced instruction for which in the higher classes the Education Department makes special grants, should always be attempted in those classes. That subject should be chosen rather because
Technical and Trade Schools.
the means exist for teaching it well, than because of its supposed relation to the particular calling likely to be followed by the scholar. Any one branch of physical science will serve to stimulate the appetite for further knowledge, and to suggest right methods of investigation in other and more practical directions. But when the one branch has been chosen, care should be taken that it shall not be treated as a new and special accomplishment-a purpureus pannus attached by way of ornament at the end of the school-studies, but rather as an organic part of those studies, in preparation for which a wellarranged series of fact-lessons shall have been regularly given in the lower classes. The results of introducing children in the last year of their school-life to the study of entirely new subjects and to little text-books full of technical terms, have proved to be very unsatisfactory.
But the further measures towards the true preparation Technical for the calling of a skilled workman lie outside the ordi- or Trade
Schools. nary domain of school life. It is in special technical schools, that the craftsman should be helped to study the philosophy of his own trade. Such schools under the name of “Écoles d'Apprentis” in France, or of Technical and Trade Schools in Switzerland and Germany, have long existed and done excellent work. But with the exception of the Trade School at Bristol founded by the late Canon Moseley and the Trade School established under the Endowed Schools Act at Keighley, very few! such institutions have thriven here. Now that the old system of apprenticing to masters has died out, the best substitute for it is to be found in the establishment of schools which shall be accessible to the scholars who have left the primary schools, and in which the instruction in manual arts, though based on science, shall be consciously directed to practical ends.
The function of a Trade or Technical School is rather industrial than educational. It is to teach science in its application to industry and with a special view to the needs of the skilled artizan. Its course should include applied mechanics, experimental physics, electricity, magnetism and heat, chemistry, descriptive geometry, the properties of matter, measurement of planes and solids, and the principles of construction generally. There should be a workshop, a museum of tools and implements, a chemical and physical laboratory in which the learners can perform experiments under supervision; and the classes should be so arranged and divided that the learner may obtain an insight into the scientific basis and the practical rules of the particular craft which he
intends to follow, The best
There should be no difficulty in the establishment of modern substitute
such schools in all our great industrial centres; nor even for the old in devising a liberal system of inducements by way of apprentice scholarships or otherwise to encourage the most promising System.
scholars from the primary school to devote a few months to such special studies before entering on the business of their lives. Enormous sums have been bequeathed in England for the purpose of apprenticing boys to trades. They are the survivals from a time when the word 'apprentice' had a real meaning, and when the provision of such funds was one of the wisest forms of benevolence. But the conditions of our industrial life are so altered that these large funds have ceased to serve their intended purpose, and are too often only disguised doles of a very mischievous kind. The disposition of such funds which will be most nearly akin to the intentions of the original donors is obviously the establishment of technical schools and of such bursaries or scholarships as may facilitate access to them.
Choice of subjects for study.
Here, however, we revert to the consideration of Subjects of scientific teaching, not for immediate use in trade or
inquiry commerce, but as a permanent factor in a liberal edu- most suited cation. And from this point of view it matters very
to schools. little what branch of such science you select—whether astronomy, mechanics, optics, general physics, botany or animal physiology-so long as you keep in view the purposes which have to be served in teaching them, and the kind of mental discipline which rightly taught they are able to give. You cannot attempt in a school course to teach all, or indeed half of these things. You may well be reconciled to this conclusion, when you reflect that to teach any one of them well, so as really to kindle the inquisitive and observant spirit, and to create a strong interest in watching, recording and co-ordinating the facts in some one department of the physical world, is to do much to stimulate the desire for further acquisition of the same kind when your scholar leaves school; and to bring into play one set of faculties, which are not sufficiently exercised in any other part of your school-course.
So it will be well to consider in what department of Grounds science you or any one of your assistants feel the strong- of choice
relative est interest, or for what kind of teaching you have the not absobest material and facilities at hand, and to select that. lute. For that is after all the best subject for you to teach. And if you are in the country, or dependent on the services of visiting teachers, and Mr A. undertakes to give lectures on Astronomy and Mr B. on Physiology, I would have you decide between these rivals, not by asking which of the two subjects is most likely to prove suitable for your scholars, but which of the two lecturers is the abler man, the person of wider general culture, the more skilful and enthusiastic teacher, the one most likely to kindle in your pupil the wish to make further researches for himself,