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»o3f77 



COPYRIORT, 1990^ BY JAMX8 LBBOT STOCKTON 



ALL RIGHTS RBSBRVBD 



Acknowledgment is made to the following pub- 
lishers for courteous permission to make quo- 
tations from their copyrighted publications: To 
The Macmillan Company for material from 
Students History ofEducaiion, by Frank Pierre- 
pont Graves; to The A. Flanagan Company 
for a quotation from My Pedagogic Creeds 
by John Dewey; to Teachers College, Colum- 
bia University, for material from the Speyer 
School Curriculum; and to the Elemenkuy 
School Teacher. 



CAMBSIDGB . MASSACHUnTTS 
O . S . A 



.^ 



CONTENTS 

Editor's Introduccion v 

Preface xi 

PART I 

\ PROJECrr WORK AS A METHOD 

'' I. The Evolution of the Principles underlying 
^ THE Project Method i 

II. The Transfer of the Principles to America . 27 

in. Modern American Principles of Education . 36 

XV. The Project Method in the Modern Public 

School 53 

V. Project Work in Trade Education .... 89 

PART II 

FROJECrr WORK AS A SUBJECT 

VI. The Evolution of the Project Subject . . 99 

Vn. The Broader Conception of the Content of 

THE Project Subject 117 

VIII. The Necessity for More Direct Teaching of 

THE Project Sxtbject 140 

IX. Summary 160 

OXTTUNE ».••• 163 



C; 



419331. 



EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION 

The life of man is a practical thing, not in any narrow 
material or utilitarian sense, but in the broadest 
spiritual meaning of practicality. His life is finally 
measured in terms of action or influence on action. 
His sensibilities and attitudes, his aversions and en- 
thusiasms, gain their ultimate worth through the 
deeds to which they commit him. His intellectual life 
is merely academic or powerfully dynamic just to the 
extent that his thoughts and their arrangements 
accurately represent the realities with which his 
technique of life deals. The process of education, 
therefore, is and ought to be highly concerned with 
bringing his emotional and intellectual training into 
correct relation with his technique of working and 
living. 

The wise educationist has perceived that this view 
of education and life is bound to reconstruct his con- 
ception of the means of giving educative experiences. 
He realizes that the subjects which Constitute the 
traditional courses of study are more or less isolated 
treatments of the real world whereby knowledge is 
resolved into separate parts by artificial though logi- 
cal boundaries. However useful these classifications 
of knowledge may be for scientific discovery or for 
keeping knowledge available for the uses of mature 



minds, it has become increasingly apparent to the 
psychologist of childhood that these groupings of 
information are not adapted to the most effective 
development of the immature and growing mind 
whose interests are quahtatively different and whose 
experiences are more meager than those of the aver- 
age adult. 

The dissatisfaction of American educators with 
traditional teaching by isolated subjects has thus far 
expressed itself in two constructive movements which 
have in turn dominated the thinking of those con- 
cerned with elementary education. 

The first of these two widespread reconstructive 
movements began with the advent of Herbartian 
doctrines which were reinterpreted, modified, and 
amplified in increasing but never completely satis- 
factory ways. The approximately isolated school 
subjects were to be tied together by "correlation." 
They were to be rescued from the humdrum of 
equal valuation through "coordination" and "con- 
centration," First one subject and then another 
was to be made the center of the curriculum and 
the child's intellectual activities. In its practical 
operations in the classroom of the unexceptional 
teacher the movement proved an unsuccessful make- 
shift. It did not attack the existing difficulties in a 
sufficiently fundamental way. The original subdi- 
visions of subject-matter were left untouched, and 
intervaluations and connections which the doctrines 



tion 



EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION 



of "correlation," "coordination," and "concentra- 
tion" could evoke were too artificial and too slight to 
be effective. 

The second of these far-reaching reconstractive 
efforts to avoid the artificial intellectual experiences 
consequent upon teaching young children by hard- 
and-fast subjects was not disconnected from the first 
movement or uninfluenced by it. Its dominant 
methods, however, are so considerably different as 
to mark it off as a distinctive impulse and process 
in American education. Its developing presence is 
manifest by the terms currently used to describe its 
varied intentions and methods. Thus at an early 
stage the lack of intellectual initiative and resource 
in children is to be overcome by "teaching children 
to study," A little later the emotional dullness of 
the school is to be conquered by new methods of 
"motivation." Still later, instruction through the 
"problem" becomes important. And now we hear 
of "project teaching." 

Each of these phrases indicates an effort to over- 
come some prevalent defect in the teaching situation. 
"Project teaching" is the more inclusive swing of a 
current movement which is trying to organize educa- 
tion on a practical psychological basis. The claim is 
made that it does this in many ways. A few of the 
major contentions may be mentioned, (r) The study 
of vitally related facts in isolation from each other is 
overcome by studying truths as required and related 




r 



EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION 

by the need to solve problems connected with the 
execution of desirable projects. (2) Personal initia- 
tive in the finding of needed facts and discriminating 
judgment in determining the relative worth of facts 
found are two powers which are stimulated and devel- 
oped by the perfectly natural need of the child to 
solve a problem or execute a project in which he is 
interested. These powers or abilities have been diffi- 
cult to evoke under traditional methods of teaching. 

(3) Working and living attitudes are provoked and 
corrected in connection with actual realities and 
working aspirations through project teaching. Thus 
there is no false development of the emotional life 

■ such as is the case when sentiment is created out of 
connection with imescapable truths ajid effective 
skills. Motivation becomes real rather than artifi- 
dal, self-stimulated rather than externally imposed. 

(4) The need of high standard skills in doing is 
readily appreciated and practice work heartily ac- 
cepted by students when they see that faint skill, 
or no skill, leads to obvious failure and that ample 
and refined technique in execution leads to marked 
success. 

The above are some of the claims for "project 
teaching." They are too important to be ignored. 
They promise a rectification of many defects. The 
fulfillment of that promise depends partly upon the 
soimdness of the psychology assumed by the claim- 
eints, and partly upon the skill of the experimentalists 



L 



EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION 

in providing an ample organization of appealing proj- 
ects which will stimulate the child to make ^ose 
acquisitions of knowledges, attitudes, and skills use- 
ful to superior adults living in a responsible society. 
The hope is not held out that everything necessary 
can be, or ought to be, taught through the project. 
Unquestionably the method will be more useful with 
yoimg rather than with advanced students. With 
the former it will doubtless make haste slowly, but 
with the more mature, who can see connections with 
the swiftness of logical imagination, the over-employ- 
ment of such a method may mean intellectual retar- 
dation. Every approach to teaching has its strengths 
and weaknesses, and the wise schoolmaster will heed 
both. In this novel revival of a very fundamental 
and ancient way of learning, which schools had for- 
gotten, it is rather startling to note how much learn- 
ing and teaching through the ^'project" promises. 
Yet little will come out of this extension of practical 
ways of teaching into the schools unless the historic 
backgroimds of its advent into school theory are 
understood, its psychological implications compre- 
hended, its particular opportunities appreciated, and 
its concrete procedures mastered. Hie book pre- 
sented has been written with these essential require- 
ments in mind. 

Henry Suzzallo 

SeatUCf WashingUm 
April 26, 1920 



PREFACE 

American education has been quite generally char- 
acterized by a tendency to seize upon and to over- 
emphasize, temporarily, certain aspects of the total 
problem. This tendency to over-emphasis opens the 
way for a given aspect to become detached and to be 
regarded as more or less independent. It thus gets 
out of perspective, and is likely to be looked upon as 
a separate, specific, new invention which is "in the 
fashion," and which one must therefore know and 
use; but which is, perhaps, to be discarded for the 
next innovation that comes along. Or, if it is not to 
be totally discarded, it is at least to become seriously 
submerged in the next new thing. 

It is common for the progressive teacher who has 
been out of touch with the march of events for even a 
short time, to ask, upon returning, "Well, what's the 
cry now?" Then she hears that it is object teaching, 
or Grube method in arithmetic, or school excursions, 
or interest (motivation), or elimination of subject- 
matter, or standardization, or some other "ism" or 
"ation" which has caught the current for the time 
being. The result often is that the teacher in ques- 
tion plunges with her accumulated enthusiasm into 
the new thing, without relationship and balance, and 
tends to emphasize it as a more or less mechanical 



I 



PREFACE 

surface device, rather than as a flexible outgrowth 
of the deep principles in which it is really rooted. 

It is not that the relation to principles is not seen 
by those who originated the idea. The whole process 
usually starts from the presence of the principle 
(whether intuitively or logically arrived at) in the 
mind of some thinker or group of thinkers. But the 
principle must get into action in a more or less con- 
crete and detached manner, and in the minds of those 
who think less, the connection is very likely to be 
lost. 

The condition just discussed is evident in regard to 
the "project," "project method," "project teach- 
ing," or whatever other name may be given to the 
idea involved in such terms. This idea has grown out 
of the profound insight (sometimes intuitive, and 
sometimes logically conceived) on the part of a few 
leaders. Kept in right relationship to the problem of 
education as a whole, it has even greater possibilities 
than have yet been claimed for it. Yet it is surely 
tending to become detached as a fashion, as a device, 
used more or less blindly, and without full realization 
of its significance and power. 

Some teachers tend to look upon the "project" as 
a method — as a means of getting work done in almost 
any subject, as a device for interesting children in the 
subject, or for the correlation of subjects, etc. Other 
teachers look upon it as the central element in a new 
subject^ or evea as a new subject in itself, which sub- 

xu 




PREFACE 

ject is, in some more or less indefinite way, to tate the 
place of manual training and domestic science and 
art, under the name of "Industrial Arts" or other 
similar title. 

What is the relation of the "project" work to the 
problem of education as a whole? Is "project" work 
a method or a subject, or both? These questions must 
be discussed and answered for the rank and file of 
teachers if "project" work is not to be allowed to 
become detached in the nature of device, and gradu- 
ally shelved for the next thing in fashion. 

It seems possible to show that the so-called "proj- 
ect" work is both a method and a subject, and that 
the idea consistently appealed to could be made to 
interpret and to relate much that is hazy and appar- 
ently unrelated in American education. "Project 
teaching" has become a method because in all good 
schools ^'project" work in all subjects is a direct and 
inevitable result of the working-out of the most funda^ 
mental of modern educational principles. It is a sub- 
ject because "project" material can be so organized as 
to fulfill a specific need not met by any other school 
subject. It is a need which has never been fully real- 
ized, expressed, or incorporated into the school pro- 
gram, but which must be definitely incorporated if 
democratic education is fully to succeed. To incor- 
porate tl'ia subject will not necessarily involve an 
increase in the number of school subjects. Rightly 
handled it will tend to reduce rather than to increase 



I 



J 



PREFAGB 

oyercrowding of the already ftill curriculum. The 
new subject will have relation to manual training and 
to domestic science and art, and it will have a rela- 
tion to the newer "Industrial Arts" courses. But it 
will have a significance not specifically found in any 
one of these courses. 

What the fundamental principles in modem educa- 
tion are, and how they make "project" work inevit- 
able as a method in all subjects, it is one of the prob- 
lems of this book to make dear. The other problem 
is that of showing the body of material for the new 
school subject, and of justifying its substitution for 
its more indefinite existing representatives. 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 



PART I 
PROJECT WORK AS A METHOD 



THE EVOLUTION OF THE PRINCIPLES UNDER- 
LYING THE PROJECTT METHOD 

One of the best ways to get principles in mind, to 
assimilate their real significance, and so to be able 
to use them to interpret a given situation, is that of 
tracing their development through their simple and 
gradually more and more complex stages. This plan 
provides the key to the significance of the principles, 
and furnishes the repetition necessary to a familiarity 
with them. Seeking, therefore, a grasp of the prin- 
ciples of modem education sufficiently comprehen- 
sive to clarify the idea of the place of the project in 
that education, it is worth while to turn to a brief 
consideration of the evolution of educational prin- 
ciples.' 

But since the aim of the historical survey is just 
that of interpreting the modem project movement, 
it is necessary to go back only to some point of de- 
parture subsequent to which all of the essential prin- 

> The historic&l material b largely from the work of Graves. 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

ciples are involved. Such a point is found in th( 
eighteenth-century reforms advocated by Rousseau 
Pestalozzi, Froebel, Herbart, and some of their less 
well-known disciples. Of course the members of thisL 
group of thinkers, who have practically "set the 
pace" for modem education, were in their turn influ- 
enced by other thinkers in the generations before 
them; but it is not necessary to the present purpose 
to outline those influences. It is only necessary to 
turn at once to the masters named — the masters 
whose wonderful, but largely intuitive, insight is 
being continually verified by the slower, but more 
finally reliable, methods of later scholarly research. 

In the times referred to, the prevailing education, 
in spite of the efforts of certain far-seeing scholars 
of previous centuries, was Church-controlled, aris- 
tocratic, expensive, almost exclusively linguistic in 
content, and formal and individual in method. Stated 
more concretely it may be said that the Church still 
had a tendency to dominate even the State. Only 
the higher classes of the people were educated, educa- 
tion was not free, and the memoriter study of Latin 
and Greek classical literature provided the bulk of 
the curriculum. This literature was taught largely 
from the point of view of the individual, and in a 
mechanical (grammatical) manner, with much more 
regard for the mere form than for the content. 

To-day education is largely State-controlled, non- 
sectarian, democratic, free, much enlarged and en- 

2 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

riched in content^ and less formal; mcchanlcali 
memoriter; and more social, thought-provoking, and 
scientific in method. It is the evolution from one of 
these conditions to the other with which this section 
is concerned as a brief preliminary to a later pointing- 
out of the relationship of this evolution to the in- 
creasing prominence of the project idea. 

The reforms of this evolution have been at least 
threefold in character. They have been sociological, 
psychological, and scientific. Defined very loosely 
the sociological movement is the trend toward regard- 
ing education as a social function, and the aim of edu- 
cation as sodal improvement or the so-called "social 
efficiency." The psychological movement is the 
trend toward basing education upon a clear knowl- 
edge about, and a correct utilization of, the mind of 
the learner. The scientific movement is the trend 
toward the introduction of natural science and its 
immediate usefulness as a substitute for the older 
linguistic education with its exaggerated formal dis- 
cipline theory — its theory that through the study 
of language, power was definitely stored up and could 
be used in other chosen connections. The scientific 
movement also has another aspect in the development 
of scientific method, which method is slowly but surely 
making itself felt in all phases of human life. It leans 
toward the application of that form of induction 
which makes intelligent use of the hypothesis, con- 
firmed on the basis of actual data. As a method it is 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

held to be convertible. That is to say it is considered 
usable in various connections for the solution of vari- 
ous types of problems. Hence it represents that en- 
lightened aspect of the formal discipline theory which 
claims transfer of method rather than transfer of 
specific power. 

For the purposes of this discussion it is unnecessary 
to try to keep the types of refonn (sociological, psy- 
chological, and scientific) entirely separated. In- 
deed, it is quite clear that it is impossible fully to 
separate them, since at times each becomes an aspect 
of the other. But in spite of this fact the three main 
lines may form a sort of supporting background upon 
which to weave the discussion, 

A. EOnSSEAU 

Focusing temporarily upon Rousseau and his the- 
ories, it is plain that the key to his influence and real 
importance lies in his intention to awaken the people 
from their apathy in regard to education as a remedy 
for social Uls — as a universal means of propagation 
and realization of social programs. TTiis position at 
once minimizes mere knowledge as the aim of educa- 
tion, and stands for doing, for efBciency in action; and 
it plans to use both knowing and doing in the service 
of a series of consciously held social ideals. In it 
there is implied the relation of philosophy and educa- 
tion. Unless social development is to be left to hap- 
hazard chance only, some one must have a conscious 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

social philosophy — a conscious social program. 
Then education may be used as a means for the car- 
rying-out of this program. The philosophy behind 
the program should, in so far as possible, of course, be 
backed up by a knowledge of systematized social 
facts (social science) ; but, in the long run, what one 
attempts to do with the facts depends upon his social 
philosophy or set of more or less consciously formu- 
lated social ideals which he conceives to be consistent 
with themselves and with life. Sometimes, it is true, 
only certain leaders of a society are conscious of the 
real aims (ideals), and, by means of a subtle process 
of suggestion, lead the masses of the people, through 
the natural human tendency to uncritical concerted 
action (crowd psychology), to accept and to act upon 
them. The root of the action is stitl in thinking, in 
point of view, in ideals, in philosophy, but it is in the 
thinkin g of the few who manipulate the many. 

It was this autocratic, aristocratic, unfair manipu- 
lation of the many by the few, which finally caused 
the revolt of Rousseau. His social ideals (his new 
social philosophy) became a revolt against civiliza- 
tion itself, even to the extent at first of repudiation 
of society, and return to extreme individualism and 
"state of nature." Later he softens this and finds 
the ideal state not in the "state of nature," but in a 
"society where simplicity and natural wants control, 
and where aristocracy and artificiality do not exist 



1 



I 
I 

(Graves). But he had really to give up going even ^M 

L i 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

this far, and in his £mUe merely tries to show "how 
education might minimize the drawbacks of civiliza- 
tion, and bring men as near to nature as possible" 
(Graves). The education advocated in the ^rnile 
is really aristocratic, contradictory, and in many ways 
absurd. Yet its influence, in its essence, has been 
toward the ideals which Rousseau earlier enimciated 
— toward the overthrow of aristocracy, artificiality, 
non-understanding, arrogance, and exploitation, and 
the encouragement of democracy, simplicity, cooper- 
ation, and the rights of the common man (individual), 
and of common men (social). 

But it is, perhaps, for his intuitive psychological 
insight, and for his attempt to found pedagogy upon 
child psychology, that Rousseau is to be most ad- 
mired. This intellectual theorist who could not put 
his own theories into operation; this father who re- 
fused to father his own children; this thinker whose 
thoughts often contradict each other, and often lead 
him into absurdities; this psychologizer whose times 
provided only a formal and a now discarded psychol- 
ogy — did, nevertheless, out of his intuitive apprecia- 
tion of the child mind, out of his ability to see the 
world through the child's eyes, lay down the essen- 
tials of modem psychological procedure. In spite of 
the impracticability and the absurd contradictions 
in his total work, the truth lifts its head and is not to 
be mistaken. 

His first and foremost p^diological contribuf* 



r 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

was emphasis upon the fact that although education 
was to be used to further a social program, yet it 
could not begin on the basis of that program — on 
the basis of adult preconceptions as to what the child 
should know and do in the future. It should rather 
take the child as a center, and begin on the basis of 
what is given in the child. First and foremost it 
should be recognized that the child is not merely a 
miniature adult, but that he has an individuality and 
a nature of his own. In Rousseau's time children 
were dressed as adults, given the manners of adults, 
and in every way considered from that point of view. 
He proposed that a shift be made to the point of 
view of the child; that the child be regarded as a 
child ; and that it be recognized that the child reaches 
adulthood only after starting with an original equip- 
ment of instincts, impulses, and tendencies, and pro- 
ceeding through a natural change or development, 
more or less definitely divided into periods. To this 
natural foundation, and to the natural process of 
development, physical, mental, and moral, educa- 
tion cannot (with the best results) be antagonistic. 
These things should be reckoned with. They should 
be seized upon and made allies if education is to be 
most successful. The foundation must be recog- 
nized, and the process uninterfered with, if the best 
success is to come. The child must be shielded from 
being forced into adult methods of thinkin g and act- 
', since such methods are not suitable to him. 



I 

I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

Rousseau also pointed out that the method of de- 
velopment from childhood to adulthood is through 
interaction of tite natural child with his environ- 
ment. The chUd is developed (changed) through his 
experience; and experience is defined as everything 
that happens to him through his contact with his 
environment. But while this plan recognizes the 
"natural" process of development in the child, and 
stands for non-interference with that process, its very 
essence is, nevertheless, a policy of interference with 
the direction of the development. That direction is 
to be toward those ideals which the adult, in his more 
or less conscious philosophy of life, holds for the 
child. The child is to be guided into those ideals, 
and not merely forced into them through an external 
fashioning, or plastering on from without. There is, 
rather, to be such manipulation of the environment 
that the interaction of the manipulated environ- 
ment, with the recognized equipment and personal- 
ity of the child, results in development in the chan- 
nels desired. It is well to keep in mind this differ- 
ence between (i) a policy of recognition of original 
equipment, and of non-interference with natural 
processes of development, and (2) a policy of con- 
scious, judicious, guiding interference, intended to 
direct the development toward certain ideals which 
the adult hopes may in time become consciously pur- 
sued by the child himself. 
In thinking about what naturi " 'of the 



1^ 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

child were to be reckoned with, to be seized upon 
and utilized, Rousseau in his original revolt against 
society, and his consequent return to extreme indi- 
vidualism, neglected one of the most primitive and 
important ■ — perhaps the most important — of them 
all. This was the tendency instinctively and uncriti- 
cally to act in concert with the group. To it the race 
in its early history probably owes its survival. In it 
13 found the guarantee of future, more conscious and 
intelligent, sympathy and cooperation. It is charac- 
terized in itself, however, by an uncritical acceptance 
of suggestion, by an untliaught acquiescence and 
crowd psychology. Uncontrolled it gives little hope 
of being the means of modem progress. Perhaps 
this is why Rousseau in the £mile put oS an emphasis 
upon social conformity until very late in his pupil's 
life. It was natural for him to recognize and to pro- 
mote individuality, and he discovered that founded 
in another deeply rooted, primitive tendency — the 
tendency to solve problems which seemed real prob- 
lems to the individual, the tendency to vary instead 
of to conform, the tendency to invent, to meet new 
situations, the tendency to tkink. This thinking be- 
comes the balance wheel for an uncritical conformity. 
In seizing upon it, Rousseau unerringly seized the key 
to the whole situation. He recognized its connection 
with motor activity, and with play; and threw his in- 
fluence in the direction of these desirable allies of 



1 

I 




PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

As to the materials of education, Rousseau, in his 
preference for "nature," naturally turned to the en- 
vironment. It was the soil, the crops, the trees, the 
animals, birds, and insects, which should furnish the 
experience necessary to development. This empha- 
sis upon the utilization of the natural environment 
made Rousseau one of the first advocates of the scien- 
tific movement, as he was also one of the first advo- 
cates of the sociological and of the psychological 
movements. He became an advocate of a curriculum 
containing much natural science (not yet very well 
organized) in contrast to the prevailing linguistic 
content. He advocated the immediately useful, in 
contrast to dependence upon the more bookish, formal 
discipline idea. In addition to this he advocated the 
turning of this more practical content in the direction 
of industry, and thought of industrial training as a 
preparation for personal support, as well as for the 
development of social understanding and cooperation. 
But he neglected the past and tended to rob the 
child of his social inheritance of history, literature, 
language, and book knowledge in general. 

Basedow, as a disciple of Rousseau, made more 
specific some of the positions of his master, and tried 
to get them into practice through his "philanthropin- 
ic" movement. He advocated non-sectarian. State- 
controlled education (sociological); education prac- 
tical in content (scientific), and playful in method 
(psychological). The movement spread rapidly in 



L 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

Europe, but the principles were early forgotten and 
the movement became a fad, and died out without 
permanent action; but it aided, in the long run, Rous- 
seau's influence upon his more permanently successful 
followers, Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Herbart. 

B. PESTALOZZI 

Pestalozzi became interested in Rousseau's writ- 
ings, and set out to raise his son on the Rousselian 
principles. He, however, developed and modified 
the ideas involved, and was the first to get them at 
least partially into practice. He carried over the idea 
of education as a remedy for social ills — as a means 
for the realization of social programs, based upon a 
social philosophy. Thus he tended to emphasize 
both knowing and doing, and not only knowing and 
doing alone, but knowing and doing in the service 
of certain more or less consciously formulated ideals. 
Moreover, he made practical inclusion in his plan of 
all children, a thing which Rousseau had conceived 
only in his earlier theory. In £mile he was com- 
mitted to aristocratic education — to the training of 
the gentleman, and of the woman who was to be his 
wife. Pestalozzi, on the other hand, not only the- 
oretically, but also actually, took to his heart the 
children of the poor. Yet, while he was willing to 
spend himself in a philanthropic effort in behalf of the 
poor, it is not dear that Pestalozzi had in mind a real 
democratic education which would permit any person 

XX 



r 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

to fall or rise according to his abilities. He did define 
education as "the harmonious development of all the 
powers and capacities of the human being." But he 
seemed to leave a place for caste, and to feel that the 
natural powers of those who were in low stations were 
to be so treated as to fit them for those stations only. 
The poor were thus to be educated for their natural 
place in the industrial world. Also, education of the 
poor was conceived as a philanthropic undertaking, 
and did not rise to the proposition of a common- 
school education for all, at the expense of the State. 
Children were to leam a trade, and at the same time, 
as a sort of side issue, they were to be given intellec- 
tual and moral advancement. He did not conceive 
of free pubhc schools as we know them. His point of 
view, however, even going only so far as it did, was 
revolutionary for the times. 

Pestalozzi's psychology, and his attempt to found a 
pedagogy upon it, were, as in the case of Rousseau, 
intuitive. In their conclusions the two had much in 
common, Pestalozzi followed his master in making 
the child the center, and in arguing that education 
must be with direct reference to the natural develop- 
ment of the whole child, physical, mental, and moral. 
The child was to be considered as a child and taught 
as a child, and not according to adult ways and pre- 
conceptions. His endowment and his natural proc- 
esses of development were to be reckoned with; and 
with regard to the processes, the same policy of non- 



r 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 



interference was to be followed. Hence the begin- 
ning was to be in the child's natural equipment of 
instincts, impulses, and tendencies; and development 
was to proceed through its natural periods to its 
adult conclusion. But in its totality the result was 
to be the product of the interaction of two forces — 
the natural endowment, and the influence of the en- 
vironment. Education was not to be a veneer me- 
chanically plastered on from without. It was rather 
to be a developmental blend of external and internal 
factors in the total life of the child. 

But, although carryuig out the policy of non-in- 
terference with processes, Pestalozzi was necessarily 
committed to the policy of specific interference with . 
the direction of the processes (just as Rousseau was). 
For he planned, by tactful manipulation of the 
environment, to influence child development in the 
direction of his social program. As has been said, 
he, in common with Rousseau, thought of this ma- 
nipulation in relation to, and conditioned by, the 
nature of the child; but he made a very significant 
original contribution by thinking of it also in relation 
to, and conditioned by, the nature of subject-matter 
(subject-matter being understood to be organized 
experience, used for the purposes of directing child 
development). He thought of this subject-matter as 
"psychologized" (to use Dewey's word) — as itself 
manipulated, until it was ready for reception by the 
mind of the learner. To this end he beg >c- 

13 



I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

ess of analysis of each subject of the curriculum into 
its simplest elements, and of arranging these ele- 
ments in order so that a "cumulative effect" could 
be produced by presenting the analyzed material 
step-by-step in a series of graded exercises. His "ab 
abs" in reading, and his "tables of imits" in arith- 
metic have been household words in America, and 
whatever portion of these specific applications may 
have passed away has not carried with it any of the 
real significance of the principle, for the principle 
remains to-day as one of the valued possessions of 
good teachers. 

Pestalozzi also made other contributions (intui- 
tively arrived at) to the psychology of teaching. 
Among them was his insistence upon the necessity 
for a pause at each stage of the learning process in 
order to give time for the assimilation of the new. 
In addition to this there was his contribution to the 
psychology of discipline. This came out of his love 
for children and his intuitive insight into child life; 
and laid the foundation for a revolution in the disci- 
plinary attitude of the schools. For, both because he 
loved to make children happy, and because he in- 
tuitively realized the good effect upon the learning 
process, he made the atmosphere of the school one 
of good-will and love, and displaced the prevailing 
dogmatic authority and harshness. He was "Fa- 
ther" Pestalozzi, the ideal type of the teacher. His 
emphasis upon "periods of development" might also 

14 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

be called almost original in that it was more psycho- 
logical than that of Rousseau. The latter empha- 
sized as serial, periods which are really concomitant; 
but Pestalozzi was dimly, at least, in real psychology 
when he made his statement that " the time for learn- 
ing is not the time for judgment and criticism." 
Neither did he forget the two fundamental tendencies 
of originality and conformity. He encouraged in- 
vention, the meeting of new situations, the solving 
of problems, and insisted that these problems should 
be problems which the child found for himself, or 
which were at least recognized by him as real prob- 
lems. On the other hand, he worked for understand- 
ing, for social cooperation, and he seems to have had 
some originality in his balancing of these two natu- 
rally opposing forces. 

Since the materials of education were again to be 
those simple, practical ones of the environment, Pes- 
talozzi inclined to minimize books, and to emphasize 
sense-training and industrial education. Indeed, it 
is perhaps Pestalozzi's "object teaching," his "obser- 
vation for the sake of developing clear ideas," and the 
industrial content of his curriculum, that are the 
things for which he is best known (at least in the 
United States). Thus he also becomes represent- 
ative of the scientific movement — the movement 
toward the practical and the useful — as well as 
representative of the sociological and of the psycho- 
logical movements. 

IS 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

C. 7R0EBEL 

I 

Two important lines of influence have flowed from 
Pestalozzi through his successors^ Froebel and Her- 
bart. 

Froebel was a direct student of the theories of Pes- 
talozzi, and more or less indirectly of those of Rous- 
seau. He took over most of their principles, and 
hence in his policies there is much of similarity to the 
other two great teachers. He looked for social regen- 
eration through education, minimized mere knowing, 
emphasized doing, and planned to use both knowing 
and doing in the service of philosophical and social 
ideals. His expressed philosophy is, however, ex- 
tremely m3rstical and symbolical; and while it dis- 
tributes itself very prominently throughout his work, 
yet it is not necessarily an organic part of it. It deals 
with a m3rstic imity of relation between man and 
nature; and FroebePs writings are usually interpreted 
to mean that children are to be made conscious of this 
m3rstic imity. It is possible to take another view. 
It is possible to conceive that through their contact 
with certain natural phenomena, children might im- 
consciously gather and treasure up a background of 
impressions, attitudes, and interpretative illustra- 
tions, which would in later years be the raw material 
for the better appreciation of the divine unity. How- 
ever this may be, it is when we look away from 
this mystic philosophical and social program to his 

i6 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

"social participation" that we find a great original 
contribution. In this he proposed a shift from the aim 
of the school as a place to prepare for social life, to 
the aim of regarding the school itself as a miniature 
society, and of regarding actual present participation 
in this miniature society as the most certain means of 
insuring adequate participation in an enlarged so- 
ciety. In the school society, children were to learn 
co&peration by practicing coSperation; they were to 
learn democracy by practicing democracy; and in 
general were to be brought into organic touch with life 
as it is lived in i.'s simpler and more desirable forms. 
Thus they were to live themselves into the larger and 
more extended life, and to find their habits and atti- 
tudes naturally right. 

In his psychological views (when he let himself go, 
and depended upon his intuidve insight rather than 
his mystical-philosophical-psychological views) he 
was largely in accord with the others who have been 
discussed; but made larger original additions, am- 
plifications, and changes of emphasis. He, perhaps 
more even than the others, recognized the child as 
the real center, wished to reach all children (although 
not necessarily with free schools), and had a respect, 
amounting almost to veneration, for the possibilities 
involved in each individual child. He saw education 
as real development; and advocated the development 
of the whole child, physical, mental, and moral (and 
he would add, spiritual). This education was to be 
17 



1 



I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

founded upon original instincts, impulses, and tend- 
encies; and he increased the stress upon this idea. In 
his judgment the germ of the total f utiure character 
was within the child. All it needed was the right 
atmosphere in which to develop. He (in common 
with Rousseau) held that the right atmosphere is the 
atmosphere of nature. Hence under a S3rstem of love 
(Pestalozzi's idea of discipline), joy, and freedom, and 
in "a school without books or set tasks," but in free 
interaction with nature, the result was siure to be 
good. 

With his supreme confidenjce in Pestalozzi's prin- 
ciple of natural development, he was a most ardent 
advocate of non-interference with the natural proc- 
esses of development. He recognized child nature 
in development, and reckoned with it. He wanted 
development to be free, and therefore tried to grasp 
the natural process and to make it an ally. '^ Educa- 
tion,'* he said, "in instruction and training, should be 
passive, following; not prescriptive, categorical, in- 
terfering." But he, as did the others, provided for 
interference with the direction of development; and 
wished, through manipulation of the environment, to 
guide development toward certain chosen ends. Yet 
he wanted even this directing, this guidance, to be 
more in the way of opening the right opportunity, 
and of permiUing the child to enter into it through 
his own inner impulses, than in forcing him into a 
prearranged mould. In this sense he trusted inner 

i8 



rTHE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES ^M 

development, and had a general policy of "hands ^M 
oS." ■ 



This policy was largely due to his special insight 
into what constituted the natural tendencies to be 
utilized. We have seen how, in his "social participa- 
tion," he emphasized the tendency to conformity 
based upon suggestion afforded by the social environ- 
ment. He also wanted to see children exercise their 
natural tendency to be individual, to vary, to solve 
problems. But he emphasized, especially, motor 
activity as common to both of these tendencies; and 
greatly illuminated them by insisting that not mere 
activity, but se//"-activity was the thing to be desired. 
By self-activity he meant the activity that springs, 
not from teacher pressure, but from the child's own 
inner impulses and decisions. Thus there comes about 
a real inner motive (not an externally attached one) 
for the solution of problems. There is an individual- 
ity, an initiative, a selfhood in learning (even in the 
learning to conform). These mean, in turn, leader- 
ship — creativeness. 

Since Froebel considered play, song, and all motor 
expression as the most fundamental self-activities, 
these naturally became the j core of his system. 
Games, music, and practical work in the open 
air predominated. Children sang, played, "built 
dams and windmiUs, fortresses and castles, and 
searched the woods for animals, birds, insects, and 
flowers." But they also heard hteiary and historical 
19 



I 



J 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

stories (in this he paralleled Herbart), and so had 
the benefit of a more rounded, and less exclusively 
linguistic, education. 

As an assistance to the necessary amount of adult 
direction of child activity, the materials of education 

— playthings, games, songs, and bodily movements 

— were to a degree selected, systematized, and tact- 
fully introduced with reference to the development 
to be achieved. This organization included the 
well-known "gifts" and "occupations." The theory 
was that children would naturally play, sing, be in 
numberless wa3rs self-active in response to nature. 
Therefore if repression and formalism in instruction 
were disregarded, and judicious manipulation of en- 
vironment tactfully adiieved, they could be led — 
not forced — to engage in those pla3rs, and other 
activities most tiseful to their development. This 
method, as used by Froebel, was indirect, incidental, 
and would probably have been made more direct as 
children grew older. But Froebel does not express 
himself as to whether, with older children, he would 
have more books, more set tasks, and more conscious 
learning of specific things. He, of course, was igno- 
rant of the modem theory of habit formation, which 
calls, in a degree, for direct rather than for indirect 
and incidental instruction. 

In his theory of content, Froebel was a strong ad- 
vocate of Rousseau's and Pestalozzi's doctrine of 
industrial education. But he gave less stress to this 

20 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

work for the sake of making a living, and more upon 
the idea of constructive and occupational (industrial) 
work for their purely developmental results in physi- 
cal education, and in social (mental, moral, spiritual) 
development, leading to social sympathy, insight^ 
and equalized cooperation. 

He did not continue Pestalozzi's analysis of sub- 
jects of instruction into their elements, although that 
he did not was a natural outcome of his special inter- 
est in yoimg children, and of his special emphasis 
upon the unity of experience. He rightly felt that, 
with young children, experience is a totality unorgan- 
ized into subjects, but existing as a total relation of 
child and environment. Just how much he would 
have been inclined to differentiate subjects later in 
the child's life, if he had outlined his work for the 
later period, can only be a matter of conjecture. 

Neither did he deal much with "periods" of de- 
velopment, since he confined his activities largely to 
infant education; but, in turning attention to this 
need for earlier attention to the education of the 
young, he advocated a needed crucial reform which 
has not yet been acted upon with anywhere near the 
needed universality. To "reform the education of 
the nursery" (even to the extent of beginning with 
birth or even before birth, perhaps), to prevent un- 
desirable developments from even starting, and. thus 
prevent the future necessity for breaking down (with 
the consequent loss) that which has already been 

21 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

built up, is one of the profoundest and most impor- 
tant of all educational suggestions. 

Thus Froebel in his sociological and psychological 
views did much to change education from the older 
aristocratic, linguistic, and formal conditions. In his 
emphasis upon nature-study, and upon Pestalozzi's 
"objective" and "observational" methods, he was 
also directly in the current of the scientific move- 
ment. 

D. HEBBART 

Herbart was a student of Pestalozzi's ideas, and a 
reviewer of them. In general he leans toward the 
principles already discussed, although he makes his 
own contributions toward them. In his social phi* 
losophy he looks toward education for all; and, more 
definitely than any one previous to him, he gave up 
mere knowing and doing as ends, and insisted upon 
knowing and doing in the service of a specific ideal. 
That ideal to Herbart was morality — character. 
Education was to have as its supreme end the sjrs- 
tematic building up of those attitudes and relation- 
ships to society which constitute the moral law. 
The whole child was to be educated, but all other 
phases, physical or mental, were to focus in the moral. 

In his psychology he saw education as develop- 
ment through interaction of the child and his environ- 
ment; but, apparently, he emphasized in this develop- 
ment, the effect of the external factor — the building 

22 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

up of the mind from without through environmental 
influences — even as Froebei put emphasis upon the 
development from within. Yet this emphasis upon 
the external was more apparent than real, and came 
in a great measure from his attempt to prepare sub- 
ject-matter for the mind whose initial equipment and 
natural developmental processes he tried to under- 
stand and to reckon with. All of his main doctrines, 
which are to be later noticed, show him as advocating 
non-interference with natural processes, and as look- 
ing for a je//-realization comparable to Froebel's self- 
activity. But he also wanted careful and expert in- 
terference with the direction of the natural processes, 
as a means for the development of sound moral char- 
acter. This selection of morality as the aim, though 
tending to be narrowly conceived, had the virtue of 
being more conscious and definite than any previous 
program. In the carrying out of this program, he 
depended upon the native tendency to imcritical 
acceptance of suggestion, and resultant action with 
the group. But he also put special emphasis upon 
thinking, upon variation, upon the solution of prob- 
lems; and in doing so, made clearer than any one else 
the relation of specific aim to solution. To his way of 
thinking there was necessity for cooperation; but for 
a more intelligent cooperation, based upon judgment 
and individual insight. Thus he hoped for a better 
balance of conformity and invention, of social and 
individual, than had yet been achieved. 
23 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

He recognized "periods" of development with 
much more tendency toward real science than did his 
predecessors. He saw also the relation of motor 
activity and play to the problem of development, 
especially with regard to specific aims for attack 
upon problems; and in general accepted in varying 
degree the better aspects of the work of other leaders. 
In a greater emphasis upon careful study of indi- 
vidual differences in equipment and developmental 
tendencies, he was imique. 

But he went further and made an attempt to apply 
real scientific method to education. He began a con- 
scious inquiry into the real psychology back of his 
ideas. He did not depend alone upon a sympathetic 
insight into child nature, as did Pestalozzi, nor upon 
this sympathetic insight plus a vague and mystical- 
philosophical-psychological view as did Froebel. He 
attempted rather to develop a perfectly clear, practi- 
cal, and scientific psychology of the learning process, 
together with a scientific analysis of the nature of 
subject-matter, and of its relation to the learning 
process. Out of these he planned to develop a peda- 
gogy which was in scientific accord both with the na- 
ture of mind and of subject-matter. 

While there is disagreement as to just how much 
of Herbart's psychology was merely fanciful and me- 
chanical, yet there is no doubt about the enormous 
influence exerted by the more definite reference of 
pedagogy to che psychology of the learning process. 

24 



THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 

To use an analogy, Rousseau and Pestalozzi were 
fanners by the cut-and-try, trial and error, practical- 
art, plan. Froebel looked for scientific direction, but 
he admitted some pseudo-science of the phases of the 
. moon, and the influence of other m3rstical and sym- 
bolic factors upon seed and soil. But Herbart, 
though perhaps he did not see all of the correct scien- 
tific principles, was at least more consistently scien- 
tific than the others, and gave the impetus to much 
of the present scientific procedure. 

He conceived the center of the learning process to 
be a conflict of ideas already in the mind, with ideas 
concerning outside subject-matter desiring admit- 
tance to the mind. In the process of this conflict, the 
new was assimilated, or ''apperceived," and found its 
place in the total mental content. This appercep- 
tion or assimilation (in his opinion) took place in 
relation to, and by means of, certain "interests" or 
motives; and it could be directed toward the final 
"morality" which was the real end of all education. 
Especially significant for the development of this 
morality were history, language, and literature; and 
Herbart emphasized these subjects in contrast to the 
program of geography, natural science, reading, form- 
study, drawing, writing, and music of Pestalozzi. He 
also emphasized the interrelations of studies (correla- 
tion), and analyzed his apperception idea into cer- 
tain steps to which he fitted certain "formal steps 
of instruction." Thus he brought the idea of system 

25 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

and order into pedagogy — a S3rstem and an order 
founded upon a conscious theory of the mind in rela- 
tion to the nature of the learning process. 

Although his particular S3rstem is not popular at 
present, since it is held to be in conflict with later 
developments in psychology, yet his idea that there 
could be, and that there should be, a conscious sjrs- 
tern — a teaching scientifically in accord with a con- 
scious, scientific theory of the learning process, is one 
of the mightiest forces active in the education which 
has followed him. 

In his over-emphasis upon history, literature, and 
language, he minimizes the scientific movement (in 
the sense of heavy scientific content of the curricu- 
lum); but his great contribution to the scientific 
movement understood in the sense of scientific 
method will alwa3rs stand as a monument to him, 
even though his particular contribution to it may 
fade away. 



THE TRANSFER OF THE PRINCIPLES TO AMERICA 

The transfer to America of these principles, and the 
resulting practice, and their incorporation into Amer- 
ican education is now to be briefly considered. The 
seventeenth-century American education was but a 
duplication of that prevailing in Europe. Generally 
speaking it may be said that the system was brought 
over intact by the colonists, and was of the regulation 
Church-controlled, aristocraric, linguistic, and formal 
type. It was well into the eighteenth century before 
the evoluUon of American social and political ideals 
had crystallized sufficiently to provide a basis for any 
distinctively American educational ideals. 

It was the spirit of the RevoluUon — the vision of 
the new freedom — that turned to education in real- 
izing its plans. There is no doubt that in the plan 
itself, and in the attitude toward education as an aid 
to the plan, the uifluence of Rousseau was very great. 
His works were read in America, and his ideals influ- 
enced profoundly the leaders who were doing the 
constructive work for the new type of common- 
wealth. Gradually, as a result of that beginning, 
there has come about a complete secularization of the 
school, a democratization of it, and a State control 
and support. There are, in theory at least, free 
27 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

schools in which all of the children of all of the people 
have opportunity for education. In these schools 
there is a widely expanded curriculum, and a less 
formal and mechanical method, which method has 
the intention, at least, of balancing the individual 
and social aspects of life, and of being scientifically 
adjusted to the natural development of child mind. 

But after all, much of the influence which brought 
about these remarkable changes did not come di- 
rectly through Rousseau. Much of it did not even 
exist in Rousseau. It was, however, from his won- 
derfully suggestive ideas, caught up and disseminated 
by Basedow; listened to, elaborated, and supple- 
mented by Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Herbart; and 
again listened to and further elaborated by great 
American leaders, that the development has come. 

Pestalozzi's influence first appeared in America in 
the nineteenth century, coming partially directly 
from Switzerland, and partially at second-hand 
through other Exuropean coimtries. In 1805 William 
McClure made translations of articles with reference 
to the system, and later brought Joseph Neef to this 
coimtry as Pestalozzi's "apostle.'' Professor John 
Griscom, in 1819, gave a report of visits to Yverdon 
and Burgdorf; Colbum, in 1821, applied the Pesta- 
lozzian principles to arithmetic, emphasizing mental 
arithmetic; Mason, in 1836, applied these principles 
to music; and the Pestalozzi-Ritter geography meth- 
ods were presented here by Guyot in 1848, and later 

28 



THE TRANSFER TO AMERICA 



continued by Francis Wayland Parker. (Parker's 
geography work also represents a later development 
of the Herbartian principles of correlation and con- 
centration.) 

But the most tar-reaching and general interest in 
Pestalozzi came through the seventh annual report of 
Horace Mann; and through the dissemination of the 
"Oswego methods" of Dr. Edward A. Sheldon, 
Superintendent of Schools, at Oswego, New York. 
Mann's information about Pestalozzi came from per- 
sonal observation while on a trip to Europe, Dr. 
Sheldon, on the other hand, received his inspiration 
in Toronto, Canada, through publications of "The 
Home and Colonial School Society" fostered by the 
Mayos of England, who, in their turn, got Pestaloz- 
zianism directly from contact with the master him- 
self. 

In 1861 Dr. Sheldon procured from England a 
Pestalozzian teacher for his city training school. 
This school afterwards became a State normal school, 
with Pestalozzian methods somewhat formalized, and 
based upon object teaching and observational work. 
Other normal schools copied the Oswego methods, 
which soon became paramount in elementary educa- 
tion in America. But the methods rapidly became 
more and more formal and mechanical, lost their con- 
nection with real Pestalozzian principles, and tended 
to fall to the level of mechanical device. 

About the time that Festalozzianism was being 
29 



1 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

propagated in America through the Oswego methods 
(the early sixties) there was a general turning to 
Europe for ideas in education; and one of Pestalozzi's 
pupils, Froebel, was also coming into notice here at 
that time. His influence in America has largely been 
founded in the kindergarten, though it is now seen that 
many of the principles which he advocated for that 
institution are just as applicable to the higher schools. 
The first attempt to bring the kindergarten to 
America was made in the early sixties by Miss Eh'za- 
beth P. Peabody, a sister of the wife of Horace Mami. 
In 1867 Miss Peabody went to Europe to study with 
Froebel's widow, and soon came back and started a 
periodical to aid in the spreading of Froebelism. In 
1868 she obtained the establishment of the first kin- 
dergarten in the United States at Boston; and in 
1872 Marie Bolte, who had also studied with Froe- 
bePs wife, opened a kindergarten in New York. The 
same year saw the beginning of Susan E. Blow's 
work at St. Louis. In 1876 the California work was 
started by Emma Marwedel, and by 1890 there were 
kindergartens in other leading American cities, car- 
ried on at first largely as philanthropic enterprises. 
However, a few cities gradually made them an in- 
tegral part of the educational system. This was done 
as early as 1873 in St. Louis through the influence of 
Miss Blow, who also established a kindergarten train- 
ing school there. Kindergartens were adopted by 
the school system of San Francisco in 1880, and by 

30 



THE TRANSFER TO AMERICA 

the end of the century they were found in over two 
hundred progressive cities; and kindergarten training 
schools were found in many public and partially pub- 
lic normal schools. In these training schools the 
Froebelian principles were studied; but they tended 
to be studied as a thing apart from the general prob- 
lem of education, and without reference to the school 
as a whole. Moreover, kindergarten practices were 
for a long time more and more symbolic, tending to 
rigidity and mechanism — to the very formalism 
which Froebel himself fought. On the part of many 
teachers they came to be applied as devices and rigid 
formulas, intentionally and carefully shielded from 
any innovation or variation based upon thought con- 
cerning the requirements of any given specific situa- 
tion. But very recently there has come about a very 
hopeful reform movement in the kindergarten. The 
followers of this movement propose to take and to 
keep all that is good in the old kindergarten, but also 
to be willing to make changes of all kinds that seem 
to be demanded by any of the more scientific educa- 
tional knowledge which is being developed. 

The work of the other great pupil and follower of 
Pestalozzi, Herbart, did not reach America before 
about 1880. It then began to be brought here 
largely by students stud3ang with Rein at Jena, and 
returning to this coimtry with ideas which they 
thought America could utilize. These students saw 
in Herbartian principles an opportimity to systema- 

31 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

tize the solution of many American educational prob- 
lems through the application of scientific method. 
Such systematization was badly needed. The origi- 
nal work done in America, and the ideas brought 
from Europe, had been mostly in the form of isolated 
efforts, each along its own more or less narrow line, 
and imrelated to any general theory or plan. Hence 
all became formal and mechanical in a short time, 
almost inevitably, because of isolation and original 
lack of breadth. Herbart had a real systematized 
plan. It involved definitely formulated theories of 
the aim, method, subject-matter, and materials of 
education, and seemed to offer the first reaUy feasible 
hope of appl3ang scientific method in that field. 

The movement centered in northern Illinois in 
the State Normal University. De Garmo, F. M. 
McMurry, Charles McMurry, and others were leaders. 
The practice school of the Normal University was the 
first established upon Herbartian principles, and be- 
came an experimental school where real research was 
made in an effort to apply the scientific method to 
education. 

In 1892 there was formed the Herbart Club to 
study Herbartian principles, to translate them, and 
to make them available. In 1895 the dub became 
"The Herbartian Society for the Scientific Study of 
Education," persons who were not Herbartians were 
admitted to membership, and a year-book began to 
be published. 

32 



THE TRANSFER TO AMERICA 

The movement was soon opposed by other think- 
ers. It was objected to as a foreign importation. 
Its metaphysical implications were called absurd, 
and it was criticized as containing nothing new. Its 
influence grew, however, and not only did the con- 
troversy succeed in emphasizing the fact that theo- 
ries of education must rest back upon philosophical 
theories (metaphysical theories), even though Her- 
bart's metaphysics might be wrong; but it also drove 
its advocates and others into real, though often crude, 
experiments, to prove their doctrines, or to disprove 
the other person's. 

When Herbart's psychology was shown to be 
faulty, and became discarded by the then increasing 
power of new and brilliant American psychology stu- 
dents, it was possible to show that the more modem 
psychology did not invalidate many of his other prin- 
ciples. Hence, one by one, there were introduced 
into American education, in a more or less isolated 
way, the five formal steps of instruction, appercep- 
tion, concentration, and the doctrine of interest. The 
attempt to feature the whole Herbartian plan was 
thus abandoned, and a loss was sustained in that 
there was now a return to more or less isolated efforts, 
rather than the complete systematization of educa- 
tion. But the scientific method was continued more 
or less in the cases of the isolated principles. These 
were taught everywhere in clubs and in normal 
schools, and became for a long time dominant. The 

33 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

work of Parker and the Reports of the Committee of 
Ten and of Fifteen were very markedly influenced. 
The use of history and of historical material was 
very much augmented. There came a wide apprecia- 
tion of morality as a growth; and of moral character, 
rather than knowledge, as the aim of education. Cul- 
ture and social life, rather than the mere develop- 
ment of patriotism, became the aim of history. His- 
tory of other countries, and especially biography, as 
an aid to moral instruction, appeared; and there was 
an attempt to use European Ustory as a setting for 
American history. There was similar development in 
literature. Brief and poor selections were given up 
for total classics. 

While Herbartianism, pure and simple, has been 
abandoned for less dogmatic methods, yet the spirit 
of most of the great principles remains. Perhaps any 
over-emphasis and tendency to dogmatism and for- 
malism were needed to give the principles roots by 
which to survive and to be modified. Certainly the 
influence upon the application of scientific method to 
education has been immeasurable; and it is in that 
direction, at least, that the honors for original con- 
tribution can never be taken away from Herbart and 
his followers. In line with this, "The Herbartian 
Society for the Scientific Study of Education" has 
been made "The Society for the Scientific Study of 
Education," and by this movement for systematiza- 
tion education is beingimmeasurably benefited. This 

34 



THE TRANSFER TO AMERICA 

movement should not be confused with the other 
phase of the scientific movement which has aimed to 
increase scientific content in the curriculum (mainly 
on the basis of its usefulness and practicality). This 
phase of the problem, starting from Rousseau, Pesta- 
lozzi, Froebel, and Herbart, reinforced by the English 
scientific movement represented by Spencer, Darwin, 
and Huxley, and early fostered in this country by 
President Eliot of Harvard, represents a still dom- 
inant influence in American education. 



Ill 

MODERN AMERICAN PRINCIPLES OF EDUCATION 

Tbe period of transplantation of education^ suc- 
ceeded by the period of rather unorganized develop- 
ment largely influenced from Europe, has been fol- 
lowed by a period of reconstruction and original effort 
which is still in progress. Reforms have divided 
themselves into two types: (i) those which have to do 
with providing the candUions and tools for education; 
and (2) those which deal with the immediate school- 
room problems of instruction. Under the first head, 
organization and administration are dealt with. 
This movement has been away from provisions for 
Church control, sectarianism, and individually eacpen- 
sive and aristocratic education; it has been toward 
State control, non-sectarianism, and free and tmi- 
versal education. The relation of this administra- 
tive work to the project is that of providing for con- 
ditions under which the project can appear at its 
best. 

The movement having to do with immediate prob- 
lems of instruction is greatly indebted to William 
James. At a time when the "faculty" psychology 
was breaking up, this student of philosophy, and 
of the best in psychology here and abroad, put the 
''new'' psychology into a form which has been the 

36 



MODERN AMERICAN EDUCATION 

well from which all succeeding students have drunk. 
G. Stanley Hall and his followers are also to be cred- 
ited with the starting and maintaining of a child- 
study movement. Yet this movement was largely 
on a questionnaire basis; and it has given way to a 
real laboratory-experimental movement of great sig- 
nificance and extent. This laboratory-experimental 
work has been done in many different laboratories 
and schoolrooms, and imder varying conditions. At 
first it was somewhat haphazard and contradictory; 
but of late it has assiuned at least something of defi- 
nite form, and is more and more putting a real scien- 
tific foimdation imder the intuitive work of the old 
leaders. A good siunmary of what has been done, 
and by whom it has been done, together with an esti- 
mate of the relative importance of the various pieces 
of work, is to be foimd in Thomdike's Educational 
Psychology. 

The material is too bulky to deal with in full here; 
but in general it covers the following points: (i) The 
natural endowment, including (a) instincts, impulses, 
and tendencies manifested at birth, and (b) instincts, 
impulses, and tendencies progressively appearing 
through life, and so dividing life into "periods" of 
development. (2) The process of change or develop- 
ment by which the child becomes an adult. In other 
words, the learning process itself, dominated by the 
two great primitive tendencies, (a) the tendency to 
conform uncritically to the action of the group, 

37 



PROJECT WORE IN EDUCATION 

through uncritical yielding to emotional impressions, 
to intuition, to suggestion, to relatively unconscious 
learning; (6) the tendency to vary, to invent, to meet 
new difficulties through the focusing of emotion and 
critical judgment upon new and imusual sets of con- 
ditions (in other words the tendency to solve problems 
through the conscious use of the intellect). (3) The 
problem of individual differences, the problem of vari- 
ation of the one from the norm or type. 

The variations referred to imder (3) are due both 
to endowment and environment. The investigations 
concerning them have dealt with differences in work 
and fatigue, in sex, in imagery, in attention and per- 
ception, etc. With the problem well worked out, 
with the general processes known, and the individual 
variations determined, teaching may be made to fit 
the individual case more completely and scientifically. 

The latest development has been a realization that 
if individual differences are to be regarded in the 
most successful manner, if complete diagnosis of in- 
dividual cases is to be used as a basis for repressive 
or remedial measxures, then there must be developed 
better systems of measurement, physical, mental, and 
pedagogical. The amount of various traits and ac- 
complishments must cease to be a matter of opinion 
and become referred to standard measures, similar 
at least in exactness to the standard measures applied 
in other sciences. 

If the work of any one man were taken to represent 

38 



MODERN AMERICAN EDUCATION 

the modem situation with regard to actual problems 
of instruction as a whole, the best one for our pur- 
poses would be John Dewey. The work of this mod- 
em educational reformer, through his own efforts, and 
through similar efforts of those influenced by him, 
has, Graves says, "been the largest factor in deter- 
mining the theory and practice of the present day," 
He has accepted, in spirit, at least, the valid domi- 
nant and determining principles of the leaders who 
have gone before him; and both as a philosopher and 
as an educationist has organized and obtained follow- 
ers for a system which is a synthesis of much of the 
best which has gone before and of the hopes which 
hover ahead. 

A closer view of this modem reformer makes it 
dear that his work has tended to socialize and to 
psychologize American education, to point out a 
practical content (industrial and scientific) calcu- 
lated to interpret life, and to encourage natural and 
effective child development through unification of 
the school with life. 

He stands for the use of education as a remedy for 
social ills — for the carrying-out of a definite social 
program, based upon a definite social philosophy or 
theory of moral-social development, directed toward 
democratic ideals by conceiving of the school itself as 
a society. The school is to be looked upon as just a 
part of real life, a continuation of the home social life, 
carried out in the home spirit. School attendance is 
39 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

to be a real "social participation," which reveals to 
the child, and makes intrinsic in him through natural 
processes of contact, the democratic social ideals. 
Sympathy and the other social virtues carry over 
from the home and become natural in the new home- 
school atmosphere. Thus "the end is in the proc- 
ess"; the school is just a bit of real life, not a place 
in which to prepare for life. The aim of education 
is focused not upon mere knowledge, but upon doing; 
and more than that, upon efficient social doing — 
social efficiency. This social efficiency is to be pro- 
duced through real social participation, and guided 
toward definite democratic social ideals. The child 
is to live the life of a child, to do the things necessary 
to a child, and so live himself naturally into the life of 
the adult. 

By the same plan, also, the disjointed elements 
of the school system — kindergarten, elementary 
school, intermediate school, and high school, which 
are the products of various social conditions, and 
various suggestions from many systems — are to be 
really welded together by eadi being related to life 
as it is conceived and lived. 

In his psychological attitude Dewey recognizes 
Rousseau's idea that education should not begin on 
the basis of adult preconceptions of what the child 
should be. It should not have the social program as 
a center; but should rather be begun on the basis 
of the child's endowment — instincts, impulses, and 

40 



MODERN AMERICAN EDUCATION 

tendencies — and continue as a process of develop- 
ment. This development is to be a development of 
the whole child, with the physical development spe- 
dally caied for as a foundation for the mental and 
moral. 

But the development is not to ht forced. This is 
the famihar principle of non-interference with the 
natural process. To this natural process, education 
must not be antagonistic, but it must, rather, ally 
itself with it. 

The method is to be the method of experience — 
of interaction of the child and experience, or of the 
child and the curriculiuu, if the curriculum is seen as 
merely himian experience organized into the "sub- 
jects" of instruction. He argues that the child can- 
not develop things out of bis own mind in isolation, 
but develops only in contact with the environment. 
There is no gap between the child and his experience. 
The sum of the experience is the child. Books are 
advocated, but are to be used to interpret experience, 
not as a substitute for experience. 

Experience (subject-matter) is to be so organized, 
and so used by the teacher, as to direct the child to- 
ward democratic ideals; but it is not to be a forcing 
type of direction. Herein lies Dewey's attitude to- 
ward self-activity. His feeling is similar to Froebel's. 
There is to be an atmosphere of joy and freedom, of 
motor activity and play; the mild discipline of love; 
an opening of doors in the right direction; a creating 



i 




PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

of opportunities of which the child takes advantage 
through his own inner impulses and decisions. The 
selfhood, the individuality of the child, is to be re- 
spected. Since this self-activity is to mean the iden- 
tification of the self with the thing, it cannot come 
purely externally. It must have the cooperation of 
the whole self, including the use of the senses and the 
muscles. Motor activity is not only an accompani- 
ment of the learning process; it is a part of the learn- 
ing process. This fact was stated long ago by James 
in the phrase "no impression without eitpression," 
and has since then been a part of the theory, though 
not always a part of the practice, of teachers. This 
motor activity may become quite incipient in time, 
under certain conditions of abstraction; but it is 
much more prominent and visible in the learning of 
children than in the learning of adults. 

Education, therefore, involves play, construction 
of objects, manipulation of material and tools. Thus 
the child is to be self-active in the best sense, and the 
policy of interference with the direction of the proc- 
ess of education (though it definitely exists) is to be 
"following" and non-prescriptive. Activity on the 
part of the child is, in so far as possible, to precede 
the giving of information by the teacher; and the 
school is to be a place for working, rather than merely 
a place for listening. It should be a place for self- 
education through practical activities. 

But Dewey goes further than Froebel's intuitive 
42 



MODERN AMERICAN EDUCATION 

appreciation of how development takes place, and 
further than Herbart's' theoretical psychology and 
pedagogy, and founds education upon a really scien- 
tific experimental psychology of the learning process. 
This modem psychology is not original with Dewey 
(as has already been pointed out in the account of the 
modem psychological movement). It comes also 
from James, and from the many other careful inves- 
tigators previously mentioned, who have done real 
and painstaking experimentation in the field. One 
of his original contributions (to be later discussed 
under the head of the utilization of the great natural 
tendency to vary, to solve problems) is an analysis of 
the thinking, or learning, process itself, in his book, 
How We Think. Another is m his treatment of sub- 
ject-matter, his plans for the manipulation of it, with 
relation to its reception by the child mind. He 
really does more to "psychologize" subject-matter 
than did Pestalozzi, for Pestalozzi's "ab abs " and his 
" tables of units," while they simplify the material, do 
it more upon a logical, adult basis, than upon a psy- 
chological basis. Psychologically the child mind 
often receives as wholes the things which seem sim- 
pler to the adult mind when analyzed into elements, 
But Dewey points out that while modem life is not 
to be so much analyzed into its elements, it is, never- 
theless,'so complex that it ought to be reduced to its 
lowest terms — reduced, as it were, to its prunitive, 
embryonic form, which form still holds the elements in 
43 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

relation to each other, but in a manner more suited to 
the child mind. 

As to the two great apparently opposed natural 
tendencies, the one toward uncritical conformity and 
the other toward critical variation, it may be said 
that Dewey makes most intelligent use of both, and 
that he consciously tends to balaace them, and to 
make the tendency to vary contribute in the long run 
to intelligent conformity. That is, through sodal 
participation he plans to get both conformity and 
variation, and to make the best good of the greatest 
number (which is, after all, the kernel of democracy) 
the final outcome. He shows clearly that under the 
average, unreformed, present school condition chil- 
dren are taught always to do what they are told to do 
and nothing else. They are expected to be passive, 
submissive, to await conmiaads, and to reflect their 
teachers and their books. But in a school where ac- 
tivity is the basis of the curricultun he shows that the 
child gets his knowledge through action, and that 
what he gets is so built into his muscles and his whole 
physical being that he does not have to try to remem- 
ber it, for it is a real part of himself, and comes out 
naturally in any situation demanding it. Moreover, 
the result of such education is shown to be the devel- 
opment of initiative and originality — the develop- 
ment of the power to think for one's self, and these 
virtues are the virtues of democracy. They are, and 
should be, opposed to the virtues of submission so 

44 



r 



MODERN AMERICAN EDUCATION 



commonly taught in the older schools. For 
State is founded upon freedom, and children raised 
exclusively upon the virtues of submission do not 
readily make good use of freedom when they sud- 
denly acquire it after graduation into life beyond the 
school. 

Hence he very sincerely advocates the encourage- 
ment of the tendency to vary, to be inventive, to 
solve problems, rather than the tendency uncon- 
sciously and passively to follow the lead of the crowd, 
And be is an advocate of this originality because, 
although it seems to be, and is, individual, he sees in 
it the best guarantee of a progressive social solidarity. 
He is looking for conformity where conformity is 
desirable; but he wishes an intelligent, not a blind, 
conformity. 

Social-occupational and constructive work, and all 
kinds of observational and first-hand contact with 
nature, are therefore held by him to be not only "so- 
cializing," but progressively socializing, since in the 
independent solution of the multitude of definite, 
concrete, individual problems which are bound to 
arise through general activities lies the best guarantee 
of an original interest in the welfare of the group, and 
an individual power to solve problems with reference 
to the progressive welfare of the group. 

In his program of occupational and constructive 
activities, it is plain to see how far he is away from 
the old memoriter, linguistic school program. But in 
45 



r our ^M 
«dso ^H 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

his argument that the activities in question develop 
sense-training, observation, ingenuity, and construc- 
tive imagination which can be available in other con- 
nectionsy he seems to carry over something of the 
'^ formal discipline" phase of the older education. 
Yet it is only in appearance that this is so, for he does 
not think of the storing-up of actual power to be 
transferred, but thinks, rather, of the development 
of a thought-method of attack upon a problem, and 
the transfer of that '^ method of attack " to other situ- 
ations. In this sense he is in the very stronghold of 
formal discipline. The transfer of methods of attack 
makes the individual independent in new and unusual 
difficulties, and this is what the ''new" education de- 
mands. Facts have multiplied until the time has 
gone by when one can expect to master all facts. 
Even if the "pouring-in" process were the best 
method, there would not be time in a lifetime to com- 
plete it, since the amount of material is too enormous. 
So education will not advance by devising methods 
*' to increase the constmiption of facts about all situa- 
tions," but must, instead, abandon this ''force-piunp- 
reservoir-system" in favor of training a child in such 
a way that he has power to face and to master a new 
situation for himself at the time that it presents itself. 
So education must develop in the child transferable 
methods of attack upon problems. 

What correct methods of attack are, Dewey makes 
dear in his book Haw We Think. Here he analyzes 

46 



MODERN AMERICAN EDUCATION 

the thought (learning) process, and makes one of 
the most important of modern contributions to this 
phase of modern psychology. 

In this connection also should be mentioned Dr. 
F. M. McMurry's contribution in the same field, 
through his development of the problem of How 
to Study, which is essentially the problem of how to 
think. Dewey's book and McMurry's are natural 
complements of each other, and should be used to- 
gether. Among the "factors" of study named by 
McMurry are aim, initiative, attention to relative 
values, and organization. These items have been 
developed by him, and widely used by others, as 
standards for the judgment of the work of teachers. 
If their pupils show that these elements are being 
cared for, the work of the teacher is regarded as good; 
otherwise it is criticized as inadequate. 

In dealing with this topic of individual initiative in 
the presence of problems, Dewey also points out more 
clearly than others that a general psychology and a 
general pedagogy have only a general application. 
Children cannot all be cast in the same mould. Vari- 
ation, even in the equipment of children, is the rule; 
and variation in response of children, and therefore 
in the treatment of individual children, is inevitable 
if education is to succeed, and selfhood and individ- 
uality are to be conserved. Thus his idea of training 
the whole child is much more comprehensive than was 
Froebel's. It is to be a training which provides for 
47 



1 
I 
I 



J 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

individual differences, where the law is set by the con- 
dition of the individual child; not a imiversal system 
under the general law of which each child is to come. 
Uniformity of curriculiun, method, and organiza- 
tion must give way as soon as the individual child 
(not a semi-theoretical typical child) is made the 
center. 

Hence in the tendency of children to vary individ- 
ually, he emphasizes the importance of variable en- 
dowment, and stresses children's "interests," or, in 
other words, their "attitudes toward possible experi- 
ences." It is these "attitudes," interests, motives, 
and specific aims which furnish the "push" — the 
motive power. They are part of the original equip- 
ment and their appearance at any given time is "to 
be observed as showing the state of development 
which the child has reached." The teacher cannot 
get subject-matter in from without if the child is 
passive. The only significant method is that of the 
mind as it reaches out and assimilates. This is 
Dewey's real contribution to the use of the emo- 
tions in school. Thus he sees "interest" not as a 
"sugar-coating" opposed to "effort," but as the 
cause and ally of "effort." 

But Dewey takes great care to show that he con- 
ceives social and individual as necessarily balanced if 
final success in education is assured. And he sees the 
social as dominant, as of course it must be in a democ- 
racy. To make this dear, he has in one connection 

48 



r 



MODERN AMERICAN EDUCATION 



defined education as "the reconstruction of experi- 
ence, giving it a more socialized value through the 
medium of increased individual efficiency." 

The content of the curriculum has already been 
shown to be away from the narrow linguistic one 
toward an industrial and science content. It thus 
emphasizes the practical, the useful; and teachers are 
urged to teach that which can be directly utilized in 
everyday life. Eliminations are made from the cur- 
riculum, also, upon this basis. But this emphasis 
upon the practical, the useful, and even the voca- 
tional, or at least pre-vocational, is not to be under- 
stood as making education a "money-getting" ven- 
ture. The emphasis comes, rather, from Dewey's 
appreciation of the fact that modem h'fe is industrial 
and scientific in nature; and that if the school is 
to interpret life, if the school is to be but a small 
life-unit, the unification must come through content 
which is peculiar to the life in question. Of course the 
self-support idea enters in as a secondary matter. 
Self-support is a social obligation, since one ought not 
to be a "drag" upon his group. Yet the self-support 
idea does not lead; and the practical and useful con- 
tent urged by Dewey is cultural, and not purely 
economic or vocational in its aim (at least in the ele- 
mentary school). It is that content which he con- 
ceives is demanded for everybody (rich and poor, 
high and low, alike) by the present life, if every one 
is to be in sympathy and cooperation with the present 



1 



r 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

life. It is the ideal of democracy put into practice 
through the school. 

In this connection, ako, he calls attention to the 
fact that social life is always changing, and so educa- 
tion must be a changing, not a static thing, especially 
in content. He shows that the fundamental indus- 
trial and social processes by which life maintains itself, 
have hidden themselves away in factories and large 
industrial enterprises, and do not any longer touch 
the real experience of the child as they once did. 
Thus children lose a training that they once used to 
get outside of the school — a training in personal re- 
sponsibility and a knowledge of the physical realities 
of things. Hence, combining this idea with his idea 
of simplifying hfe — of reducing it to lower terms in 
order to fit it to the child's mind — he recommends 
that the simpler, primitive processes of industry 
(spinning, weaving, candle-making, pottery-making, 
and the like) be incorporated into the school program. 
They should be made a part of that Httle section of 
life, through the living of which the children become 
unified with the larger social life of the land, and with 
which they grow into sympathy and cooperation. 

This leads him to call for a larger expansion, and 
change of point of view, in manual tr aining and do- 
mestic science work, and in the science content of the 
curriculum; and to lean toward these factors upon 
the basis of their real life-interpretation values. Thus 
he looks upon them not as "special studies which 
50 



MODERN AMERICAN EDUCATION 

are to be introduced over and above a lot of others in 
the way of relaxation or relief, or as additional ac- 
complishments. . , . Rather they represent, as types, 
fundamental forms of social activity; and it is possi- 
ble and desirable that the child's introduction into 
the more formal subjects of the curriculum be 
through the medium of these activities." 

His pohcy of unification also leads him to favor 
Herbart's doctrine of concentration, especially in the 
lower grades. He takes the position that, to the 
young child, experience is a unit, "concentrated," 
undifferentiated into "subjects"; and that differen- 
tiation of subjects comes only slowly as the child de- 
velops, and never is (and never should be) complete. 
Early education should deal with experience as a 
whole; and later education, though it develops "sub- 
jects," should alwa^ keep in view their interrela- 
tionships, both with each other, and with the total 
experience of life. He makes it very clear that the 
real basis for this concentration and correlation can- 
not be any one subject or subjects, but must always 
be the social hfe to which all are referred. 

With the evolution of modem educational princi- 
ples well in mind, it is now time for consideration of 
the relationship of those principles to project method 
in the modem public school of America. This mate- 
rial appears in chapters iv and V. Then follows a 
chapter on another line of project-method devel- 
opment, which has been largely outside of the 



1 



I 
I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

public schools, but which has a vital relation to 
them; afterwards the use of project material as a 
separate subject in itself (independent of its value 
as a method of getting work done in other subjects) 
is discussed. 



IV 

THE PROJECT METHOD IN THE MODERN PUBLIC 

SCHOOL 

What is a project method in the conunonly ac- 
cepted public school use of the term? Thus far it has 
been asstmied that the reader understood the mean- 
ing of the term^ and could identify it in use^ and per- 
haps (if a teacher) use it. It is probable, however, 
that the idea needs further development for many 
persons. Most people have heard the term. At 
least most teachers have heard it. They could not 
have escaped the niunerous references to it in books, 
in teachers' meetings, institutes, and teachers' asso- 
ciations. But in the minds of many the knowledge is 
very vague and indefinite, and many of the attempts 
of teachers to utilize it are groping and unsatisfactory. 
It is just this vagueness of idea, and this groping in 
use, which have seemed to make this book worth 
while as a factor in clearing up the situation. 

The claim has been made in the Preface, that a proj- 
ect method is no more or less than the natural, con- 
crete expression of modem principles of education in 
action. What modem principles of education are 
has been shown by tracing their historical develop- 
ment through a ntunber of leaders, and of showing 
their gradual concentration in the concrete personal- 

S3 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

ity of a living educational reformer. This process 
has involved enough of repetition to assure familiar- 
ity with the principles. It now remains to make the 
principles concrete through a series of typical illus- 
trations of them in action. Then on the basis of the 
illustrations it will be possible to turn to the asserted 
connection between the principles and a project 
method. The illustrations are chosen from the files of 
the Elementary School Journal because of (i) avail- 
ability, (2) the spirit of Dewey's educationalfphiloso- 
phy found in the many articles on project work, and 
(3) the variety in authorship and schools represented. 

The making of a playhouse is presented to the diildreD 
as a plan to be worked out, and with this in view other 
types of shelter are considered. During the previous 
year the children have played at Indian life and enjoyed 
the making of wigwams. These experiences are recalled 
and other kinds of Indian homes are suggested. Primi- 
tive tree- and cave-dwellings, brush huts, stone cairns, 
Eskimo igloos, Japanese houses, and log huts are typical 
forms of shelter discussed. On the sand table the chil- 
dren make some of these dwellings with appropriate set- 
tings. The geography of the region in so far as it in- 
fluences types of structure is pictured, and in this way 
typical physiographic areas are worked out, as, for in- 
stance, the wooded hills of temperate zones for the tree- 
and cave-dwellers and the Arctic regions for the Eskimo. 

From these primitive forms of shelter the children's 
attention is caUed to modem structures. Here, often for 
the first time, children's eyes are opened to the archi- 
tectural detaOs about them. Windows begin to vary 

54 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

from the stereotyped rectangle of a chUd's first drawings; 
doors, roofs, and chimneys gain an interest entirely 
The materials used in modern buildings are noted, 
and through pictures, stereoscopes, models, and reading, 
something of their sources and production is worked out. 
The children use the Meccano set to make in the sand 
pan a quarry with derricks. Toy trains and tracks are 
brought from home to heighten the realism. 

In all this plans for the playhouse are becoming better 
defined and the ideas of its form, its material, its arrange- 
ment gradually develop. When the shape and propor- 
tions are determined, wood cut to shape is supplied, and 
each child builds his own playhouse. These are painted; 
windows of transparent celluloid are fitted into frames 
measured and made by the pupils from construction 
paper; and window boxes, awnings, porches, and lattice 
for the entrance ways are made as individual problems 
from materials of the children's own choosing. The mak- 
ing of furniture creates problems in nimiber construction. 
The rugs and hangings alone are lacking, and this becomes 
the textile problem which begins the work of the second 
semester.' 



In the past we have taught the history of printing. 
To-day we are giving the children an opportunity by 
actually doing some printing to assimilate this knowledge 
and to make it a power in their own lives. For along with 
the work of printing, history must be studied to give 
meaning and value to the shopwork. The pupil should 
learn of the various ways in which this has been carried on 
from the days of the clay tablet to the making of a mod- 

1 "Course in Community Life, History, and Civica," Elementary 
SckoQUmmal, xvu, 6 ^Februacy, 1917), 411-13. 

5S 



1 

I 

I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

em newspaper. Much of this IdstonGal matoial is not 
available in siiitaUe form for elementary ptqnlSy and our 
printshop is proving its commercial as well as its social 
value in helping to provide for this need. The pupils 
themselves are printing stories, translations^ articles, 
and selections containing the necessary information. 
Another source of information is found in visits to mod- 
em printshopsy engraving establishments, paper-mills, 
type-foundries, and other allied industries. The relation 
of the school printshop to outside life is so vital that 
the child is instinctively conscious of it. But visits to 
modem plants do much to enlarge his vision and give 
him a broad idea of printing and its position in the 
world to-day. 

The most obvious result of the printshop is its effect 
upon the English work. The conscious attention to form 
in typesetting leads to dose observation of all form. 
Through printing the child comes to a knowledge of para- 
graphing, to the meaning of punctuation marks, to cor- 
rect spelling, and the right use of capital letters. He 
notices the forms of verse and the style of e]q)ression. He 
becomes careful and accurate because his work demands 
care and accuracy, and children naturally respond to the 
inherent demands of their own work. They resent only 
the imposition of standards from outside. 

The study of mathematics is directly strengthened by 
its practical application in the printshop. Besides the 
constant measuring, it furnishes practical problems such 
as computing the number of ems to a given page, finding 
the amount of type necessary to set a required piece of 
copy, calculating the number of pages the manuscript 
copy will cover, finding the percentage of spoilage in the 
pressworky determining the cost of a zinc plate, and the 

56 



f^^^ THE PROJECT METHOD ^M 

amount and cost of paper for a desired piece of work. All ^| 
these enter intimately into the regular shopwork. ^| 

But no less important is the connection between art and 
the printshop. The first real art problem which the child 
there faces is that of spacing between words, and he soon 
learns that well-spaced lines are more legible and therefore 
more pleasing than unevenly spaced ones; that neither 
choice type or initial letter, colored ink or attractive 
paper can hide the holes made on a page by irregular spac- 
ing. Since print is used as a means of communication be- 
tween one person and many persons, legibility is the chief 
tonsideration of the printer, although it should not be the 
Bnly consideration unless the word be made to include all 
that adds to it. The child should be led to see that the 
page of type is most legible when it is most beautiful; 
that legibility depends upon choice of type, length of line, 
(pacing, arrangement, page proportions, margins, quality 
*nd color of paper, good ink, and good craftsmanship; 
that good craftsmanship means clear and even impression 
of the type on the paper; and that the form of the expres- 
sion should bannonize with the thought. Any page 
which fills these requirements is readable and beautiful, 
I Decoration may make it more beautiful only if it empha- 

sizes these points, if it is subordinate to the design, and 
does not attract attention from the print to itself.' 



I 



Accordingly, the teacher chose for the first lesson the 
finding of Scott, the hero of the South Pole. The children 
Were to place themselves on the spot at the time of the 
rescue and were to express the emotions aroused in the res- 
cue party when they read the part of Scott's diary which 



r 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

told of hardships, disappointments, and love of humanity. 
To read the words of the diary even once, without a vivid 
personal appreciation of the wonderful meaning behind 
them, would be to lose forever their deepest significance. 
For that reason the first expression was to be in writing. 
On the morning of the experiment the words at the end 
of Scott's diary were put on the board, and there arose a 
discussion as to the discovery of the South Pole, Amund- 
sen's success, and Scott's vain efforts and death. When 
interest in the subject was at a liigh pitch the children 
were told to choose the moment at which the rescue party 
came, then to decide and write what the different men 
would do and say at such a tragic and intense moment, 
ending their compositions by using Scott's own words. 
While they had talked much "about it and about," no 
hint of what the men might say had been made by any 
one before writing. The following, written by a girl and 
selected for brevity, was one result: 

FINDING OF SCOTT'S PARTY 
Scene: Inside of tent not far from South Pole. 
Cast: Scott, Wilson, Bowers, Wright, Nelson, Gran (few 
others). 

(Men uncover heads when entering) 
Ndson {steps inside tent, sees men in sleeping postures, 

turns pale at sight of smile on Sowers' s face) : God ! He is 

still smiling, it almost gave me hope. 
Wrighi {comes in, goes toward Scotl, touches kis face, 

skivers slightly): England's bravest men! 
Gran (comes in, followed by others, sees Bowers, coughs to 

hide his emotion): How splendid to die smiling! And no 

word to tell us of their brave deeds. 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

Wright (looks thoughtful): Captain Scott must have 
been the last to pass away, for the others are securely 
wrapped in their sleeping baga, which he, of course, did, 
not being in his own sleeping bag. (Moves Scoffs hattd, 
sees diary.) What is this? Read, Nelson, while I search 
for other word. 

Ndson (takes diary, turns to first page). 

Gran (impaiienlly): The last, man, read the lastl 

Nelson (turns pale, reads): "We took risks; we knew 
we took them. Things have come out against us, and 
therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the 
will of Providence, determining to do our best to the last. 
But if we have been willing to give up our lives to this 
enterprise, which is for the glory of our country, I appeal 
to our countrymen to see that those who depend on us are 
properly cared for. Had we hved, I should have had a 
tale to tell of hardihood, endurance, and courage of my 
companions which would have stirred the hearts of every 
Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies 
must tell the tale, but surely, surely, a great, rich coun- 
try like ours will see that those who are dependent on ua 
are properly provided for, — R. Scott." 

Wright: How sad ! And Amundsen was there before him. 

Gran (emolUmaily): To seek, to strive, to find, and not 
to yield. 

(Curtain) 

The class read aloud thdr papers, but m most cases the 
readmg was so much weaker than the writing as to prove 
that the lofty ideas and intense feeling expressed in writ- 
ing could not yet find adequate oral expression.' 

' Alberta Walker, " DramatiKation and Current Events," Eie- 
maOary Schoti Journal, xvi, 3 (November, 1915), 135-26. 

59 




r 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

The plan consisted of two parts: visits to the factories 
of the city, and the study and discussion of the problems 
growing out of the visits. . . . The discussion atways cen- 
tered around the problems arising out of the inspection of 
the manufacturing processes and were of an industrial, 
labor, geographical, and civil nature. These problems 
were dealt with in so far as they were within the scope 
of the intelligence of the group. The fundamental pur- 
pose of work of this kind is to restore to children during 
their period of training the opportunity of knowing the 
life of the community as children knew the community a 
century ago — an opportunity of which they have been 
deprived through the industrial revolution of tire past 
century. In accordance with this general purpose we 
sought in so far as possible to have the boys arrive at a 
general appreciation of industry, and especially to under- 
stand the relation of individual industries to the whole 
social life. . . . With this knowledge we wished to create 
new ideals and attitudes toward our industry and new 
patriotism toward our dty and countiy. Two concrete 
illustrations will indicate our aims and methods. One of 
the institutions studied was the street-railway system and 
its relation to the life of the dty. We began the study by 
a visit to the factory where the cars are built and got a 
glimpse of the whole process of manufacture, the length of 
life of cars, the number of laborers employed with the 
amount of wages received, the amount of skill required in 
each occupation, means of preventmg accidents, and sim- 
ilar information. At the time of oiu- visit the heating 
system was receiving lively consideration at the hands of 
the Civic League, the dty council, and the newspapers, 
and for that reason we examined in detail the various 
plans of heating and ventilating street-cars and the diffi- 
60 



THE PROJECT METHOD 



culties connected with each. Having learned the point 
of view of those connected with the system, we discussed 
and criticized their views at the next class meeting. In 
the meantime the class had had the opportunity to con- 
sider the newspaper and other discussions of the subject 
as a basis for class consideration. 

Our next step was to take a trip to various parts of the 
city on the cars, following this with a discussion of the 
effects of street-railway transportation upon the value of 
teal estate in the various parts of the city, upon housing 
conditions, upon the distribution of residences of laborers, 
and many odier s imil ar questions. ... A second case was 
that of the bread industry. This industry afforded end- 
less opportunity for study. We began by visiting the 
flour-mills in the city. This led to the study of the origin 
of the grain and a study of the grain-producing areas in 
the United States and of the world. Moreover, we at- 
tempted to make the study as human as possible by 
determining how the work of producing the grain was 
carried on; how grain was planted, reaped, threshed, 
stored in elevators, and brought to the mills. Here we 
had access to a lantern with plenty of slides, and this part 
of the work was presented by one of the boys in a half- 
hour talk with slides portraying the various phases of the 
industry in a highly interesting manner. 

We studied, furUier, the methods of producing Sour as 
compared with those of a century ago. This led us again 
into the bread-making industry and a comparison of it 
with that of the old days when " mother made the bread." 
We had access in this study to the factories of the sim- 
plest kind where one oven was used, to the biscuit factory 
where looo laborers were employed and the product sent 
to all parts of the world, and the bakery where 60,000 
6i 



1 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

loaves of bread were baked in one day. In this study 
there is hardly a problem of economic significance that the 
boy from ten to fourteen was not interested in and able in 
some degree to understand.^ 

The following statement issued in Springfield, Mis- 
souriy gives so complete an account of a possible course 
in agriculture that it is here reproduced in full. £. A. 
Cockefair, Greene Coimty farm adviser, in co5peration 
with Coimty Superintendent J. R. Roberts, has written a 
course of study which includes each month of the year. 

Sowing crimson dover, sweet dover, winter oats, al* 
falfa, and vetch should be done the first two weeks of 
September. Plots of ground on the sdiool grounds, four 
feet square, should be dug for these experimental beds* 
Winter wheat, rye. Durum wheat, spdtz, timothy, and 
orchard grass can be sown the third and fourth weeks in 
September. These are a few of the facts the diildren will 
learn. For advanced pupils uses of fertilizers, induding 
nitrates, add phosphates, groimd rock, potash, ashes, and 
lime, will be studied. Demonstrations of treatment of 
wheat for smut are suggested. A bushel of wheat can be 
taken to school, placed in a loose burlap bag, and im- 
mersed for ten or fifteen minutes in a solution in a barrd 
or tub, then spread to dry. 

Study of acreage and yidd of hay, grain, and pasture 
crops for the sdiool district, with location of fidds and 
reports of yidds, set out on maps of the district, is part of 
the September coiurse. These maps afterwards can be 
displayed at the annual coimty show in December con- 
tests. 

^ E. George Payne, "An Experiment in Motivation," Elemen- 
tary School Journal, xvn, 9 (May, 19x7), yaS-ja 

62 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

October is the month of seed-corn selection. Visits of 
the students to fields, with lessons in marking the stalks 
carrying the best ears will be made on Friday of the last 
quarter. Some of the older students nmy be interested 
in obtaining fair exhibits. 

Corn-judging from samples furnished by pupils will 
be part of the study in November. Planting of tulip 
bulbs will be taught. The older pupils and high school 
students will be instructed in a tree nursery. A strip 
of ground twenty feet long will be prepared, and seeds 
from the wild cherry, walnut, butternut, hickory, pecan, 
chestnut, white oak, black oak, and ash of the forest 
trees, and apple, plum, apricot, and peach of the fruit 
trees will be planted. Girls of the school can interest 
themselves in planting roses, lilacs, barberry, and other 
shrubs. 

Stock-judging is scheduled for December. A horse 
and a cow will be taken to the grounds for expert judging 
as to points. The children will go to a neighboring pen to 
judge swine. . • • Girls will be taught to interest them- 
selves in cows and poultry. Stock-feeding will be a 
theme for January lessons and visits will be made to pens. 
Reports on feeding balanced rations will be made to the 
schools. Statistics as to number of head of stock pro- 
duced the last year, value and average price per head, 
must be recorded. Milk records for cow testing will be 
taken from home by pupils. 

The first pruning lesson will be given in February, . . . 
Seed-testing of oats and treatment of potatoes for scab 
will be done in March. • • . Planting flowers and improve- 
ment of school yards will be done in April. Stimulation 
of the growing of prize acres of corn for the annual county 
contest will be featured this month. Growing tomatoes, 

63 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

with lessons on canning, for the girls, also wiU be featured. 
Pop-corn and peanut growing will be taught. Adviser 
Cockefair believes the parents and pupils should join in 
Arbor Day exerdses, planting trees and shrubbery. 

Summer cultivation and care of live stock on smnmer 
pasture, will be included in the May studies. Instruc- 
tion on silos and cost of their construction, and methods 
of combating drouth, and maintaining feed and water for 
live stock, will dose the year's studies.^ 

As history unfolded itself and the settlement on the 
Tiber grew to be the Mistress of the World, the diildren 
needed to know more of the buildings and public works 
which were the result of that far-reaching dvilization. 
So when we had reached the middle of the period of the 
republic in our study, we destroyed the scene of the Seven 
Hills on the sand table and began to build the neighbor- 
hood of the Forum. The whole space in the pan was de- 
voted to the Capitoline and the Palatine Hills and to the 
construction of some of the monmnental buildings and 
other structures whose ruins still remain as evidence of 
Rome's greatness and power. These were studied and 
constructed from the point of view of the relation which 
they bore to history at the time of their erection. They 
were a means of devdoping in the minds of the diildren 
an appreciation of the stages of growth and progress of 
the Roman people. Each building represented to the 
children that particular bit of history induded in its 
erection.* 

* "A Course in Agriculture," EkmefUary School Journal, xv, a 
(October, 1914), 92-93. 

* Grace E. Storm, ''Roman History in the Fourth Grade," EI0* 
meiUary School Journal, xvi, 3 (November, xpxs)* ZST-SS- 

64 



r 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

For instance, a sixth-grade teacher in one of the largo 
school systems of Illinois organized her language work 
entirely from the standpoint of children's interests and 
was careful to undertake nothing which was not thor- 
oughly motivated from the child's standpoint. As the 
year's work was nearing completion, she checked up by 
the course of study to see how fully the requirements of 
the language work for that grade had been met, having 
in mind to give the last month, if necessary, to details not 
covered by the motivated work. This seemed a reason- 
able procedure, but she was surprised to find that she had 
not only covered all of this specified detailed work for the 
grade but had included of necessity, a great many details 
called for in upper grades. It was apparent upon review 
of her year's work that the zeal of the children in success- 
fully accomplishing projects in which they were more or 
less personally interested had made the mastery of tech- 
nical difficulties an easy matter. Technical difficultiea 
naturally appeared relatively small, because they were 
subordinate to the larger undertaking, such as writing 
letters of request and appreciation, brief articles for the 
school paper, dramatizations for special programs, the 
preparation of a special booklet which was later used as 
a gift as well as an illustration of the pupil's own work, 
etc.' 

After a first general reading of the illustrations, the 
reader is asked to go over them again for the purpose 
of identifying the principles involved. He is asked to 
note how completely the school is identified with life, 

' G. M. WilaoQ, "The Motivation ot School Work," Eiementary 
School Joumd, xvu, 4 (December, 1916), sfinSj. 

6s 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

and school attendance with '' social participation"; 
how ^' participation" reveals to the child, and tends 
to make intrinsic in him, the ideals of democratic 
society; how it aims, not to prepare for life, but to be 
life; how the concq>tion of education as development 
through social participation is never lost sight of; and 
how, as a foundation and skeleton work for this de- 
velopment, the original equipment of instincts, im- 
pulses, and tendencies (both those active at birth and 
those arising at later ^'periods") are recognized. It 
is also to be noted how the natural processes of devel- 
opment, resulting from interaction of the child and 
his environment, are welcomed as allies, and are not 
interfered with. Books are plainly used to interpret 
experience, and not as a substitute for experience; 
and while the direction of development is intention- 
ally interfered with, the guidance is that of love rather 
than of authority. It is to be noted how doors 
are opened, and opportunity afforded, of which the 
children take advantage through their own inner 
impulses and decisions. Thus individuality, self- 
hood, is conserved; and real self-activity is fostered 
in an atmosphere of play, happiness, and freedom. 
The whole child (physical, mental, moral) is included 
in the program through the use of constructional and 
occupational subjects and through the manipulation 
of materials and tools. The school has really become 
a place for working rather than for listening, and is 
not sharply set off from the larger social community; 

66 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

but through excursions and other contact, it is made 
integral with the community. 

Subject-matter is manipulated and prepared for 
the mind, not in a logical, but in a psychological, 
manner; and individual differences have full play. 
Special "interests" furnish the "push," the motive 
for attack upon problems; and the solution of prob- 
lems rather than the pouring-in of facts is seen 
operative everywhere. Yet in the final analysis, 
individuality is kept in subordination to the sodal 
ideal — to the best good of the greatest number, 

"Subjects" are taught, not so much as separate 
factors, but as inter-related (correlated) elements of 
the social life involved. The whole content of the 
curriculum is unified and made practical (useful), not 
on an economic basis, but on this broad, cultural 
basis which interprets modern practical Ufe, and 
makes the school part and parcel of it. 

If one looked for a single phrase to sum up the 
whole set of principles, he could not find a better one 
than Dewey's "self-education through activities," or 
the common "learning to do by doing" so often 
quoted in the illustrations. And the imporlanl thing in 
relation to the original thesis of this hook is that this 
phrase which sums up the principles — this "learning 
to do by doing" — is also the absolutely fundamental 
element in prefect work. Project teaching has been 
trying to vitalize the school ; it has been trying to con- 
nect the school with real life, and to recognize and to 
67 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

promote child development through the natural proc« 
esses; it has seen the need for the greater use of iho 
materials of the natural environment, and for natural 
interaction of the child with that environment; in its 
best form it has looked for its results in the child, 
and not in the finished material product; and has 
been trying to achieve all of this through activities — 
through having children "learn to do by doing." In 
other words, project work is the result of all degrees of 
consciousness of the principles. It has arisen because 
progressive teachers everywhere have been, through 
reading and personal experience, getting hold of the 
principles, finding in them the essence of activity, this 
essence of " self -education through activity," this 
"learning to do by doing"; and through all degrees 
of conscious and imconsdous insight, have been 
putting the principle in motion. The illustrations 
accepted as illustrations of the combined modem 
principles would have been accepted just as quickly 
and imquestioningly as illustrations of the best in 
project work. It is worth while to consider them 
individually from that point of view. 

The first one, the making of the playhouse, is an 
illustration of a single project used as a basis for work 
in several different subjects. The children lived in 
their real social problem and yet subject-matter was 
not neglected. Reading, writing, spelling, language, 
arithmetic, history, geography, manual training, etc., 
were all represented. The difference between this 

68 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

and an ordinary school program lies in the fact that 
the conception of "subjects" and their continuity wa? 
in the mind of the teacher; but this logical organization 
did not need to be so much in the minds of the chil- 
dren. With them the organization was allowed to be 
psychological. They were aUowed to live in the 
situation as a whole, and the teacher, in a manner 
similar to that of a good chairman of a pubhc meet- 
ing, stood to one side, and without imposing Jiis spe- 
cial will upon the situation was yet able to give the 
occasional suggestion, the judicious guidance, which 
kept things going in a certain general direction, and 
with enough breadth to insure the inclusion of such 
parts of specific subj'ects as he had in mind to cover. 

This plan could be used in any grade, and to cover 
all subjects, if only the teacher is ingenious enough 
and tactful enough to start things going and to keep 
hands off except in the few right places, and even in 
the few right places to make the guidance come as 
assistance to plans originated by the pupils them- 
selves. 

The next illustration shows how a printing-project 
may be made the core from which is developed the 
work of many school subjects. In the main it is a 
project which motivates and vitalizes general English 
composition, but it touches history, geography, math- 
ematics, art, and in fact most subjects, and furnishes 
motive and subject-matter for all of them. Here 
again children are not memorizing from books the iso- 

69 



1 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

lated facts of individual studies, but are living an 
active, unified, social life within which the relatively 
invisible threads of the studies are carried. 

In the third illustration project method is used to 
tap the emotional reaction required in a single sub- 
ject. It is hard to make reading and English com- 
position vital on the emotional side and the device of 
original play-writing and acting is a conmion one. It 
furnishes the concreteness, the dear realization, and 
the physical activity which are needed to enlist the 
whole personality of the child, and to insure the free 
response of his true self. To know Scott and his 
problem as these children came to know him is to be 
infinitely removed from that type of reading teaching 
which says: "You may read the next paragraph." 
The exercise in question is also important for the in- 
terpretation of current history (for which purpose it 
was in fact devised), and any good teacher uses simi- 
lar plans in a variety of other situations. 

The next illustration is particularly suggestive of 
the value of the school excursion. The importance of 
this outdoor work, often done at a distance from the 
school and with a definite object in mind, needs to be 
more and more emphasized with both parents and 
teachers. If children are to get the necessary basal 
experience for their thinking, if they are to know life 
through the unification of the school with life, then 
parents and school trustees must not be surprised if 
the schoolroom is of ten deserted, and the children and 

70 



' THE PROJECT METHOD 

teachers are fotind out along the water-courses, or on 
the hills, or inspecting factories or other industries, 
or on trips to other places of historical or geographic 
or scientific interest in the neighborhood. Such 
work is the very essence of the best in modem educa- 
tion. 

The illustrative course in agriculture next quoted 
involves a multitude of expressed and suggested op- 
portunities for the use of project method. It is in this 
field that as much has been done, and perhaps more 
than in any other. The whole modem plan for the 
reconstruction and redirection of the rural school is 
based upon the working-out of school and conununity 
social cooperation in agricultural and other enter- 
prises of mutual interest. The plan helps old and 
yoimg alike, through breaking up monotony, induc- 
ing healthy and progressive social intercourse, and 
bringing up children who come to love rural Hfe. It 
helps them to find in their own surroundings those 
genuine life interests and opportunities which they 
otherwise seek in the more artificial conditions of the 
cities. The drift of population toward the cities is 
thus arrested and more normal conditions prevail. 
But it is not wholly in rural conditions that such 
project activities are worth while. The city teacher, 
through the occasional excursion and with the help of 
a vacant lot, or even of some window-boxes, can do 
much to put life and unity into her work, and balance 
into the lives of her children. 

71 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

The last two illustrations serve to show how the 
project idea may be further applied to individual sub- 
jects; and the last one serves to answer the natural 
question as to the relative rate of progress compared 
to that made by book or mere drill methods. There 
is also evidence that technical details taught by these 
activity methods are more easily remembered than if 
taught formally. In fact, retention, as Dewey con- 
tends, comes to be effortless, since the facts are built 
into the self through the concrete experience. 

The illustrations might have been continued with 
specific reference to children's plays and games, and 
many other phases of life; but they are sufficient as 
they stand, except for the desirability of outlining 
the working of a plan whereby a community project 
unifies not only many subjects at one time, but also 
the total work of a whole school for a whole year. 
This phase of the work is so important that such an 
attempt at unification (published October, 191 1, in 
a "Bulletin" of the State Normal School at Winona, 
Minnesota, over the signature of the writer) is 
quoted entire: 

The modem outlook of education is social. The true 
indictment f oimd against the school which is not modem 
is that it is isolated from life. The demand is that the 
school fit for life by exemplifying life. Although there is 
much vagueness about what this "fitting for life" means, 
nevertheless the idea has imdoubtedly turned educational 
theory in the right direction, and, as a result, schools are 

72 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

everywhere being vastly improved. But even many 
schools which have more or less adequately grasped the 
idea of sodal responsibility, are still far from being social 
units in themselves. They are a more or less loosely 
strung together aggregation of rooms or departments, 
with practically no common interests or activities. 
Hence the sodal life of any one of these small groups is 
necessarily incomplete, because it does not go outside of 
itself, and does not contain within itself the necessary 
diversity of sodal elements. 

In order to achieve this desirable social imity, all of the 
rooms or departments of a school, from the kindergarten 
through the eighth grade, at least, should be linked to- 
gether by a common cause which requires a conunon 
meeting-place and community work. There should be 
for the whole school a social dearing house where inter- 
ests may be pooled; and where interdependence may be 
recognized m its actual working-out. Experience seems 
to prove that the school assembly can be made to fill this 
need. Many schools have found this out, and they have 
not been slow to utilize the idea. But a thing which has 
not been very generally realized is that the regular school 
work is the best basis for such assemblies. This is evi- 
dent from the observation that too often the assembly 
program consists of a miscellaneous collection of unre- 
lated parts (unrelated dther among themselves or to the 
daily work). They have been gathered together merely 
for the sake of entertainment, or if with some idea of a 
further value, at least not selected on the basb of any 
general prindple. Therefore they are usually not pro- 
gressively effective, and often very wasteful of time both 
in preparation and in delivery. 

Show-work required of already overburdened teachers, 

73 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION ^ 

and lacking in point for the children themselves, is not 
what is needed. Such work is external. We must get 
our unity from within. If only it were realized that the 
need for unity, for social meeting and mingling, is a need 
for unity and socialization in that which is the real core of 
the school life — the daily work — we should have better 
assemblies and better daily work. For this need can be 
met. There is not a sqhool subject which cannot be used 
to furnish to the assembly material which is of vital im- 
portance to the daily tasks, and also of absorbing interest 
to those children who present it and to those who listen. 
It is remarkable how interesting even the mapped outline 
of a campaign, or of the westward march of the California, 
gold seekers, may be made for such an exercise, if ex- 
plained to children by a child in his own way. Each 
grade is doing every day many a similar thing in which 
other grades would be interested if only it could be 
brought to them. 

Where reading is taught in a niodem way, there is 
much dramatization, and dramatization is one of the best 
kinds of material for the assembly. Often it does not 
have to be especially prepared, but can be taken directly 
from the schoolroom just as it has been developed there, 
and put before the others with no elaborate staging, cos- 
timoing, or other preparation. But even if some extra 
time and effort are expended to get it ready, it is time and 
effort which functions thereafter in the regular work of 
the class and is therefore not lost, as is that given to show- 
work. There is no stronger motive for good work of any 
kind, than the motive of presenting that work to others, 
and so the assembly becomes a lever whose power is con- 
stantly applied in the direction of better dass-room re- 
sults. No child likes to repeat before his own dass those 

74 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

things which he knows are as familiar to all the others as 
they are to himself; but he is willing to work hard and if 
necessary go over and over that which he is to present to 
some one to whom it will be new. On the other hand, 
those grades who listen to what another grade presents, 
seem to find a perennial interest. There is something 
about children's work, done for children, which does not 
leave time for any dullness. 

We have mentioned dramatization because of its obvi- 
ous adaptability to the situation, but there seems to be no 
end to what may be utilized, and often the most unex- 
pected source will furnish the program. An adding con- 
test; making some object in manual training; freehand 
drawing before the assembly ; memory gems, perhaps pan- 
tomimed as recited; demonstrations in cooking with ex- 
planations of theory and distributed samples of the prod- 
uct; an origmal play based upon an event in history; a 
geographical study (illustrated by either purchased or 
original maps) of some industry or route of commerce, or 
of exploration; the interesting story of the life and habits 
of some insect or animal from the nature study or ele- 
mentary science work; demonstrations in penmanship; 
compositions selected as the best from regular work 
handed in by the pupils; regular reading lessons, using the 
books of one grade which are unfamiliar to the others; 
spelling contests; original poems; arithmetic applied to 
such topics as amount of water necessary to fill the swim- 
ming tank, or space necessary for ball and tennis grounds; 
games, rhythmic exercises, and contests from the physical 
education department; vocal music by full chorus, glee 
dubs, classes, or individuals; instnunental music through 
the utilization of the work of individuals, or through the 
organization of orchestras or drum corps. 
75 



1 

i 
I 

I 
J 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

Admitting all these possibilities for the assembly, we 
still might question whether the idea is not mainly appli- 
cable to older pupils — whether it offers to the yoimger 
>nes the desired opportunity for expression and enjoy- 
/nent. Yet experience proves that a program of songs 
and games presented by the kindergarten, brings out 
immistakable expressions of the highest enjoyment from 
the others; and, on the other hand, the programs of the 
older pupils do not seem to be dull even for the children 
of the kindergarten. They enjoy the dramatizations, the 
marchings and drills and all of the other activities, take 
part in the choruses, and do not lack delight even in those 
parts of the program which are far beyond their compre- 
hension. The novelty is, in itself, sufficient to attract 
them, and they continually ask whether '4t is not time 
for assembly day to come again." 

It would of course be possible to divide the children 
into assembly groups according to grades, but as has al- 
ready been intimated, the very essence of the plan con- 
sists in not doing this. No social unit is homogenous, and 
it is the actual concrete social situation developed in the 
general assembly which gives us the values we seek. Not 
the least of these values is that which is so often seen in 
rural schools, in the reflex influence which comes from the 
natural mingling of older and yoimger pupils. The older 
pupils gain a gentleness and appreciation of childhood, 
and the yoimger ones a maturity of outlook upon life — 
an inspiration for meeting life, which is most valuable, 
and which is not developed in the exclusive graded isola- 
tion of most dty schools. 

So the argument for the school assembly might be con- 
tinued indefinitely, but enough has already been said to 
show how, through such a gathering, regular school work 

76 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

may be made more effective; to emphasize how the meet- 
ing together in a conmion cause cements the diverse 
groups of the school into an enthusiastic social body, with 
common interests, responsibilities and privileges; gives 
the strongest kind of a motive for good daily work; 
teaches children how to appear well and with confidence 
before others through frequent practice in the social de- 
tails of the situation; and, most of all, gives one opportun- 
ity for that motor reaction, that doing of something, 
which is rightly so emphasized in these days of a peda- 
gogy whose creed is "no impression without expression." 

A good plan is to have the assemblies once a week, and 
to ask the children of each room in turn, from the highest 
to the lowest, to provide a program and have charge of 
the assembly. This definite succession allows each group 
to look ahead and to plan for its turn, and makes auto- 
matic many details which would otherwise have to be 
especially provided for each time. Every effort is made, 
however, to introduce suitable variations so that formal- 
ity and routine shall be in the background. The intro- 
duction of certain games, the occasional working out of 
school yells, songs, mottoes, etc., and the emphasizing of 
the thought of "right fun in the right place" have been 
foimd not entirely incongruous with the school assembly 
idea, nor is an occasional meeting for entertainment, 
given entirely by outsiders. The metrostyle or other 
musical recital, ihe talk illustrated by slides, the expert 
reading of good literature — all of these have their val- 
ues, but in them we are getting away from the regular 
school work done by the children, and we should con- 
stantly return to it. 

There are, however, at least two very important limita- 
tions affecting the work ahready discussed. First, it is 

77 



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PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

confined, so far as an3rtlimg has yet been said, rather 
closely within the walls of the school itself. That is to 
say, it ministers to that phase of the social ideal in which 
the school is regarded as life (not as a preparation for life) ; 
but the life lived is very narrow and restricted. It needs 
to be broadened, and since it cannot take in all of life it 
must be content with a cross section, as it were, which 
cross section shall, in a sense, prepare for life as a whole. 
This necessary reaching out into life as a whole — this 
unification of the school with the extended life of the 
world, is partially accomplished by inviting parents, and 
citizens in general to become auditors of the assembly 
programs. This also carries with it the opportunity for 
the necessary acquaintanceship and cooperation of parent 
and teacher. It is an aid in inducing parents to visit at 
the same session other school work, and to remain after 
the school is dismissed for special conferences or general 
parents' meetings. But this, though extremely impbr- 
tant for various reasons, is only a beginning in the broad- 
ening (M'ocess which must go farther into life and abstract 
from it those dominant characteristics which are abso- 
lutely essential to its true understanding, and make it 
possible for these characteristics to be brought to the 
children, or the children to them, in such a way that they 
become part and parcel of their existence. Modem life 
is, above all, industrial; and one of the greatest responsi- 
bilities upon schools is that they shall prepare the child 
to understand life and intelligently to partake in life, 
through helping him to imderstand, and to have some 
part in, the great industries whereby life maintains itself. 
We do not mean that he must study these industries for 
the sake of taking part in them (necessarily), but it is de- 
sirable that he understand them. The proper introduce 

78 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

tion to such industries is an introduction to thdr local 
representatives, whatever those may be. The lack, then, 
of representation of local industries on the assembly pro- 
grams so far discussed, is a serious one. The second lack 
comes from the fact that in the plan already outlined, 
where a grade at a time has charge of the program, the 
social consciousness of unity within that grade itself ia 
assisted in somewhat larger proportion than is the idea 
of unity in the school as a whole. The search for reme- 
dies called attention to the possibility (already empha- 
sized by many writers on education) of a continuous utili- 
Bation of all local industries in the regular work of the 
school (and therefore in the assembly) and also to the 
possibility of at least one general assembly in the year, 
which from an industrial standpoint unites al! grades and 
all subjects. 

In the search for such a unity the past year, the loca- 
tion of Winona in the midst of the flax belt of the United 
States proved to be a great advantage, for the subject of 
flax furnished at once an ideal possibility for a center. 
Flax in Winona is represented by a local industry which 
receives the straw from surrounding farms of Minnesota, 
Wisconsin, and the Dakotas, and converts it into an in- 
sulating product called hnofelt which is largely used in 
buildings and constructions where it is necessary to keep 
heat or noise in or out of a given space. Flax also has 
everywhere a very close connection in time and space 
(history and geography) with the human race itself. As 
a subject of study it furnishes limitless opportunities for 
computation, for construction, for composition, for read- 
ing, for nature study, and elementary science. It has its 
own literature, its own folk songs, games, and rhythmic 
exercises, most intimately related to life in its simplest 
79 



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I 
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PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

and most understandable phases. It offers unexcelled 
opportunities for drawing and art work. In fact without 
any of the wrenching and unwise stretching of situations 
which have brought the word correlation into more or less 
disrepute — without any of this, it is easy to find almost 
numberless real connections between flax and all parts 
of the regular school curriculum, from the work of the 
highest grade to that of the lowest. 

The problem, therefore, in regard to this unity, became 
that of adjusting the flax idea to the curriculiun in such a 
way that the regular work of the school should not be 
interfered with by the flax material but rather should be 
assisted by it, making it possible at the close of the term 
for the pupils of all grades to pool their interests in a pro- 
gram which was a flax unity, at the same time that it was 
a program drawn from the ordinary school subjects of 
arithmetic, geography, history, manual training, physical 
training, music, English, nature study, etc., etc., as re- 
quired in any grade. 

In laying out the work, it was not by any means in- 
tended that ever3^thing done in a grade for a certain time 
should have the flax stamp. This, of course, would have 
led to tediousness and lack of interest. But it was 
planned to make the contribution of each department 
such as best fitted one major phase of its normal progress 
as provided for in the curriculima. Therefore, since part 
of the regular work to be done in the kindergarten cou' 
sisted of certain games and songs about the farmer, and 
certain activities in the school garden, it was very easy 
to decide that this work, turned in a simple and easy way 
toward the idea of flax farming, should constitute the 
contribution of the kindergarten. The work was carried 
on by the teachers in the usual natural way, nothing being 

80 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

said at first about its use in a program. Sowing and reap- 
ing songs were practiced. Dramatizations of the plant- 
ing and growth of seeds were attempted, school gardening 
was fostered, all with the idea {which was finally realized) 
of selecting out of the mass of this material that which 
would finally fit into the common program. From time 
to time, photographs of the different activities were 
taken, and these provided a very substantial aid to the 
final undertaking when they were thrown on a screen by 
a stereopticon during the progress of the entertainment, 
and explained by the same little people who were the 
subjects of the photographs. 

In the primary grade the main connection was made 
with the elementary nature study or environment work. 
In one sense, of course, this means that it was connected 
with elementary geography. For the modern view of 
geography being that of "relation of earth to life" this 
early environment or nature study work becomes that of 
collecting many of the earth facts and of the life facta 
which are afterward to be related in the science of geogra- 
phy. The regular school gardening was done both out- 
side the schoolroom and also in sand boxes (for rapid 
growth) inside the building. Wheat, flax, oats, com, etc., 
were planted and carefully watched and compared in their 
growth. An excursion to a farm was made where, since 
it was in the spring time, the pupils saw a field prepared 
for flax planting, and arrived at some idea of comparative 
sizes of their own little indoor fields, with the great fields 
that produce the world's products. Incidentally many 
other values were appropriated. The barnyard, the 
granary, the milkroom, the windmill, the cattle, chickens 
and otier farm animals came in for their share of atten- 
tion. Sketches and notes of these interesting things were 
8i 



1 



I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

made by the children and became the basis for later com« 
position and art work. Photographs were taken on this 
trip alsO; showing the children in their many activities 
and researches. 

Near the dose of the visit to the farm the children were 
invited into the house by the farmer's wife, and at their 
own suggestion sang for her some songs ''to pay her/' as 
they naively said, for the fine entertainment which they 
had enjoyed. On the way home they did not fail to note, 
and stop to try to sketch, the. beautiful hills covered 
with blue haze, and to pick certain flowers which "were 
too pretty to leave where no one would see them.'* 

These children also, as a part of their regular work, 
dealt with the myth of Frigga's gift of the flax to man- 
kind, and as one portion of their part of the final program, 
one of their number told this story of the beautiful blue 
flower and what it meant in the simple lives of common 
people. Others told of their planting and growing exper- 
iments, while the visit to the farm was made vivid to the 
audience when the actual scenes caught by the camera 
were thrown upon the screen and described by the chil- 
dren in semi-spontaneous speeches, which had never been 
written down and committed to memory, but which had 
been rehearsed to some extent, and judiciously criticized 
and culled by the teacher. 

In the intermediate grades the application peculiar to 
that department was made through home geography, and 
arithmetic, in a study of the local flax industry of linof elt 
making and through a study of folk songs. An excursion 
was made to the linofelt factory, the machines, processes 
and products examined one by one, and the material so 
collected was later made the basis for extended computa- 
tions of costs and returns, for detailed study of sources of 

82 - 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

materials, transportation routes, and the general idea of 
social dependenceas it relates to the local industry. Some 
of this factory material was also very valuable when used 
in written composition, for drawing and color work, and 
for construction in raffia, Venetian iron, and wood. Some 
of these things were only suggested and not fully worked 
out, because the available ideas proved to be so great in 
, number that time forbade carrying out many of them. 

One division of the program presented by this depart- 
ment had to do with the manufacture and uses of linofelt. 
Tlie flax straw as it comes to the factory was described, aa 
were also the processes of manufacture and the uses of the 
product. The talks were of the same nature and prepara- 
tion as those in the preceding section, and like those also, 
were made vivid by slides sliowing the children on their 
rounds through the factory. An original [)oem was read 
entitled " First Impressions Inside the Factory." Follow- 
ing this, other children of the section rendered the songs, 
"The Flax Flower" and "Ye Spinning Carol." 

TTie grammar grades chose to connect their work 
mainly with colonial history, art, and the rhythmic exer- 
cises of the physical education department. The old- 
fashioned methods of spinning and weaving in use by the 
early settlers in this country were studied and compared 
with modern methods. In the English classes original 
imaginative stories of colonial times were written by the 
children, taking such topics as "A Spinning Contest," 
etc. In the art classes there were drawing and coloring 
of the flax flower, the working out of conventional de- 
signs from this same flower, and the stenciling of these 
designs upon hnen towelings and other materials. Sam- 
ples of hand apparatus used in colonial times for linen 
manufacture, were made in the manual traiumg deport- 
Si 



J 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

ment and when the program was given their use was iUus- 
trated and explained before the assembly by means of 
flax materials secured from the local factory. Maps and 
other data concerned with the world's great flax areas 
were then presented, and finally the program was closed 
by rhythmic exercises illustrating two Swedish folk- 
dances, given in costume by children selected from differ- 
ent grades. These exercises represented spinning and 
weaving; and, as the figures developed, these processes 
were apparent in pantomime. This work is part of that 
regoisily done in the ph3rsical training department. It 
has large values for poise and grace, and yet much more 
in that it represents that almost forgotten and yet ideal 
spirit of natural social association in play, which dignifies 
work, and again emphasizes unity and kinship. 

In connection with this program there was held an 
exhibit of children's work, and smce the program was a 
flax unity, the exhibit was made a flax exhibit. Thisgave 
a point to whatever work was himg for observation, and 
made the exhibit possess more meaning for those who ex- 
amined it, inasmuch as the bearing of eadi portion upon 
the main subject was at once apparent. Having a real 
basis of this sort for the exhibit also tended to decrease 
that tendency to work merely for show, which is often 
apparent where work is put up as isolated individual 
efforts, without general value. 

In the exhibit, however, it was again true thatall of the 
school subjects were represented as they were in the pro- 
gram. There were maps and drawings of transportation 
routes and agricultural areas; historical charts and sto- 
ries; arithmetical problems involving flax information; the 
products of the manual training work; and the sketches, 
Btenriling and color work from the art department; a 

84 



THE PROJECT METHOD 

progressive exhibit of materials, processes, and products 
from the factory visited; written work dealing with ex- 
cursions to farm or factory, or with other matter pertinent 
to the general topic; a sand-box farm (modeled after the 
one visited) where different grains, including flax (which 
had been planted and cared for by the children), were 
green and taO in their little fields; linen work from the 
sewing department, and so on, until all were represented. 

At the close of the program, this exhibit was called to 
the attention of the audience, and as parents and others 
moved about inspecting the work, there was opportunity 
for social acquaintance and exchange of ideas, in an en- 
tirely informal way. 

Of course numberless other unifying ideas as basis for 
assembly work, will suggest themselves at once to any 
person who gives this matter any attention. The flax 
unity has been cited merely as an illustration. It would 
be impossible to have each program worked out in such 
detail, but as already suggested, a single program of this 
sort in the year is very possible, and very profitable. For 
the remainder of the year the assembly program will 
probably need to be given in turn by the individual 
rooms, for the benefit of the other members of the school. 
The main point is that the social and other values in- 
volved should be appreciated, and that it be remembered 
that a large part of these values is lost if the numbers 
presented be not drawn from regular school work. 

Some schools, because of lack of a suitable assembly 
room, will no doubt find it hard to utilize the idea at all; 
but school boards are happily seeing the necessity for 
such a provision in all modem buildings; and in those 
buildings where no such room exists, makeshifts can often 
be arranged by a corps of teachers who see the real value 
8s 



1 
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PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

and necessity for this gathering together. Use the largest 
room, and for extra seats bring in planks placed on nail 
';egs or other supports. Or divide the school into sec- 
tions, and even ii no more than two rooms at a time can be 
brought together, doing even this has its value. In good 
weather outdoor assemblies may be held, and in many 
ways the handicap of no assembly room may be over- 
come. But let us hope, considering the vital necessity 
for this phase of modem school work, that in the near 
future it will be a part of the accepted procedure of all 
schools. 

This however is not all of the project story, for 
growing out of the pedagogical phases just dis- 
cussed, are administrative and organization phases 
which are revolutionary. If there is to be exact 
measurement of individual differences, by means of 
standard tests, if complete and expert diagnosis is to 
be made of the individual child, and his possibilities 
discovered, then administration and organization 
must be with reference to the possibilities that ap- 
pear. For example, a knowledgeof the individual dif- 
ferences of children and an attempt to regard them, 
is the natural enemy of the "lock-step" graded sys- 
tem. For the regard for individual differences tends 
toward an entirely different flexible-group organiza- 
tion. To set up suck an organization is but one way of 
trying to fit the project to the child, or to a group of chil- 
dren similar to each other. The need for sudi fitting 
in the matter of gradation has long been felt, and the 
evidence of this lies in the long line of efforts for in- 



■ THE PROJECT METHOD 

dividual instruction, for group work, for differenti- 
ated and parallel courses, represented by such names 
as the Batavia plan, the Pueblo plan, the New Cam- 
bridge plan, the Baltimore plan, the San Francisco 
Normal School plan, etc. The decision upon a gen- 
erally accepted plan is yet in the future; but there 
is no doubt that if the present trend continues the 
graded system is, to a degree at least, marked for 
reorganization. 

But the attempt to fit the specific project to vari- 
ous specific groups has gone much farther than mere 
effort at various schemes of gradation. Groups have 
been segregated in special classes or special schools, 
and there are non-English-speaking classes, over-age 
classes, ungraded classes, disciplinary classes, open- 
air classes, classes for children with special physical 
defects, classes for subnormals, and classes for super- 
normals. Even a cursory examination of each of 
these types will make it clear that the essence of 
each one (its reason for existence) is the realization 
of individual differences, and the desire to fit the 
projects — the kind of "doing" — to the group. 

The same is true of such efforts as the Junior High 
or Intermediate School, and of many schools of the 
Gary or other unusual type. In each case the school 
has appeared because some one has felt that the proj- 
ect, the "doing," needs to be different in the particu- 
lar group in question. This feeling is easily seen to 
I be the center of such systems as that of Montessori, ^M 

L J 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

or of such changes as are represented by the reformed 
kindergarten movement, or the extended rural-life 
movement. 

Thus all modem reorganization and redirection of 
education goes back in the end to some application of 
the project method, because project method is only 
the reflection of modem principles in action; and the 
core of all modem principles is "self -education 
through activity." The attempt to fit the activity 
to the pecuUar nature of the peculiar self, or group 
of similar selves — the attempt to find the type of 
project fitted to all the various kinds and classes of 
pupils — is the imiversal key to modem reform. 

It is not meant to be implied that this widespread 
application of the project idea has always been under 
that name. Former use of the method, and often 
also the later use of it, has been designated by other 
names or by no specific name at all. Yet although 
the method itself has been widespread, as indicated, 
under whatever name or lack of name, nevertheless 
there has been the failure to see the whole problem in 
its full perspective with regard to prindples of educa- 
tion — a failure which it is hoped the present dis- 
cussion may overcome. 



PROJECT WORK IN TRADE EDUCATION 

Project work has been shown to be the application 
to education of the principle of "self -education 
through activities," which principle is the core of the 
modem system of educational principles. The phase 
of the subject already discussed is that in which the 
method is used in public schools with the intention of 
giving a broad, general, cultural education, adapted 
to individual diSerences, but aiming to result in some- 
thing of a common foundation upon which future 
specialization may be built. This education has 
been thought of as given to every one without rela- 
tion to social class or possible future vocation, except 
as the contact with industry afforded "vocational in- 
. sight." The development of this use of the method 
follows the historical line already reviewed. 

But there is another line of influence having to do 
with a project method as applied to special or trade 
education, which must now receive attention. It is 
an offshoot of the historical sequence already traced; 
but it does not go back quite so far, and because of its 
different focus or aim, it needs separate discussion if 
confusion is to be avoided. 

This movement is connected with the theory of 
Pestalozzi regarding the relation of industrial educa- 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

tion to education in general. It has already been 
shown that this teacher never rose to the conception 
of real democracy with equal rights and opportunities 
(including free education) for all. His view of edu- 
cation for the poor was always a philanthropic one. 
Their education was by him regarded as a gift from 
the more fortunate, not as a right which the State 
should supply. 

Early in his life he tried to apply this idea to the 
uplifting of the peasants in his locahty, through giv- 
ing instruction in improved methods of agriculture. 
Later he made industrial education the foundation 
of his work with the large group of orphan children 
which he took into his home and treated as his own. 
It was his plan to teach these children to earn their 
own living through the industrial work, and at the 
same time he planned to develop their intelligence 
and their moral nature. That is, he did not plan 
organically to relate other work to industrial work by 
making activity the center of school life. Nor did he 
rise to the idea of industrial work for general cul- 
ture, without regard to the economic gain. But he 
planned to teach specific industrial activities for the 
sake of enabling Ike child to make a living, and at the 
same time to give the additional instruction. 

In his work at Stanz he improved upon this idea, 
and began to get something of a real organic correla- 
tion between industry and the subjects of instruction ; 
but he was soon compelled to move to Burgdorf, 
90 



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i 



PROJECT WORK IN TRADE EDUCATION 

and to give up his industrial work because of tht 
social class of his new pupils. His efforts in the line 
in question were, however, efficiently continued by 
his friend and pupil Emanuel von Fellenberg, a 
young Swiss noble. 

Fellenberg had become interested both in Pesta- 
lozzi's industrial work, and in his observational 
methods, and decided to try to combine both in an 
"agricultural institute for poor boys," at Hofwyl, a 
short distance from Burgdorf. Here on a large six- 
hundred-acre farm he so planned the work that as 
fast as one pupH was trained be took a new pupil 
under his care. The school was thus, in a sense, a 
family group. The chief occupation was, of course, 
that of agriculture ; but the trades contributing to the 
farm were naturally featured also. In the trade 
workshops the pupils received a practical education, 
though books were not neglected. Student self-sup- 
port was possible under the plan, and this enabled 
many to remain in the school who could not otherwise 
have done so. The institute trained and sent out 
directors for like institutes; and it also sent out many 
rural-school teachers, concerning whom Fellenberg 
took the modern view that those who are to teach 
in the country should be sympathetic with, and in- 
formed about, rural conditions. 

The principles involved here are plain. It was an 

attempt to better the condition of the masses through 

industrial (trade) instruction fitted to them, and at the 

91 



1 
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PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

same time to give them such book learning as it was 
conceived would be good for them in their station. 
But it was not an attempt to give every one an oppor- 
tunity to make his own station according to his own 
ability, using industry from the standpoint of activ* 
ity applied to development. 

Fellenberg's efforts were very successful during his 
lifetime, and although the particular institution 
founded by him did not persist for long after his 
death, yet similar institutions sprang up and indus- 
trial courses were introduced everywhere in the main 
European countries as a result of his influence. The 
modem attempt, made very conunonly almost every- 
where, to take care of the poor, the defective, and the 
delinquent by giving them industrial education, is the 
direct outcome of Pestalozzi's industrial education 
as developed by Fellenberg. 

The movement arrived in the United States about 
1820. While directly due to the Fellenberg influence, 
it developed at first in a rather original and very in- 
teresting relation to the early " academies " or institu- 
tions for secondary training, and somewhat to the 
higher collegiate institutions also. In these institu- 
tions three difficulties had arisen: (i) The students 
were engaged in intellectual pursuits, and did not 
have enough physical exercise to keep their bodies in 
condition. (2) They did not have enough exercise to 
"work off" their natural youthful spirits and surplus 
energy, and so there was temptation to engage^in 

92 



f I 

' PROJECT WORK IN TRADE EDUCATION ' ■ 

I hazing, in rough practical jokes, and in many other ^| 

. very undesirable forms of student activity. (3) ^1 

Many of the students were poor and needed to earn 

I their own way at school. 

To meet these conditions industrial or manual* ^ 
labor features were introduced. The movement ^H 
started in the New England and Middle States in the ^M 
decade iSao to 1S30, but spread rapidly and soon ^m 

' covered the whole country. Secondary schools, the- ^M 

ological schools, and colleges adopted the system, and ^| 
the men were often put at work irrespective of their 
financial need. As the Andover Theological Semi- 
nary plan expressed it, it was "for invigorating and 

' preserving health without reference to pecuniary H 

pro&t." The other reasons already mentioned were, H 
however, also active. There was even organized a H 
"Society for Promoting Manual Labor in Literary ^| 
Institutions," and its influence was quite generally ^M 

I extended previous to 1840-50. General increase in ^| 

material prosperity in the country, and changed 
social conditions brought about a decay of the move- 
ment, and by 1850 it was largely replaced by a de- 

[ velopment of college athletics, ^^ 

This "manual labor in literary institutions" move- ^M 

ment does not, however, represent the main current ^M 

, of the Fellenberg movement. It never paid much 

attention to the psychological relation of activity to 
the learning process. It did not make activity, either 

I m a cultural or a trade capacity, the center of the cur- ^M 

i J 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

riculum; but it used activity , as a side issue^ for cer- 
tain supplementary purposes. 

The original Pestalozzi-Fellenberg idea of "re- 
demption through manual labor" has, however, 
through other channels, a firm foothold in certain 
phases of American practice outside of the public 
schools. It is the core of our movement for prison 
reform, and for all educational treatment of defec- 
tives and delinquents. There is a tendency to replace 
contract and factory work with the Fellenberg farm 
and domestic industries, and the good effect is be- 
coming gradually more and more apparent. In this 
work, however, at least until very recently, there has 
not been the broad grasp of fundamental educational 
principles which has been apparent in the public- 
school movement; and the work has had the "trade" 
and peamiary significance more than the general 
"social intelligence" and developmental significance. 

There is no intention to deny the importance of the 
trade, the self-support, aspect of the problem. One 
of the first social requirements is that every person be 
able to carry his own load, that he should not be a 
drag upon ^e rest of the sodal group. This phase 
of project method ought to be favored, and is fa- 
vored in evening classes, parental schools, correspond- 
ence schools and all sorts of industrial and trade 
schools where the necessities of the situation force an 
extra emphasis upon the problem of support; but it 
would be well if the broader idea was even in these 

94 



PROJECT WORK IN TRADE EDUCATION 

scbools favored as mudi as possible, in order that the 
student might come to see his own problems — his 
total life — in relation to the social whole and its 
lemocratic ideals. 

This turning to the broader idea has come about in 
America in one form of extension and use of the Fd- 
lenberg idea. This development has taken place out- 
side of the public-school system, and has done much to 
combine the trade and self-siq>port industrial educa- 
tion with the broader more cultural, social, interpre- 
tative idea. It (with the addition of certain prison- 
reform work of similar type) represents at present 
the most important phase of the Fellenberg inspira- 
tion as worked out in this country. 

The reference is to such schools as those at Car- 
lisle, Hampton, and Tuskegee, established for the 
regeneration and redemption of certain racial ele- 
ments of our population. The success of these ven- 
tures, both on the practical, "eam-a-living" side, 
and on the side of real culture and breadth of social 
view, has been a wonderful revelation; and they per- 
haps stand as examples of a trend which the public 
schools could take to their advantage. Indeed, their 
use of project method stands very dose to its use in 
the best modem schools with the added accomplish- 
ment of more dignifying of labor, more organic 
teaching of the relation of labor to life, and more 
real socializing through labor, than comes in the 
ordinary modem public school. 

95 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

This teaching of the relation of labor to life was 
part of the Fellenberg plan; but his conception of life 
was the aristocratic, and not the democratic, one. 
He did not plan an equality of social classes; but he 
hoped, through industrial education, to create a bet- 
ter understanding between classes. 

The following quotation from Graves's A Students 
History of Education (pages 296-97) states Fellen- 
berg's ideal with reference to this matter: 

But the work of Fellenberg did not stop there. From 
the begiiming he had felt that the wealthy should under- 
stand and be more in sympathy with the laboring classes, 
and learn how to direct their work more intelligently. 
Hence he began very early an agricultural course for 
land-owners, and many young men of the wealthy classes 
came to show a striking interest in his deep-soil plough- 
ing, draining, irrigation, and other means of educating 
the poor. But these wealthier youths remained at the 
institute so short a time that he could not extend his 
ideals very widely. To retain them longer at Hofwyl, in 
1809 he opened a "literary institute,'* which, besides the 
usual academic studies, used Pestalozzi's object-lessons, 
and strove to develop physical activities. Moreover, the 
pupils in the literary institute had to cultivate gardens, 
work on the farm, engage in carpentering, turning, and 
other mechanical occupations, and in many ways come 
into touch and mutual imderstanding with the poorer 
boys in the agricultural institute. The wealthy learned 
to dignify labor, and the poor, instead of envying those in 
the higher stations of life, became friendly and desirous of 
cooperating with them. Eventually there arose an inde- 

.96 



PROJECT WORK IN TRADE EDUCATION 

pendent conmmnity of youth, managing its own aflFairs 
outside of school, arranging its own occupation games and 
tours, choosing its own officers, and making its own laws. 
Within this little world was provided a training for so- 
ciety at large, with its various classes, associations, and 
corporations, which Fellenberg seems to have regarded as 
divinely ordained. Likewise in 1823, a school for poor 
girls was opened by his wife, and four years later he 
started a "real," or practical, school for the middle 
classes, which was intermediate between the two "in- 
stitutes." 

This statement makes it plain that Fellenberg's 
hope was to create sympathy and understanding be- 
tween rich and poor by putting the rich at a certain 
amount of work so that they came in touch with the 
poor, came to know what real labor signifies, and what 
its real difficulties and compensations are. But rich 
and poor were to continue to occupy their respective 
stations, and the industrial phase of the work was 
primarily for the sake of teaching the "trade" to the 
person who would continue to earn his living by it. 

In the degree to which project work in America 
is focused, therefore, upon trade rather than upon 
general values, it is back in the more "practical,*' 
Pestalozzi-Fellenberg movement, as opposed to the 
broader, more strictly educational, use of activity, 
represented by the work of Froebel in Europe, and 
focused in this country in the general educational 
theory and practice represented by Dewey. 

Two fundamental modem tendencies in American 

97 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

education are related to the use of project method 
of the Fellenberg tj^e. The first one is the tendency 
to the formation of an American system of caste^ 
based somewhat upon distinctions between capital 
and labor; and the second one is the related tendency 
to put trade education lower and lower in the ele- 
mentary school grades, partially for the purpose of 
holding pupils longer in school; but partially, if rather 
unconsciously, because of the pressure for the produc- 
tion of skilled operatives in various lines of industry. 
These points are covered by the discussion in chapter 
vn, in which chapter the consideration of project 
method is replaced by the discussion of the project 
used as a subject of instruction. In the meantime 
chapter vi will also concern itself with the project 
used as a subject of instruction, but the phase therein 
discussed is an earlier and less developed one than 
that considered in chapter vn. 



PART II 

PROJECT WORK AS A SUBJECT 

VI 

THE EVOLUTION OF TEIE PROJECT SUBJECTT 

The use of project work as a method in all subjects 
has been discussed, both with regard to its common 
public-school use and its narrower trade use. The 
problem of project work as a subject is now to be 
bandied. 

The difference between method and subject as 
here used can be briefly and clearly stated in terms 
of English work, for example. There is a body of 
subject-matter about English, and studying English 
as a subject has for its primary aim that, at the end 
of any given lesson, the student shall command more 
of the subject-matter. He shall know more about Eng- 
lish. But English is essential as a tnetliod in all sub- 
jects; and when used as a method in one of these 
other subjects (geography, history, etc.) the primary 
Eiim is not that the pupil shall learn more English 
subject-matter, but rather that he shall learn more 
geography or history subject-matter, through the aid oj 
English. 

Exactly the same distinction is meant in the ques- 
99 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

tion of project work. Project work, or "activity,*^ 
or "doing," as a method in other subjects (geog- 
raphy, history, etc.)i has for its aim the assisting of 
the pupil to learn more of the subject-matter of the 
given other subject — more of the subject-matter 
of geography, history, etc. But project work, or ac- 
tivity, or doing, used as a subject, has for its aim 
the learning of more subject-matter about activity 
or doing itself. That there is such a subject-matter 
has long been admitted, and its representative in 
the curriculum has been manual training or some 
other so-called activity subject. But is there need 
and place for such a subject? Under the improved 
use of project work as a method, could the extra 
subject not be dispensed with; and in this way could 
not certain overcrowding of the curriculmn be reme- 
died? 

There is no doubt but that too many different 
subjects are carried in most curricula, and that this 
is a source of some of the serious overcrowding of 
which complaint is made; and possibly the school 
could partly relieve the situation by getting along 
with project work as a method, alone. Perhaps 
there is no real, specific need for a special subject 
to represent these activity aspects of life. Perhaps 
it is even not necessary to have "subjects" at dl, 
if project method is properly used. This tends to 
be the view of Dewey who stands for a relatively 
informal instruction as regards subjects — an in- 

ICO 



EVOLUTION OF THE SUBJECT 

stniction which will psychologize the experience of 
the child, and keep that experience unified about 
activities. Thus it will minimize the "subject" 
which at its best is only the adult logical organiza- 
tion of the real experience involved. 

But many persons feel that the "no subject" view 
goes too far. They feel that it tends to make in- 
struction "indirect" in afield where a more "direct" 
instruction is required (see chapter vui). But leav- 
ing this consideration temporarily aside, a second 
presents itself. There is no doubt about the desira- 
bility of keeping separate the child's real experience, 
and the adult's logical organization of it as a subject 
of instruction. Yet, if education is to be definite, 
and is to be certain of adequately covering life in 
all its subjects or phases, and in their mdividual 
continuity, then the subjects ought to be logically ^h 
clear and distinct in the mind of the teacher at least, ^H 
no matter how undifferentiated the experience may ^H 
be in the mind of the child. For the teacher to see 
the phases of life (the subjects) in their individual 
continuity, even in the midst of an undifferentiated 
unity presented to the child, is the only guarantee ^H 
that she will not get lost in a mass of details. It is ^H 
the only guarantee that work will be balanced and ^| 
correctly progressive in all lines; and that the work 
of one teacher will be properly founded upon the 
work of those who preceded her. Subjects should, ^^ 
1 therefore, be differentiated. ^^| 

I I 



r 1 

f PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION ^1 

But there is no doubt that too many different ^| 
subjects are carried in most curricula, and that this ^| 
is the source of some of the overcrowding of which 
complaint is made. Yet it is very doubtful if manual 
training {or at least its later representarive, industrial 
arts) is one of the "extras." Instead of dropping it 
out, therefore, the real reason for the overcrowding 
should first be sought in another connection. 

Two ways to determine the correct number of 
subjects in the curriculum are possible. One might 
make a philosophical analysis of life (of experience), 
determine its main and vital phases, and organize 
and assign subjects based upon the phases found. 
But one can do an easier thing and arrive at ap- 
proximately the same result. He can go on the 
assumption that there has been unnecessary differ- 
entiation of courses; that courses often scheduled 
separately are really only fragments of more com- 
plete courses, or, perhaps, duplicates of work else- 
where provided. On this theory he may make a 
complete list of courses found in an extended series 
of elementary curricula, and by combination and 
reorganization, try to reduce the number. 

When such a list is made it has something the ap- 
pearance of the following: (i) geography, (a) ele- 
mentary science, (3) nature-study, (4) school-garden- 
ing (agriculture), (5) history, (6) civics, (7) current 
events, (8) primitive life, (q) elementary handwork, 
(lo) maauaJ training, (11) cooking, (13) sewing, 



i 



EVOLUTION OF THE SUBJECT 

(13) algebra, (14) geometry, (15) arithmetic, (16) 
physical education, (17} physiology, (18) hygiene, 
C19) folk-dancing, (20) sense-training, {21) plays and 
games, {22) athletics, (23) music, (24) fine art, (25) 
drawing, (26) picture study, (27) reading, {28) liter- 
ature, (29) language, (30) composition, (31) grammar, 
(32) speUing, (33) phonics, (34) penmanship, (35) 
modem language, {36) ethics. 

The causes of such an overwhelming list of titles 
(and the list might be easily increased, perhaps) have 
already been hinted at. They start from at least 
two sources: (i) A growing consciousness of the com- 
plexity of life, and a desire on the part of makers of 
courses of study to cover all life phases. There 
is frequent discovery of something that has been 
omitted and which must be added to the list. (2) A 
failure to recognize the possibility (a) that the 
omission is only fancied, and that the matter is really 
taken care of in another connection, or (6) that the 
material omitted may be used as new material in a 
course already scheduled, or taken care of by a mere 
change of emphasis within the old course. 

With these causes recognized, one can gc at work 
to exercise his "practical judgment" on the over- 
differentiated hst. Fragments may be brought to- 
gether, duplications pointed out, and a revised list 
made. Under this plan the first eight subjects in the 
list {geography, elementary science, nature-study, 
school-gardening, history, civics, current events, and 
103 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

primitive life) may be reduced without loss to history 
and geography, with some residual lower-grade work 
thrown into a composite nature-study (or "nature- 
and-man ") course. The next four courses (elemen- 
tary handwork, manual training, cooking, and 
sewing) become one imder the name of "industrial 
arts," or better the name "himian work" (see chap- 
ters vn and vin). The next three courses (algebra, 
geometry, and arithmetic) properly sifted, are only 
one — arithmetic; or perhaps better, mathematics, 
with elements of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry 
easily combined into one subject. The next seven 
(physical education, physiology, hygiene, folk-danc- 
ing, sense-training, plays and games, and athletics) 
are just plainly one great subject of physical educa- 
tion. Music and fine art remain as separate sub- 
jects; drawing drops out as a separate subject, and is 
combined partly with industrial arts, and partly 
with fine art. Picture-study is part of fine art. 
Reading and literature become one subject. Lan- 
guage and composition are just different names for a 
single subject. Grammar would probably have a 
separate place in the seventh and eighth grades. 
Spelling and phonics become word-study. Penman- 
ship remains by itself; modem language should prob- 
ably survive as a separate subject; and imder present 
conditions the controversy about methods of moral 
instruction make a decision concerning ethics un- 
certain and varying. 

104 



r 



EVOLUTION OF THE SUBJECT 

Just exactly this solution might not be agreed to 
by every one, but some such solution could be arrived 
at which would be to a degree satisfactory as a com- 
promise. Under it there would survive from the 
thirty-six courees listed not more than thirteen to 
fifteen; and there would be abundant room in the 
list for an activity subject, a project subject, such 
as manual training, or industrial arts if justification 
were found for it as a separate subject. Since the 
complex present is 'best understood in the light of 
the more simple past, the discussion turns at once 
to the evolution of this manual-training movement 
as the first key to the status and meaning of proj- 
ect (or activity) work used as a separate subject of 
instruction. 

The movement in question took its rise in Europe 
directly from educational leaders who have already 
been discussed in previous chapters. As it has ex- 
isted in American schools in the form of busy-work, 
whittling, clay-modeling, sloyd, etc., it is a direct 
outgrowth of the work of Froebel; but is not always 
so recognized. The path by which Froebelian in- 
fluence has come to manifest itself in this form is an 
interesting and devious one, leading through Finland 
and Sweden before arriving in America. The inspi- 
ration for it as an offshoot of Froebel's work comes 
from the desire of Uno Cygnieus {1810-88) to develop 
the kindergarten occupations and to make them ap- 
plicable to the higher grades. In pursuance of this 
105 



1 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

desire he developed a system of occupational and 
constructive work (project work as a subject) for 
upper grades, and, in 1866, Finland made it a part of 
the curriculum of its elementary and teacher-training 
schools. This system was not meant for trade edu- 
cation and resulting industrial efficiency; but was for 
general educational purposes. Cygnseus had caught 
something of the more or less vague idea of Froebel 
of respecting the individuality of children, and of 
bringing out desirable individual and social char- 
acteristics through processes of manipulation of 
material and tools. Through his influence the idea 
was developed in Finland, and in 1866 that country 
adopted for its elementary and normal schools the 
first manual-training course in any school system. 
This course was definitely not for trade instruction — 
not to train for a special place in a specific industry — 
but was to make a broad and general contribution to 
the educative process. It was, therefore, meant for 
all students alike, and had a standing comparable 
to the other general subjects such as mathematics 
or language. 

In 1874 Sweden became interested in this plan 
through a visit made to Finland by Otto Salomon, 
and the interest was sufficient to cause the recon- 
struction of trade courses, previously given in that 
country, into a more general project course, called 
"sloyd" or "manual training," given to all for its 
general value after the Finnish idea. The plan was 
106 



1 



k 



EVOLUTION OF THE SUBJECT 

taken up in other parts of EuropCj and reached 
America through the Centennial Exposition held 
at Philadelphia in 1876. 

American sloyd, manual-training, or project 
courses consisted at first of a copy of the Swedish 
system, and called for the making of a rather formal 
series of definite models. This system featured the 
idea of "from the simple to the complex" (conceived 
logically) ; and dealt with the learning step-by-step 
about tools and constructive projects, intentionally 
graded so as to require more and more complex 
equipment and operations. 

There was a good deal of the old formal disdpUne 
idea involved in this plan. It implied, even where 
it did not assert, that such work, formally carried 
through, would function later in a broader life which 
was being " prepared for." The aim was rather com- 
monly expressed as "coordination of hand and eye"; 
or as general muscular coSrdination, plus a general- 
ized knowledge of tools and processes. It there- 
fore featured memory and skill more than anything 
else, and was relatively barren of thought and direct 
relation to life and life motives. As this barreimess 
became more and more evident, there was the in- 
evitable tendency to compensate for it by increasing 
emphasis upon the trade values of the instruction: 
and there was, a decade or two ago (as there is to-day 
for another reason), more or less danger of falling 
back to some type of trade instruction such as was 
107 



1 



J 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

featured by Sweden before the visit of Salomon to 
Cygnaeus. There was, also, even among those 
teachers who repudiated the trade idea, a tendency 
to overemphasize the element of skill, and the pos^ 
sibility of its transfer to lines other than that in 
which it was acquired. 

Antidotes for tiiese tendencies gradually developed. 
The general solution arrived at by Dewey has al- 
ready been outlined. He includes this material in 
his general scheme of activities — in his general use 
of project tnethod, and does not plan to use a sepa- 
rate project stdject at all. Quoting from his "Peda- 
gogic Creed " : 

I beb'eve, therefore, in the so-called expressive or con- 
structive activities as the center of correlation. I believe 
that this gives the standard for the place of cooking, sew- 
ing, manual training, etc., in the school. I believe that 
they are not special studies which are to be introduced 
over and above a lot of others in the way of relaxation or 
relief, or as additional accomplishments. I believe rather 
that they represent, as types, fimdamental forms of social 
activity; and that it is possible and desirable that the 
child's introduction into the more formal subjects of the 
curriculum be through the medium of these activities. 

Dewey's solution, however, has not been employed 
very generally in its entirety. Very many schools 
have turned to his idea and have used project method 
to enrich and to vitalize the whole curriculimi; but 
the great majority of schools have tended to retain 

xo8 



r 



EVOLUTION OF THE SUBJECT 

also the special project course in the form of manual 
training, which course he would discard. 

Those who have retained the subject, however, 
have "seen the writing on the wall" and have been 
driven to justify the subject on some other basis than 
that of mere trade or sidll values, or even the old 
"coordination of eye and hand." One of the leaders 
in putting a better foundation under the subject has 
been F. M. McMuiry, of Teachers College, Colum- 
bia University. He has advocated the enrichment 
and dignifying of the subject by putting emphasis 
upon the real thought and life content involved, and 
upon the resulting opportunity for using the sub- 
ject as a means for training children in "thought 
methods of attack " upon life problems which are real 
to them. 

He has shown how, by using construction projects 
which do not necessarily follow a fixed sequence 
based upon the simplicity or complexity of the tool 
used, but by using those which touch the life of the 
child and serve a useful present purpose (not neces- 
sarily economic) for him, real living educative value 
is possible. He accepts the prevailing emphasis 
upon the importance of the motor as a part of the 
learning process, and also that idea of formal dis- 
cipline which claims the carrying-over of "thought 
methods of attack" upon problems; and emphasizes 
the enormous advantage of specific aims comiu] 



1 
I 



I 

from giving children an opportunity to make the ^| 

i - J 



/^ 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

things they want to put into direct use in their Kves. 
He points out that any subject of elementary in- 
struction is dignified and worthy of a place in the 
curriculum only when it possesses within itself a rich 
body of thought (not mere skill) which is not dupli- 
cated by any other subject, and which is necessary 
to, and intimately related with, life. 

He shows how to lead children to attack their 
problems of construction on the basis of previous 
thinking about something they want to make be- 
cause they conceive it to be useful to them. He tact- 
fully makes clear to the child that it does not pay to 
plimge into ill-considered work of construction, and 
that disappointment is almost inevitably the result 
of such a proceeding. He brings to the child's con- 
sciousness the items which should receive prelimi- 
nary consideration: (i) Just what is it that is to be 
made, and why. (2) What materials will be neces- 
sary. (3) Where are they to be obtained. (4) How 
much of each kind will be needed, judged from the 
dimensions and type of the object to be made. 
(5) What tools will be necessary — do we know 
enough about their use, etc., etc. 

All of this thinking about the ends or aim of the 
project, about the special fitness of certain ma- 
terial for certain work, the amoimt and source of 
material necessary, and similar topics, furnishes the 
body of thought which dignifies and enriches the 
subject, and which takes it out of the formal memor- 

no 



L 



EVOLUTION OF THE SUBJECT 

iter, and old formal disciplinary category, into a 
newer, less formal, more thoughtful relation to real 
life. The work is made really social since it deals 
with life problems of things actually to be used 
by the child himself, or by those with whom he 
thus learns to be in better sympathy and cofipei- 
ation. 

The idea has gradually grown and spread until no 
educationally intelligent person any more justifies 
manual training on the basis of skill in manual ma- 
nipulation or knowledge about tools and processes, 
which knowledge is to function later according to the 
older formal discipline idea. But very generally 
manual training is enriched, justified, and used on 
the basis of its thought content in relation to life, 
and its value in developing "thought methods of 
attack" upon the real activity problems of children. 
Of course the trade (skill) idea again becomes dom- 
inant as soon as specialization begins, and the child 
settles down to a choice upon liis life-work. But the 
tendency in American education is, and ought to be, 
to defer such choice and specialization until after the 
elementary-school period, and to make the elemen- 
tary period a time of broad, cultural, unspcclallzed 
participation in life. 

Bonser, building further upon Dewey's idea of 
"self-education through social activities," and com- 
bining it with the condition of the manual-training 
movement as developed by McMurry in his " thought 



1 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION ' 

work," has been the leader of those who would still 
further expand manual trainmg and domestic science 
and art courses into general industrial arts courses. 
The plan has been to expand the courses beyond 
the mere wood, iron, clay and raffia work of the older 
manual-training courses into a consideration of the 
place and importance of industry as a whole in the 
past and the present life of the race. 

Perhaps the idea is best expressed in the gen- 
eral statement of the aims of this work, taken from 
page s of the Speyer School curriculimi prepared by 
Dr. Bonser in collaboration with the Speyer School 
teachers: 

All work involving processes in the transformation of 
materials is included in this field. A rich subject-matter 
relating to the problems of man vital in his control of the 
material world is the backbone of the course. Until the 
end of the sixth grade there is no differentiation of work 
for boys and girls, and there is not the breaking up of the 
work into the subjects heretofore known as domestic 
science, domestic art, manual training, and drawing. 
One unified subject with appropriate xmits from each 
aspect of the work for each year makes up the course. 
In its organization, the material groups itself about man's 
needs in six particulars, namely: foods; shelter; clothing; 
records ; utensils ; and tools, machines, and weapons. The 
work under each is divided into subject-matter and 
projects. Projects are illustrative of processes of manu- 
facture. Their design involves a careful study of the 
principles of design, an examination of designs used to- 
day, and a study of the designs used by historic peoples. 

112 



EVOLUTION OF THE SUBJECT 

Processes of construction involve, not only hand produc- 
tion, but a study of power machinery, factory production, 
and transportation. The social aspects of the subject 
include studies of sources of material, markets, the condi- 
titms of laborers, and the relations of employers and la- 
borers, and of these to consumers. Excursions form an 
essential part of the work. The Metropolitan Museum 
of Art and The American Museum of Natural History are 
often visited. Much emphasis is placed upon the study 
of these topics from the standpoint of the consumer — the 
development of intelligence and appreciation in selection. 
All will use from each field of industry and art, but few 
will produce in each. Those having inherent aptitudes 
for production, however, may, and should, discover 
themselves by this work. It thus becomes of specific use 
in vocational guidance. 

History as studied in the lower and middle grades fur- 
nishes an invaluable aid in the work here offered. Indus- 
trial geography and nature-study are also closely corre- 
lated with many aspects of the industrial arts work. 

In the seventh and eighth grades the work is differen- 
tiated to meet the needs of children whose interests and 
aptitudes are diverging, and whose work must be shaped 
so as to point toward some group of life callings. 

In this sense, then, industrial arts as a subject has 
entered the curriculum in the place of the older man- 
ual training, domestic science and art, and drawing. 
It does not, however, supplant fine art which at least 
in certain of its aspects still remains in the curricu- 
lum as a separate subject. 

The aims of the enriched subject are expressed 



1 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

in still another form by certain theses and given 
below: 

(i) Large units of industrial subject-matter and spe- 
cific projects should be selected which most typically 
illustrate industrial methods and industrial life. 

(2) The Project in handwork should serve as points of 
departure for opening up the study of the industries in all 
of their larger relationships, social as well as material and 
technical, 

(3) Industrial arts should function in the child's life 
even more specifically in the direction of intelligence as a 
consumer, homemaker and citizen than as a producer. 

(4) The study of industrial arts should develop pri- 
marily industrial intelligence, insight, and appreciation, 
subordinating skill in manipulation to thought content. 

(5) Industrial arts as a subject should incorporate all 
of the values of manual training, domestic science, do- 
mestic art, and drawing as appropriate to the elementary 
school, and should add a rich body of thought giving 
them social meaning and real life value. 

It is plain that this use of industrial arts as a 
subject with industrial-social subject-matter, and 
with projects to provide activities, is completely in 
accord with McMurry's plea for thought work; and 
that it is also entirely in the spirit of Dewey's use 
of occupational and constructive activities as the 
center of the school program. There is no arrange- 
ment of artificial exercises for muscular and sense- 
training, but children get these things as the result 
of direct participation in affairs of everyday life 
114 



W 



1 



J 



r 



L 



EVOLUTION OF THE SUBJECT 

wMch require them. Industrial education is not 
centered upon any one industry, and not on the ma- 
terial welfare of a given community. It is centered 
rather upon the general (cultural) welfare of the 
young people of the community. But it differs from 
Dewey in that the industrial arts subject provides 
a means of getting the values of the Dewey idea into 
schools which are not willing to be radical enough to 
go the whole way in acceptance of Dewey's program 
of informal instruction, with the subject entirely 
subordinated to the real life processes. 

With its value thus considered by many thinkers 
to be clearly evident, industrial arts stands firmly 
entrenched as a separate project subject in the 
great majority of progressive modem schoob; but 
this use of it in no way interferes with its use as a 
method, unless the two uses are confused to the detri- 
ment of both. As a subj'ect, it is "a rich body of 
subject-matter relating to the problems of man in 
his control of the material world" and organized 
" about man's needs in six particulars, namely: foods, 
shelter, clothing, records, utensils, and tools, ma- 
chines, and weapons." This body of thought (this 
subj'ect) is a body of thought about the activities of 
man, about that phase of his life which is summed up 
in the word "doing"; and is just the expansion of 
the manual-training idea, which started out as a 
subject to feature this same doing, but in a less 
rich and more mechanical manner. 




PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

It is the task of succeeding chapters to deal further 
with the project used as a subject (now best repre- 
sented in the curriculum by the prevailing industrial 
arts courses), and to put forward a theory that this 
course is not yet on the ideal basis, either in subject- 
matter or method. 



VII 

THE BROADER CONCEPTION OF THE CONTENT 
OF THE PROJECT SUBJECT 

In chapters m and iv it was shown that the essence 
of modem education is '' self-education through ac- 
tivity" and that, as a result of this realization proj- 
ect method or the active solution of real problems, 
has naturally become connected with modem, Ameri- 
can, democratic, public-school education. Thus it is 
directed toward broad, general, cultural results with 
all children in all subjects of instmction. 

In chapter v was shown another use of project 
method arising out of the Pestalozzi-Fellenberg idea 
of elementary industrial education, with its recogni- 
tion of caste or social classes, and its trade education, 
fitting for a specific place in life. In this form 
project method has had a wide and often benefi- 
cent influence in American prison reform, and in 
the institutional treatment of delinquents and de- 
fectives in general. It would, however, have been 
a calamity if this trade use of project method had 
fastened itself upon the public school, since it could 
not have fulfilled the cultural aims, there so im- 
portant. 

In chapter vi which begins the discussion of proj- 
ect material used as a subject, it is explained how 

"7 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

the public schools, in organizing the new subject, 
again happily escaped this more aristocratic con- 
ception of industrial education, by the acceptance 
of the stream of Froebelian influence coming through 
Finland and Sweden. In the same chapter it was 
shown how the project subject evolved from its first 
rather formal and barren conception into the richer 
and less formal industrial arts courses. The justi- 
fication for any course in the curriculimi was dis- 
cussed, and industrial arts justified on the basis of 
a rich body of "thought subject-matter" which 
gives the subject social meaning and real life value. 
This body of thought subject-matter about doing 
(the general theory of doing) is not covered by any 
other subject, and is important enough to claim a 
place as a subject by itself. This is true, even though 
doing is itself made the center of all of the other 
subjects. For besides being a tool in all other sub- 
jects (just as English is a tool in all other subjects) 
it has its own body of subject-matter, the weight of 
which makes it a separate subject (just as English, 
through the weight of its body of subject-matter be- 
comes a separate subject). And subjects should be 
kept separate and logically organized, in the mind of 
the teacher, no matter how much an imdifferentiated 
and total experience of the child is emphasized. 

In the present chapter the question is raised as to 
whether tiie body of subject-matter utilized in in- 
dustrial arts courses is as broad and rich as it should 

ii8 



THE BROADER CONTENT 

be if industrial arts is to stand in the curriculum as 
the project subject. 

What is this doing, about which there is the rich 
body of thought subject-matter? Industrial arts 
courses confine it to the industrial phases of doing 
— to the transformation of material for the use of 
human life. But is there not a broader view, or at 
least a different view, which will ^throw new light 
upon the situarion? 

Man must struggle with his environment for at 
least three reasons: (i) for sustenance; (2) for de- 
fense; {3) for that development which comes only 
through struggle. The struggle would be necessary 
even if the sustenance and defense reasons were elim- 
inated, for without it development would cease and 
stagnation or death ensue. The human race is here, 
therefore, confronted with an inevitable law — a 
law of contact and interchange with the environment 
through activity. The friction of this contact is the 
force which insures human development. 

This active contact with environment — this nib- 
bing up against natural circumstances — is called by 
two names, play and work. Both require certain 
combinations of physical and mental factors; neither 
can be all physical or all mental, for man is a mental- 
physical creature. His mental and physical aspects 
are everywhere complementary to each other. Both 
act together to keep him alive and to keep him grow- 
ing toward the goal of his possibilities. Passivity is 
119 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

death everywhere. Active physical-mental man 
comes into contact, and often into conflict, with his 
natural environment; and wrests from this contact 
not only life, but a continued development of a 
richer and more abimdant life. In this conflict, 
thinking and doing are both essential, and must be 
balanced to suit the occasion and also the full life 
requirement. Too much thinking or too much doing 
are each equally bad extremes. Thinking prepares 
the stage for doing, and doing executes the plajis of 
thought. The balance of the two elements changes 
with the progress of experience. Much thought and 
little doing in the presence of a new difficulty, and 
more doing and less thought in the presence of an 
old one, are the rule. Much early motor activity on 
the part of youth, for the sake of mere bodily develop- 
ment, and less bodily activity and more thinking on 
the part of age, seems to be the natural status of 
the two factors. But let it be repeated that the two 
are complementary. The one dies without the other, 
and in the absence of both the creature is the sport 
of circumstances, and in a sense already dead. 

Man's life, then, may be said to consist in a struggle 
with environment, through play and work. Man, 
to live, must do something, and the doing utilizes 
both physical and mental factors in varying propor- 
tions at different times and under different drciun- 
stances. But this struggle with the environment is 
not concerned alone with the transformation of mar 

Z20 



THE BROADER CONTENT 



ly means ^| 
;ical skill ^B 



terial in the phs'sical sense. It is not by any 
concerned with merely the motor or physical 
aspect of the work. That it is not exclusively so 
concerned has been the very foundation of the argu- 
ment for a subject enriched by emphasis upon the 
"rich body of thought" involved. Even the indus- 
trial processes selected for the course have both 
physical and mental aspects. Why, then, should 
there be omitted from the course those other aspects 
of the struggle which have a greater proportion of 
the mental, but which bear just as vital a relation- 
ship (and perhaps a more vital one) to the whole 
struggle? 

It is one of the theses of this chapter that logically 
these more mental aspects cannot be omitted. The 
body of subject-matter which dignifies project ma- 
terial as a subject is a body of subject-matter about 
man's whole struggle with his environment. It is a 
body of subject-matter which should include those 
phases which have more of the mental and less of the 
physical, just as much as it includes the phases which 
have more of the physical and less of the mental. 
The management phases, the business administra- 
tion phases, the professional and any other phases, 
are just as much a part of the whole struggle as are 
the more manual phases. 

It is another thesis of this chapter that ever since 
the introduction of project material as a subject, 



I 



its main defense has been the semi-conscious attempt ^H 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

at focusing the course upon the interpretation of 

man's whole struggle with his environment. But 
there has always seemed to be some hidden force 
preventing an inclusion of the whole problem, and 
holding the subject-matter content down to the more 
physical aspects of the struggle. 

Perhaps the hidden force lies in the unconsdoU3 
tendency to tie the subject, in a degree, to the older, 
more aristocratic idea of the education of the poor. 
In this conception the poorer {and so-called lower) 
classes were destined to do the more physical work 
of the world, and the rich (the few in the higher 
classes) were destined to do the more mental work. 
They were to be the leaders, and were to do the 
thinking, both for themselves and for the others. 

It is not true, of course, that modem industrial 
arts courses, in focusing upon the more physical as- 
pects of the struggle, inleniionally are influenced by 
the older aristocratic conception of relation of physi- 
cal and mental in the life struggle. They stand for 
the combination of physical and mental — for the 
"rich body of thought," as over agamst the training 
for mere skill which is to be directed and controlled 
by some one else. They stand for everybody taking 
the same industrial arts course. It is not merely for 
the education of the poor. It is to be the means of 
enlightening every one, of creating sympathy and 
cooperation, and of giving vocational insight to all, 
but not determining vocational choice among the 



THE BROADER CONTENT 



trades. But, nevertheless, in some way the course 
has still retained the vestige of the aristocratic idea, 
in tliat it clings to its old association with the more 
physical aspects of man's struggle — to its associa- 
tion with the work of the poor as that work used to 
be conceived. 

It perhaps needs to be noted that industrial arta 
courses do deal with large manufacturing and indus- 
trial enterprises which, since the Industrial Revolu- 
tion, are the enterprises of the rich; but it is dear 
that they deal only with the more mechanical and 
physical phases of these enterprises, and not so much 
with the more mental phases of administration and 
management, which phases, it is to be remembered, 
were, under aristocracy, the work of the rich. 

Management, administration, business, and law, 
medicine, theology, teacliing, etc., are all only the 
more mental phases of the total doing by means of 
which man conquers his environment and insures 
his own development. Project work used as a 
subject should recognize tliis fact, and should deal 
not alone with the transformation of materials, not 
alone with the more physical aspects of the wonderful 
human struggle with environment, but it should 
organize and use a body of thought subject-matter 



1 



I 

I 
I 



about the whole struggle — about work and play, ^H 

their relationship, and their total significance in the ^H 

life of man. ^H 

i What this plan signifies is not an attempt at ^H 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

'* redemption through manual labor'* alone; but re- 
demption through an tmderstanding of, and a partici- 
pation in, the whole struggle. It is to be redemption 
through a consideration of everything that must be 
done to secure the development and the real welfare 
of a cooperating group. 

Thus this study would lead into the very strong- 
hold of social theories. In finding itself confronted 
by the whole struggle of man, and by a study of 
the significance of the struggle, it would at once be 
obliged to favor one of the two great divergent theo- 
ries. There must be bom either the aristocratic 
conception of special opportunities for the few, and 
of the rule of these specially favored few over the 
many; or there must be bom the democratic con- 
ception of equal opportimities for all according to 
their capacity. This wavering between social theo- 
ries of the claims of the individual and of the group 
has been characteristic of the past, but there seems 
now to be an almost imiversal choice of the equal- 
opportunity theory. At least America has made 
that choice, and stands committed to the theory 
that ultimately the welfare of the individual is 
wrapped up with, and subordinate to, the welfare 
of the group. Our democracy is built upon the rule 
of the majority; individual activity is held to be de- 
sirable, both for the individual and for the group, 
imless it goes so far as to be antagonistic to the 
group. Then it is held that it should be suppressed 

124 



THE BROADER CONTENT 



and subordinated to the group. Thus the best and 
ultimate good of the group as a whole is taken 
standard, and ultimately the majority of the group 
decides what that best good is. 

But this majority rule does not mean that the 
majority considers itself capable of doing everything 
for itself, and fails to recognize the individual expert. 
The majority turns many particular things over to 
the expert, retaining in regard to any of these par- 
ticular things only its faith in its own ability to judge 
the results of the expert's work. Then it holds the 
expert accoimtable for results, under pain of dis- 
missal for failure. Theoretically every one is made 
expert in some one particular line — the line for 
which he proves particularly fitted. And every one 
is to have opportunity to prove what he is fitted for. 
That work is then turned over to him, and society 
holds him responsible as an expert, just as he, in his 
turn, as part of the society, holds other experts re- 
sponsible. 

Thus is exemplified America's theory of "the 
equality of man," understood as meaning "the equal- 
ity of opportunity," and conditioned only upon 
original endowment. And the project study, if it 
becomes a study of all doing, must of necessity 
in America be a study of equality of opportunity 
for doing. It must of necessity have for its aim, 
not the creation of caste, not trade education which 
divides the classes, but a broad^ cultural foundar 
125 



1 

IS ^H 



I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

tion, which, by its very breadth and insight, tends 
to militate against and to break down all classes, ex- 
cept those inevitably created by endowment. And 
even with regard to them, its effort must be to min- 
imize the differentiation, and to emphasize the com- 
mon foundation which holds all together in bonds 
of mutual need, sympathy, and cooperation. 

Theoretically, except for the reason of difference 
in real capacity, in endowment, there should be no 
"Man with the Hoe" condition. There should not 
be those who do so much manual labor that the 
mental is dulled and brutalized. On the other hand, 
there should not be those who do so much mental 
labor that the physical is neglected and becomes im- 
paired; nor should there be such mental and physical 
idleness that the whole man degenerates and seeks 
excitement and excess to relieve ennui. But there 
should be such a balancing of physical and mental 
that each individual stands forth with all the best 
that is in him given opportunity to work in the inter- 
ests of all and therefore of himself. 

So the struggle is not a calamity. It is the center 
of existence. It is life itself; it is salvation in the 
truest sense. The man beats out his real character 
through his conflict with the problems of his environ- 
ment. Both his work and his play contribute. In 
fact it is difficult to distinguish between work and 
play when social conditions are right. Play is not 
idleness — not cessation of activity. It may at times 

126 



THE BROADER CONTENT 

be activity directed toward an end with a less definite 
and more remote product than comes out of work. 
But there is often so little distinction between the 
two that one man may work in his garden, and play 
by going fishing; and another man may work by going 
fiishing, and play in developing his garden. It is 
change and resulting relaxation in one direction and 
refocusing in another, which constitutes the real 
difference. There is no play activity which cannot 
be made work, or no work activity which cannot be 
made play under the right manipulation of circimi- 
stances. And the important thing in regard to the 
two apparently different kinds of activity is that 
while reasonably balanced activity is life, too much 
activity in one line is death, just as too little activity 
is death. The real spirit of play, as distinct from 
work, or work as distinct from play, is the spirit of 
the necessity for change of activity. Hence from now 
on the word "work " will be used to express the whole 
situation, including work and play. 

This philosophic-social ideal of activity, therefore, 
this democratic program, is nothing more or less than 
society's theory concerning man's great project — 
his struggle with his environment; and the study of 
this great project as a separate subject of instruc- 
tion is no more or less than an elementary sociology 
focused upon social ideals. What the method of such 
a study must be in order to keep it from being mere 
formal, ineffective preaching, is the subject of the 

127 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

next chapter. The remainder of this chapter will be 
occupied with further consideration of the content of 
the subject. 

The subject is to focus upon the significance of 
man's struggle with his environment. This struggle 
has been briefly denominated as work, although it 
includes work and play. What is the significance of 
work? 

I. Above all, work is necessary. It is necessary 
from two standpoints, one of which is social and the 
other individual. From the social standpoint there 
is a necessity for the satisfaction of himaan needs, 
which satisfaction, in a measure at least, must come 
from group action. It is not fair if some individuals 
fail to do their share in the group activity. Even 
though some one (living earlier) has made an accumu- 
lation of material resources, and passed them along 
to a certain individual, yet that individual is still 
morally boimd to be a worker himself. He person- 
ally must earn, or be a parasite in using what he 
does not earn. The world has not yet reached the 
place where it has an over-supply. Even if it had, 
the reduction in necessary effort should be distrib- 
uted, not concentrated in one person. The idler, from 
whatever cause his idling may arise, is a drag upon 
the wheels of progress. As an idler he has no place in 
a social scheme whose very essence is struggle — work. 

And work, besides being necessary from this social 
view, is also necessary as an individual matter, be- 

128 



THE BROADER CONTENT 

cause it is the one and only way in which the individ- 
ual develops his possibilities. It is the stone against 
which he sharpens his sword of life. It dulls and 
rasts without it. It is one of those inborn necessities, 
one of those conditions (processes) of development 
which must always be regarded, because they are 
natural, original, and cannot be changed or inter- 
fered with without loss. The individual can, with 
safety, no more expect some one else to do his work 
for him than he can expect some one else to eat his 
dinners for him. 

II. Work is dignified. Work is not to be regarded 
as a disgrace, as a calamity, to be ashamed of, and 
the fact of it concealed as much as possible. Since 
the hope of the world is in human life and its possi- 
bilities, and since the many kinds of work are neces- 
sary to sustain and develop life, then none of these 
many kinds of work can rightly be considered un- 
worthy. If some one sweeps the street, he is doing 
his share of street-sweeping, and also the share of 
many other people, while the other people do some- 
thing else. Surely, then, these other people shall not 
look askance at the sweeper merely because of the 
sweeping, part of which each of them must do if the 
other did not do it all. They must, rather, take the 
position that ail useful work — all work necessary 
to the common good of the social whole — is dig- 
nified work. Even the head must not be ashamed 
of the hands. 



d 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

in. Work may be joyful. The reasonable dis- 
charge of energy is pleasurable. It is only excess 
discharge, or over-monotony of discharge, which is 
painful. If all help in the work so that none have to 
fvork too hard, if a worker is not made unhappy by 
being looked down upon because of the character of 
his work, then there is no reason why he may not be 
happy in his work. To spend energy in the solution 
of the world's problems — to make one's work a 
problem, and to solve it by doing the work as well as 
one can (even though that work be street-sweeping) — 
is foimd to be one of the greatest joys that the world 
offers. 

IV. Work must be divided, and each must find his 
place in it. No person can do all. It is (in modem 
life, at least) a physical impossibility for himaan be- 
ings to try to live in that way. "We are meant to 
help each other like hands and feet, like upper and 
lower rows of teeth." At least we must live life on 
this principle if we succeed. Therefore each should 
look for, and should be assisted to find, his place in 
work; and then should expect to be happy and re- 
spected in his contribution. 

Perhaps these four elements do not constitute the 
best analysis of the significance of work that could 
be made; but they will serve as an illustration of the 
idea which is being advanced, and can be used tenta- 
tively, subject to revision at any time. With them 

130 



THE BROADER CONTENT 

in mind it is easy to see what must be done, from the 
content side, to get this material before children. All 
that is necessary is to expand the industrial arts 
course to include all human work, and organize it all 
about these items in the signij&cance of work. 

But more needs to be said to make this plan defi- 
nite enough. In the first place, the plan implies, in 
the mind of the teacher at least, a more definite and 
conscious realization of the distinction between the 
project work used as a method and project work used 
as a subject. The value of project method is prima- 
rily that of getting subject-matter in aU subjects (in- 
cluding the project subject) through right utilization 
of the principle of self-activity. The value of the 
project subject is primarily that of carrying a spe- 
cific subject-matter concerning the significance of 
activity to life. 

Even makers of industrial arts courses have not 
always given evidence that they have dearly con- 
ceived this distinction, and the result has been bad 
for the industrial arts courses, because imless the 
project subject is very clearly differentiated from 
the use of project method, then the project subject 
seems to "spill over'* into every other subject, its 
continuity as a subject is obscured, and interfered 
with, and vagueness and indefiniteness result. And 
even at the expense of seemingly unnecessary repe- 
tition it is here repeated that tiiis vagueness must 
be guarded agaiost in all subjects. If education 

131 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

is ever to get anywhere the teacher miist see ex- 
perience (life) as consisting of certain phases (sub- 
jects) each of which has its own ends, and cumulative 
development and continuity in its march toward 
those ends, no matter how imitary the experience is 
kept for the child. Otherwise work will become mere 
dabbling in a mass of details — mere wandering 
through a wilderness of facts and experiences un- 
focused and xmprogressive in any particular direction. 

The proposed expanded course, therefore, is to 
have its own definite continuity in terms of the sig- 
nificance of work. It is not to consist of mere expe- 
riences Tvith work, nor yet of a mere piling-up of facts 
about work, except as those experiences, and that 
piling-up of facts, are all focused upon the significance 
of work in the life of man. The method of mak- 
ing this significance dear is to be project method. 
It is to be the same project method that is used in 
other courses, but it is here to be applied to the proj- 
ect course itself; and the backbone of the project 
course — its continuity — is to be in terms of the 
significance of man's one greatest project, his strug- 
gle with his environment. That significance is: 
(i) that work is necessary, (2) that it is dignified, 
(3) that it may be joyful, and (4) that it must be 
divided, and that all must codperate in this divided 
work for the good of all. 

If the project course does not result in implant- 
ing these ftmdamentals firmly in the mind of the 

132 




THE BROADER CONTENT 

child, if it does not succeed in so welding them with 
his experience that they become a part of him, then 
the project course has failed, no matter how much 
it may have given experience in work or piled up 
fact about work, and no matter how much project 
method may have assisted in the development of sub- 
ject-matter in other courses. 

Such a course as the one recommended will neces- 
sarily include much of the same material as that now 
used by industrial arts courses. It will deal with 
man's relations to his environment, and so will cover 
his early conquest of that environment (primitive life), 
much of the so-called "nature-study," and many 
of the nature facts and human-life facts which are the 
background for real history and geography; and will 
also incorporate much of the higher-grade manual 
training and domestic science and art. In all this 
it will deal with man both as a producer and a con- 
sumer. But it will deal with production and con- 
sumption as they a_ffect all phases of work. It will aim 
to make a person intelligent in his consumption of 
those forms of human work in which the mental pre- 
dominates, as well as to make him intelligent In his 
consumption of the more physical aspects. A man 
ought to choose his physician, his lawyer, his busi- 
ness manager with as much insight as he chooses 
his tie. He asks what firm made the tie, what firm 
furnished the goods, etc.; but he seldom asks at 
what university or other school his physician received 
133 



I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

his training. He goes by the physician's personal 
appearance, or by his easy accessibility, or by the 
opinion of some one who refers him to a given phy- 
sician. Of course the matter of accepting opinion is 
in itself all right if rightly done. We must accept 
the opinion of the one whom we think knows — of 
the expert; but the safeguard is to be sure first that 
the person is an expert, and this certainty is often 
not forthcoming, especially in our "consumption" 
of advice concerning these more mental phases of the 
life struggle. 

The tendency to focus upon the less mental phases 
also serves to emphasize (unconsciously and unin- 
tentionally on the part of makers of industrial arts 
courses) the tendency to look more to material values. 
This is at best already too strong in human nature. 
The leader of the George Junior Republic tells that 
when he first brought children to his farm he gave 
them some presents; and that the first thing the next 
group asked was, "Where are de tings?" It was his 
task to train them to a different point of view — to 
point them to the more immaterial "tings"; just as 
it is the task of the enlarged industrial arts (or hu- 
man work) course to point students to the real and 
more spiritual significance of work to life. 

In common with industrial arts courses, the hu- 
man work course admires Fellenberg for his keen 
insight into the use of industrial work for the pur- 
pose of creating sympathy and co5peration among 

134 



THE BROADER CONTENT 

the workers; but it tries to keep clear from his es- 
sentially aristocratic tendency to specific trade in- 
struction in popular education, and from his naive 
kindness to animals attitude toward the poor. It 
combats the tendency toward too early speciali- 
zation and emphasizes the need of the broad, uni- 
versal foundation upon which foundation one's spe- 
cialty — one's particular phase of expertness — is 
to be built. It deplores, and throws its influence 
against, any tendency to push trade education so 
low in the elementary grades that the broad prepa- 
ration is interfered with; and it recognizes the spe- 
cial danger that the very introduction of the project 
work may, imder relaxed vigilance on the part of 
far-seeing teachers, result in an attempt to exploit 
the elementary school for the purpose of the produc- 
tion of skilled operatives, and thus make the schools 
the agent of that very child labor and consequent re- 
striction of broad development which they fear. 

In addition to all of this it tries to expand the 
course into a consideration of all human work, to 
focus it definitely upon the significance of that work, 
and to present a direct continuity in terms of the 
items of that significance. 

An attempt to make a beginning on such a course 
was made in 1915-16 by the writer, in a rather ten- 
tative and incomplete manner, with the representa- 
tive of the industrial arts course in the program of 
the training school of the State Normal School, at 

^3S 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

Winona, Minnesota. At that time the idea was only 
imperfectly developed, the course was called "in- 
dustry," in order that it might not be too radically 
removed from the practices of other schools, and 
much industrial and activity material was directly 
borrowed (with credit given) from the Speyer School 
course. But the borrowed material was reorganized 
and at least partially made to fit the plan here 
proposed. 

Believing that children of the kindergarten and 
first three grades were not yet ready to study the 
significance of work (nor to study directly history 
and geography), the principle of the relative "total- 
ity of the young child's experience" was appealed 
to, and for the first three years a composite course 
was carried which was, as a whole, a preliminary, 
preparatory course, called "nature and man." It 
carried a background of nature facts and life facts, 
which background was necessary to the industry 
course, and also to geography, history, and nature- 
study as well. At the fourth grade this composite 
course was differentiated into industry (a better 
name would have been "human work"), history, 
and geography, while the science aspect of nature- 
study was carried on by the geography course, and 
the appreciation aspect was put into the fine art 
course. 

After the industry course was definitely differ- 
entiated in the fourth grade, that grade's work, con- 

136 



THE BROADER CONTENT 

sisting largely of the same material usually taught 
in mdustrial arts courses, was organized about the 
necessity for work. Similarly the work of the fifth 
grade was organized about the added fact of the 
dignity of work, and that of the sixth grade about the 
added fact of the joy of work j the other elements being 
included in each case in review. In all of these grades 
boys and girls were taught together. The seventh 
and eighth grades seemed the natural place to stress 
the division of work. It is the point at which the 
work of boys and girls usually divides into manual 
training for the one and domestic science and art for 
the other. And it is the place where boys and girls 
are at least beginning to think about what they in- 
tend to do in life. Hence to stress the necessity for 
the division of work, and to give opportunity for 
direct contact with as many f amis of work as possible, 
seemed to be the very best sort of pre-vocational 
work, and at the same time thi$ very best iniiiatioii 
into real life conditioM with r ef id'ence to the division 
ofwork. Of course the otbitt' crlnttkfiits in the division 
of work were also kept to ttAsA mid ki relationship to 
the whole problem* 

In considering the ^yMm ^ wmkf imd possible 
pre-vocational leaiifai|s Umufd e^fUdh kinds of work, 
the professions were ini^ltided in the course; and it 
was intended to expfMud the emrm and Include the 
problem of work as a wh^le^ Hds was not so suc- 
cessfully accompUsbed i# it ecmld be in future ex- 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

periments; but the course was at least broader and 
more comprehensive than many similar courses, and 
there was the recommended attempt to focus upon 
the significance of all work to life. 

This course is published as one part of a complete 
curriculiun which was issued at the time, and a few 
copies are available at the Winona Normal School. 
The industry course should, however, be regarded 
as a conservative and only partially worked-out ex- 
periment, drawing heavily upon the Speyer material, 
reorganizing it, but only partially fulfilling the ideal, 
discussed in these pages, of a broad, cultural coiurse 
directed toward the real significance of work in ^a 
coimtry conunitted to the Uieory of equal opportu- 
nity conditioned only by original endowment. 

There is great need for such a course in America. 
The tendency to form castes here has its roots in the 
relations of capital and labor, and something should 
be done (everything possible should be done) to 
combat the tendency. The tendency to shirk work 
as a calamity and as an irksome thing; the growing 
indications of dass strife represented by the labor 
and capital controversies, and fostered by extreme 
and ill-considered social doctrines; the increased 
social snobbishness which causes workers to be looked 
down upon by a leisure dass, and which causes all 
rich to be envied i£ not cursed by those who have less; 
the increasing tendency for housework to be regarded 
as menial; the too many bizarre and unfit choices of 

138 



THE BROADER CONTENT 

occupation — all of these call for a subject whose 
particular social significance is that of making in- 
trinsic in character a knowledge of the significance 
of work, right attitudes toward work, and a keen in- 
sight into the choice of a life-work for which one is 
peculiarly fitted. 

The difficulties of handling such a course so that it 
will not be "preachy," and so that it will be effective, 
are very great; but it is with the hope and the con- 
viction that the task can be accomplished that the 
problem of method is attacked in the next chapter. 



VIII 

THE NECESSITY FOR MORE DIRECT TEACHING 
OF THE PROJECT SUBJECT 

After giving all possible credit to industrial arts 
courses (and they deserve a very large share of credit) 
it must be admitted that there is a certain vagueness 
and indefiniteness about them. Many persons have 
not felt exactly sure of what such courses are aiming 
at. They are not clearly differentiated from the use 
of project work as a method in other subjects, and 
they seem to feature industrial projects for the sake 
of piling up certain facts about industry, and for the 
sake of exposing children to certain rather vaguely 
conceived attitudes toward industry. But the facts 
are not orgam'zed with reference to the attitudes 
as a specific goal, the continuity of the course is not 
definitely in terms of any fundamentals which are to 
be progressively realized, and all of this has led to 
much haphazard and ineffective teaching. 

Definitely to change this condition by choosing 
worky and a knowledge of the significance of warky as 
a center about which tiie whole miscellaneous vol- 
ume of factis is to be organized, and into which the 
whole is to converge — to make the continuity of 
the course directly in terms of the factors of the 
significance of work in the life of man — banishes 

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MORE DIRECT TEACHING 

indefiniteness, "brings the course down to earth/' 
and puts upon the teacher of it a perfectly definite 
problem. 

But by what method is the teacher to go about the 
teaching of the significance of work? No good teacher 
would depend upon "preaching" which was to be 
accepted in a formal, memoriter way by the children. 
For teachers have had too much experience with 
formal instruction in many subjects, and with the re- 
sulting failure of the teaching to fimction in real life, 
to make any mistake of trying to do formal teach- 
ing of the significance of work. The material is of 
such a nature that the attempt could only result in 
failure. 

But formal teaching is entirely unnecessary. In 
teaching the significance of work one finds it per- 
fectly possible, and natural, to follow in the footsteps 
of the industrial arts course and to continue to ap- 
ply the best type of project method to this separ 
rate, expanded project course. In this matter no 
change at all will be made. The course will appeal 
to "self-activity in the solution of problems." But 
the change that will be made will be to use the method 
directly instead of indirectly and incidentally in the 
service of certain specific aims. It Is this direct teacb- 
mg, coupled with the expansion of content discussed 
in chapter vn, which is depended upon to take the 
vagueness out of industrial arts courses. For their 
vagueness has not been in their general metbod; but 

I4X 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

in their incomplete content, and in the indirectness 
and incidental character of their attack upon their 
rather obscure and limited aims. 

In the proposed course there is to be direct use of 
an expanded content, in the service of very definite 
and complete aims. There is to be direct teaching of 
the significance of man's whole struggle with his 
environment, direct teaching of the significance of 
work, as opposed to the more incidental teaching of 
certain phases of work. 

The dangers and difficulties of this program are 
keenly realized and freely admitted. But it is also 
believed that there is no necessary reason why they 
cannot be overcome by diligent, conscientious effort. 
The main danger, that of formality, is controlled 
just so long as really vital project method is used; 
and there is every reason for continuing this method 
in the project course, since, rightly handled, it is the 
best ally of the direct teaching proposed. 

The teacher who has used the indirect and inciden- 
tal method has been willing to work on the basis of 
rather imperfectly and indefinitely conceived goals; 
and she has been willing to approach the goals by 
repeatedly, but only incidentally, "exposing" chil- 
dren to them, in the hope that gradually they will 
be "caught" through the more or less contagion of 
the "exposure." That such a plan has had a wide 
currency in America is difficult to realize. But its 
real detriment to the whole educative process is so 

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MORE DIRECT TEACHING 

certain that it is worth while to drive home the facts 
about it by rather copious illustration. 

The illustration meeting our purpose, which goes 
farthest back in the history of modem education, is 
the use of the old method of spiral teaching. Old spiral 
system is used advisedly, for there is a new spiral sys- 
tem which is to be commended as good, while the old 
is to be discarded. 

In the old system as used in arithmetic, it was the 
plan to have certain phases of division of fractions, 
for example, come round and round in the book, in 
a regular "merry-go-round," all on the "exposure'' 
theory. There was never illustration enough, or 
interest enough, or practical application enough to 
make the necessary impression and to furnish the 
necessary drill. There was no specific consciousness 
of specific aims. At least there was no direct realiza- 
tion of specific aims. For there was no direct attack 
upon something to be conquered. There was just a 
sort of blind faith in the "exposure"; and this "ex- 
posure" was often almost instantaneous, being usu- 
ally two or three examples removed from any con- 
crete situation, or at least not given in any situation 
concrete to the child because it "bit him where he 
Kved." 

Thus the grind round and round the cycle* ac- 
complished little, and the child who had "had" arith- 
metic "for long and ever so long" was still Jufit about 
the same candidate for it as be was in the beginning. 

143 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

The substitute for the old spiral method goes upon 
one of the suppositions that was at the bottom of the 
old. It goes upon the supposition that a person can- 
not learn all about a certain thing at one time. There- 
fore it cuts the material up into sections to be learned 
separately. But it does not fail to be very definite 
about just exactly what is to be learned ; and it does 
not depend for the learning of the sections upon mere 
"exposure" of section after section, and then repeat. 
The mere repetition of vagueness does not very surely 
lead to the desired definiteness. Hence the new spiral 
method conquers its problems in one section, and then 
proceeds to the next. Of course it would be unfor- 
tunate if it did this conquering in a formal manner, 
but formality is not at all necessary to definiteness 
in learning. Good project method of the most in- 
formal kind can be directed toward, and arrive at, 
the most definite of results. It is only necessary for 
the goals to be held clearly in mind and for experi- 
ence to be manipulated toward them. 

A later American experience with indirect (inci- 
dental) method is connected with the problem of the 
teaching 6f spelling. There was a long time during 
which direct (and rather formal) study was put upon 
spelling words in school. Then in a certain city an 
experiment was made in two schools. In one of the 
schools the regular time was put upon spelling. In 
the other, spelling was taught "incidentally." That 
is to say, the words were dealt with as they happened 

144 



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MORE DIRECT TEACHING 



to appear and to be needed by the pupils. At 
close of the experiment it seemed apparent that 
pils in the school that did not teach spelling as a 
separate subject, but only taught it incidentally, had 
made as much progress as had the pupils in the school 
where the regular time had been given to the teach- 
ing of spelh'ng. 

The conclusions of this experiment, ajid of others 
of approximately the same import, were circulated 
widely over the country; and as a result there was a 
rather general discontinuance of regular, direct spell- 
ing instruction, and a rather common dependence 
upon the incidental method. The children were ex- 
pected to "pick up" their spelling from their more 
or less chance contact with words in their other les- 
sons. The words were constantly before them, they 
were constantly read and copied by them, and "ex- 
posed" as the children were to the correct spelling, 
it was assumed that this " exposure " would conquer a 
majority of the words, and that the occasional focus- 
ing upon a difficult word at the time the difficulty was 
discovered, in whatever subject, would complete the 
process. For so it seemed to have worked out in the 
experiments. 

But there soon proved to be a serious falling-o£E in 
spelling ability'_as the result of the " incidental " proc- 
ess. It became evident that it was not getting the 
results that were hoped for it and that had seemed to 
come in the experiments. A possible explanation of 
MS 



it the H 

It pu- V 



I 



I 




PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

the experimental results is that perhaps in the ex- 
periments teachers, enthusiastic for the "incidental" 
method, had really put more time upon spelling than 
they realized, and had been especially conscientious 
in watching for opportunities to meet the real spell- 
ing need of the pupils; but that the rank-and-file of 
teachers, pushed by the great ntunber of details of 
their work, and not so enthusiastic for the spelling 
teaching, rather unconsciously fell into the habit of 
neglecting spelling entirely. 

There is no doubt but that the teachers engaged in 
the experiments got the results; but it is probable 
that they did not really save much time by the proc- 
ess. The sum of the necessary little bits of time 
given to incidental teaching was probably as great 
in the long run as would have been the time devoted 
to a regular spelling period. At any rate, the experi- 
ment and its application have shown that when 
teachers get anywhere with the teaching of spelling, 
they do so by putting definite work upon definite 
things, either in a definite spelling period or in little 
bits scattered through many periods. And the "ex- 
posure" part of the process showed that spelling is 
not very contagious upon mere "exposure." It re- 
quired a real "inoculation" process to be efficacious; 
for if "inocutarion" is properly carried out there is a 
certainty of result unless the person proves to be 
absolutely immune. 

As a result of this experience most schools are back 
146 



1 



MORE DIRECT TEACHING 

to the old spelling period, and to direct attempts at 
"inoculation." For it is safe to say that the keynote 
of the new spelling is that spelling must be definitely 
taught — that mere "exposure" is too uncertain. 
Specific word-lists must be handled and specific diffi- 
culties found and conquered. Experiments have 
been made to determine what words cliildren should 
learn to spell, the continuity of the spelling course is 
made in terms of those words, and words necessarily 
dealt with in other courses are regarded as temporary 
and relatively non-essential. Experiments have also 
been made as to how best to fix the spelling of specific 
words; and organic, non-formal, direct technique of 
"inoculation" has been developed, and the spelling 
course now comes much nearer to knowing where it 
is going, and how it expects to arrive. 

The problem of study, or "How to Study," has 
had a similar evolution. In the whole history of 
modem education until very recently the teaching of 
how to study has been on an indirect basis. In so 
far as teachers tried at all to teach children how to 
study, they did it by studying with children. In this 
studjdng with children they used good methods of 
study, or at least they used the best methods they 
knew. Thus they " exposed " children to the methods 
which they hoped would be so contagious that the 
children would "catch" them. There was some 
contagion, especially of the repetitive, memoriter 
method, partly because this is the easiest method 
147 



1 

I 

I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

to catchy and partly because it is the natural method 
with no teaching at all. Moreover, when teachers 
did make an attempt to tell how to study, about the 
only conscious method in their own minds was "the 
read it over so many times " method ; and it was, there- 
fore, this method which was consciously passed on. 

No one really took the trouble to analyze study 
into its factors — to become conscious of what the 
problem really involved. Much less did they have 
any idea of making children conscious of the factors. 
Then came Dr. F. M. McMurry's contribution in the 
form of a real anal3rsis of study into factors which 
could be isolated for both teacher and pupil; and his 
advocacy of a more conscious use of these factors. 
Teachers could then even improve their "exposure" 
technique and could have greater hopes of an im- 
proved degree of contagion, because, with the factors 
clearly in their own minds, they could arrange the 
stud3dng so that the factors were much more likely 
to carry over than they were before. 

But teachers could improve vastly more by stop- 
ping the mere studying with pupils, with its incidental 
"exposure" theory, and its dependence upon a con- 
tagion which was never very virulent; and by turn- 
ing to the direct "inoculation" theory, and beginning 
really to teach children how to study j through making 
children themselves conscious of the definite factors 
involved. Then there could be real focusing upon 
the important factors, real illustration of them, and 

148 



MORE DIRECT TEACHING 

real drill upon them. The whole could constitute a 
course with a continuity in terms of the factors, and 
hence there became possible a direct drive toward a 
definite goal. Such a course in "How to Study" or 
"How to Think" is a real part of the curriculum in 
many schools, and will become more and more s 
everywhere. It is the logical outcome of the con- 
viction, earlier discussed, that it is no longer possible 
to teach all of the multitudes of facts accumulated by 
the race; but that it is possible to develop "methods 
of attack" which will make the student independent 
in his solution of difficulties as they arrive, A good 
course in "How to Study" or "How to Think" ful- 
fills this purpose. It attacks its problems directly 
and not incidentally, but it does not "preach" the 
factors for mere mechanical memorization. It welds 
them into the child's experience by connecting them 
with real life in the most vital way, through an appli- 
cation of the best project method. 

This decision for direct method is supported by 
some of the oldest and most definite and most au- 
thentic of American psychology, James outlined it, 
and it has been featured in a number of books since 
his time, besides being everywhere imphed in edu- 
cational writings. It deals with the necessity for 
repetition imlh attention, as contrasted with mere 
repetition; and hence calls for specific aims, and a 
concentration upon specific factors, which is directly 
opposed to the "exposure" theory. 
149 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

Tlie facts about the two theories are the common 
possession of every one. A person who stops to 
think about it knows that he seldom leams the num- 
ber of steps which lead up to his door, or even the 
Aumber of buttons on his coat, merely by repeated 
**e3q)osure" to the facts. There must usually come 
some reason for focusing upon, some reason for fixing 
attention upon, them; and for having emotions and 
attitudes raised concerning them, before the facts 
become really fiixed. But let the specific aim ap- 
pear, let the attention be focused, and especially let 
the whole be accompanied by a considerable amount 
of emotion, and no effort has to be made to remembet 
the facts. They fiix themselves a» an accompaniment 
of the experience, as an integral part of the experi- 
ence, and they come back as such, and not as a de- 
tached series of facts to be remembered. 

Even so short a consideration of the psychology 
involved is perhaps sufficient. It shows that the 
teacher's business is to be very conscious of the spe- 
cific things upon which she wishes to center the 
attention and the emotional experience of the child. 
It shows, moreover, that she must, if she is to be 
most effective, not merely see that a child repeats an 
experience, but that he repeats it in a life situation 
fraught with enough of attention to a specific thing, 
and enough of emotion concerning it, to cement it 
into the experience as a living part of it. 

It will be recognized that this is but another way 

ISO 



MORE DIRECT TEACHING 

of saying that successful teaching requires project 
method focused directly upon specific aims held very 
consciously by the teacher, and accomplished through 
specific aims of the child, connected with the proj- 
ect. There is also to be again mentioned the im- 
plied responsibility that the teacher shall make the 
child more and more conscious of the specific aims 
which are in her {the teacher's) mind; and also of 
maMng it more and more certain that the child will 
be emotionally moved by these aims. For teachers 
leave their pupils, and pupils must then stand alone; 
and the only guarantee that they will stand alone 
when the teacher is gone is the fact of their doing 
some standing alone when the teacher is with them. 
In thus emphasizing the project method, the 
method of "self-activity at work solving problems," 
it is not intended to minimize the importance of that 
other great original tendency, the tendency to un- 
critical conformity to the action of the group. Con- 
formity is important; even uncritical conformity has 
been one of the means by which the race has ad- 
vanced, and it still has its importance. But uncrit- 
ical conformity to new situations is not the essential 
virtue of democracy. It is rather the essential virtue 
of the rank-and-file in an aristocracy where the many 
are under the control of the few. In a democracy, 
conformity has its place; but, theoretically, it is to 
be critical conformity which comes after the matter 
in hand has been attacked as a specific problem and 
151 



I 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

a decision arrived at. Even if a person reaches a 
conclusion averse to the idea, he may conclude to 
conform because the idea has received the approval 
of the majority if not of himself. Yet even then his 
conformity is intelligent conformity; and his thinking 
about the idea has furnished a basis for future effort 
at influencing change in the direction in which his 
thought has led him. 

Thus far the chapter has made a claim for the use 
of a direct "inoculation" attack, instead of an in- 
direct incidental "exposure" attack, upon the prob- 
lem of a certain course ; and has attempted to justify 
the stand in favor of the direct attack by giving con- 
crete examples taken from American educational ex- 
perience, and by making a very brief survey of the 
psychology involved. If this plan were carried out 
in the case of the project subject, it would result in 
a course which attempted consciously and directly 
to instill into the minds of the children the factors 
which weigh in the significance of work; and a course 
which tried finally to make children the conscious 
servants of the democratic ideals of which the factors 
are the center. The course would have its conti- 
nuity in terms of the factors, and would be organized 
with reference to them, just as a definite course in 
"How to Stu4y" is directly organized and attacked 
on the basis of the factors in study. 

But is this demand for the formation of children's 
ideals through direct teaching not an imposition 

152 



MORE DIRECT TEACHING 



upon them? Ought there to be any direct attempt 
reaUy to form children's opinions? In this case is not 
the "exposure" theory better after all? Should not 
children just be brought into experience, put through 
it, and allowed to make their ownwayand toform their 
own opinions? Ought children not to be allowed to 
live their own lives without adult interference? Is 
not every one entitled to the unrestricted forma- 
tion of his own opinions? The unthought answer to 
these questions would be, "Yes"; but the thought- 
ful answer is, "No." The world does not run upon 
the principles implied in the "Yes" answer. It is 
true that there is a certain policy of non-interference 
with the lives of children. It is true that non-inter- 
ference has become a sort of stock phrase for a cer- 
tain attitude toward children; but as already pointed 
out in these pages, the really justified non-interfer- 
ence is a non-interference with processes of develop- 
ment which are natural and cannot be changed without 
loss. These processes are psychological: they be- 
long to the nature of the learner and of learning, and 
interference with them causes loss. Hence teaching 
follows the laws of specific aim, repetition with at- 
tention due to specific aim, etc. 

But the aims themselves are not fixed. They only 
indicate directions which processes of growth may 
take, and these directions are multiple. Education 
— development — may be in practically any direc- 
tion (good or bad) and the child must be aided in his 
1%% 



pt ■ 
ot ■ 

I 
I 



L ^ 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

choice^ The knowledge of the "good " and the " bad *' 
comes out of the rich racial experience; and the child 
has a right to his inheritance in these aims. Other- 
wise, in directing his course he cannot stand upon the 
shoulders of those who have preceded him; but he 
must beat out his whole problem for himself, with 
the inevitable mistakes and consequent loss. 

Hence there ought to be an end put to the con- 
fusion about non-interference with the lives of chil- 
dren. The policy of non-interference is a policy of 
non-interference with processes of development. If 
adults see a child developing toward dishonesty they 
interfere to turn him toward honesty — they do not 
expect that he will absolutely form his own opinion 
about it. If he persists in dishonesty he is finally 
even put into restraint so that he cannot exercise 
his dishonesty. If he fails in other fundamental 
principles of democracy there is definite attempt to 
turn him back into the accepted pathways. Yet 
a weak and indefinite acceptance of this principle^ 
coming because of its confusion with non-interfer- 
ence with processes, has led to much laxness and 
indefiniteness in both home and school training. 

But, after all, direct teaching does not actually iw- 
pose adult aims upon children. The policy of inter- 
ference in the matter of aims does not really drive us 
to this rather unpalatable conclusion. There is an- 
other way out; and there must be, for the importance 
of the training and exercise of the critical judgment 

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MORE DIRECT TEACHING 

has already been emphasized as one of the essential 
virtues in a democracy, and children should, there- 
fore, be allowed experience in judging. Yet the eth- 
ical judgments of children, of necessity, must be to an 
extent weighted judgments. There are those direc- 
tions, such as the one already cited, in which it is not 
desired or permitted that they shall go without pro- 
test or final restraint, and a compromise has to be 
made. 

The situation is very similar to that of the pruning 
of a tree. The tree must grow, if it grows at all, ac- 
cording to its own inner processes — according to 
its own law and nature of growth; but the direction 
of growth is interfered with by the pruner. Certain 
external things are done to the tree which militate 
against its growth in certain directions; and doors are 
opened, and inducements offered for it to grow in 
other directions. There is not the imposition of a 
specific thing, but there is interference with certain 
possibilities and encouragement of others among 
which the tree is left to select. Of course what is left 
is the possibility of a limited selection, and it is a 
great responsibility for the gardener so to limi t it. 
He may spoil the tree unless he is very expert; but the 
tree certainly caimot reach its highest possibilities 
without his interference, and he feels justified in tak- 
ing the responsibility. 

So, with children, mankind has come to take the 

responsibility of conscientious guidance toward (not 

I5S 



I 




PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

imposition of) aims, ends, ideals. The human work 
course contemplates such guidance. It contem- 
plates guidance toward the fundamental ideals of de- 
mocracy, and it feels sure of its justification in such 
guidance. The ideals involved constitute a sincere 
and carefully thought-out social philosophy. The 
philosophy is more than carefully thought out. It 
has been wrought out in the very blood and tears and 
final triumphant success of generations. It is be- 
lieved to be the true solution of social life, and it is 
dreamed of as the heritage of future generations. As 
such, there is an obligation to pass it on. If this is 
not done, democracy will be beaten out by other op- 
posed influences which do take the trouble to incul- 
cate a definite program; and these opposed ends, 
aims, ideals, inconsistent with the good of humanity 
as a whole, may prove a world tragedy — chaos and 
unutterable pain and loss. The world is Just now 
in danger of such a catastrophe, due to Germany's 
direct teaciiing of an opposed social philosophy. 

So America ought not to be afraid — she must not 
be afraid — to use her whole power to weave her dem- 
ocratic ideals into the very warp and woof of the be- 
ing of the young whose lives are to be the only chan- 
nel through wliich the currents of the ideals can be 
continued. She must deliberately try to make her 
ideals dominant because she be ieves in them with 
her whole soul, and because st id^^t, in the long 
run, the world must rise or fa" ' 'be ideal3 

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MORE DIRECT TEACHING 

(the philosophies) of its dominant groups. But to 
do this she must go at it directly and not inciden- 
tally; she must do direct teaching of her sociology to 
the young ; and she must reach these young while they 
are still young enough to be sufficiently unformed 
and sufficiently plastic. It does little good to try 
to ' ' build in ' ' llieories in the upper grades which theo- 
ries are not founded upon continuous life experiences 
of early years. Hence America's direct teaching of 
her sociology must begin with definiteness in the low- 
est grades; but it must be of such an elementary and 
informal character that it meets the real demands of 
child development and yet is effective in its own be- 
half. These demands have been partially met by 
the industrial arts courses which in themselves are 
really elementary sociology courses. But it can be 
more fully met by the expanded human work course, 
if that course features direct teaching of the princi- 
ples involved. 

But such a course, focused as it would be toward 
ends, aims, ideals, of work, is really ethical, and the 
plan calls for direct teaching of it. Can ethics be di- 
rectly taught? Is the course not doomed to failure 
from the first, just because, as Dewey says, no amount 
of knowledge about elfncal principles will insure the 
translation of that knowledge into ethical action ; and 
no amount of teaching (preaching) about the dignity 
of work can make a person see it as dignified. 

It i' xurse, that tailure would result if the 

157 



PROJECT WORK IN EDUCATION 

plan were really to preach or to teach these things 
formally. But it is far from that, as has been made 
dear. The plan is to teach them in direct contact 
with life, and in direct relation to life, just as Dewey 
would have them taught. The attitude toward work 
is to come through contact with work — in many 
cases, through participation in work. The facts are 
to be taught in these organic connections, fitted to 
the ages of the various children; and with a certam 
balance of emphasis which creates certain predis- 
positions to certain views,^ and therefore to certain 
actions. For ethical action is influenced by a very 
vivid conception of facts. One acts upon the basis 
of either an unconscious, imcritical crowd psychology 
(which action is in general to be discouraged in a 
democracy), or he acts upon a conscious weighing of 
ideas one against another. Hence the way to inter- 
fere successfully in the direction of democratic ideals 
— the way to secure the ethical action desired — is, 
through teaching, so consciously and intentionally to 
weight the facts which control the ideals that this 
very weight will create a predisposition in favor of 
action upon them. 

Hence the gist of the chapter is that in the "hu- 
man work " course whose continuity is to be in terms 
of facts concerning the significance of work, there 
ought to be direct as opposed to indirect teaching. 
This means (i) that there ought to be a very vivid 



MORE DIRECT TEACHING 

consciousness of ideals involved, and of the relations 
of the facts to the ideals; and (2) that the teaching 
of the facts, in its turn, calls for attentive focusing 
upon them in such vital life situations that they be- 
come weighted in favor of the action required by the 
ideals. 



IX 

SUMMARY 

It is hoped that the reader will not make the mistake 
of looking upon this monograph as a book upon in- 
dustrial arts. That phase of the subject has neces- 
sarily been prominent in the discussion; but it is only 
an element in the main purpose which attempts to 
take a rather vague term — project method, project 
teaching, etc. — and to save it from formality and 
the device level. It does this because it sees in this 
term the most significant summing-up of modem 
education. 

By means of a brief survey of certain phases of the 
evolution of educational principles, the attempt is 
made to show how they are related and focused in 
"learning to do by doing" or in "self -education 
through activities." Then it is shown that this self- 
education through activities is exactly what is meant 
by the best conception of project method. But 
project method and a project subject are, very gener- 
ally, partially or wholly confused; and the attempt 
is made to separate them. In the process of this at- 
tempt there has developed the discussion of an ideal 
project subject, taught by project method, and fo- 
cused toward the perpetuation of democratic ideals. 
This perpetuation is to come about through the cen- 

i6o 



SUMMARY 

tering of the project course upon man's greatest proj- 
ect — his struggle with his environment. This strug- 
gle with environment — this great project — is work; 
and attitudes toward work are shown to be at the 
root of the fundamental opposition of aristocratic and 
democratic social philosophies. Hence there is the 
conclusion that the fundamental facts concerning the 
significance of work should be directly taught, and 
dependence put upon the weight of these facts to 
turn the balance in favor of democratic ideals. 

From the whole discussion, therefore, two oppor- 
tunities for teachers are apparent: 

(i) To make themselves free from formal, memor- 
iter teaching, and to keep a school vitally related to 
life and to the nature of the child, by accepting the 
creed of " self -education through activities," with the 
resulting use of project method in all subjects. 

(2) To realize that it is vital that America should 
begin a conscious resistance to that type of individ- 
ualism which leads to caste and classes, and also to 
those unwise and extreme social doctrines which, on 
the other hand, lead to instability and disorganiza- 
tion; that this resistance should be organized and ap- 
parent in the education of the young; and that teach- 
ers may further the work through the conscientious 
teaching of some course which appeals to them as 
attacking the problem without preaching, and yet 
with a sincerity and a directness which gives promise 
of arriving at the goal. 



\ 



OUTUNE 

PART I— PROJECT WORK AS A METHOD 

I. THE EVOLUTION OF THE PRINGIPLBS UNDER* 
LYING THE PROJECT METHOD 

1. The value of a historical survey X 

2. Differences between eighteenth caiituxy education 
and present day education a 

3. Three reforms produced in the evolution — socio- 
logical, psychological, and scientific 3 

4. Rousseau and his theories 4 

5. The theories of Pestalozzi xx 

6. Froebel's contributions x6 

7. The educational philosophy of Herbart aa 

II. THE TRANSFER OF THE PRINQPLES TO 

AMERICA 

I. The American colonists bring European practices. . 27 

a. The influence of revolution and the new freedom. . 37 

3. The transmission and modification of Rousseau's 
ideas a8 

4. Pestalozzianism in America a8 

5. Froebel's Kindergarten is introduced 30 

6. The Herbartian movement 3X 

III. MODERN AMERICAN PRINQPLES OF 

EDUCATION 

1. The American period of reconstruction and original 
effort 36 

2. Two types of reform 36 

a. Better school organization and administration 36 

b. Better classroom procedure 36 

163 



OUTLINE 

3. The better psychological interpretation of the prob- 
lems of instruction 36 

a. The natural endowment 37 

b. The process of growth or development 37 

c. The problem of individual differences 38 

4. The contributive thinking of John Dewey 39 



IV. THE PROJECT METHOD IN THE MODERN 

PUBLIC SCHOOL 

z. A project method is only the fnatural, concrete 
expression of ^ modem educational principles in 
action 53 

2. Typical illustration^ of the principles from the work 

of progressive teachers 54 

3. The dting of the prindples common to the illustra- 
tions 65 

4. Each individual illustration of the principles^ 
shown to be also an illustration of the best in proj- 
ect method 67 

5. Project work in the unification of school life, as 
shown in the illustrations 68 

a. For a single grade 68 

b. For a single subject 72 

c. For a whole school 73 

6. Suitable changes in organization and administration 86 

V. PROJECT WORK IN TRADE EDUCATION 

1. Project work as used for cultural education 89 

2. The project method as applied to special or trade 
education 89 

3. The status of Pestaloz2d's industrial work. 90 

4. The work of Emanuel von Fellenberg at Hofwyl. . . 91 

5. The Fellenberg movement in America 92 

164 



1 

OUTLINE 

PART II -PROJECT WORK AS A SUBJE 
VI. THE EVOLUTION OF THE PROJECT SUBJE 

I. The difference between project work as a method 

and aa a subject 

3. Are subjects necessary under project work? 

3. Two ways to determine the correct number of 


CT 
7T 

100 

loa 

los 
10s 

107 
109 

III 

irg 
119 
119 
119 

lai 

"4 
\'5 


4. The connection of the project subject with the work 


5. The beginnings in Finland and Sweden 

6. The development of the project subject in America 

a. The growing tendency to mechanism and em- 
phasis upon mere skill 

(. The injection of thought methods and content 
c. The expansion of manual training and domes- 
tic science courses into industrial arts courses. 

,VII. THE BROADER CONCEPTION OF THE 
CONTENT OF THE PROJECT SUBJECT 


a. For sustenance 

b For defense 


3. The vague semi-consdous tendency of the older 
manual training couises to focus upon the signifi- 
cance of this struggle 


4. The relative significance of aristocratic and demo- 
cratic conceptions of the struggle 

5. The project subject as a study of " equality of oppor- 
tunity" for "doing" 

\ 

-4 



OUTLINE 

IX. SUMMARY ' 

1. This book not a monograph on industrial arts, but a 
total consideration of the project in education i6o 

2. Since ''learning to do by doing" is central in educa- 
tion, all subjects should be taught by a project 
method i6o 

3. But there is also a project subject which should be 
focused upon the significance of work in human life 160 

4. Suggestions as to immediate opportimities for 
teachers 161 



RIVERSIDE EDUCATIONAL MONOGRAPHS 

Edited bT HENRY SUZZALLO 



. „. jirotith 

CitKit'i Tolimtear H«lp to tbg Schooli 
Cunpuau'i Tba Ttarhlng of Compoiitlon 
Cole^ bdulilal Bdncition Is ElsnuDtsiy Sc' 
Cooley'i LuwucB Tauhinc in ths Grades 

Cubberlcy'i rimijfiiif c " ' •■■■-—■' 

'* "-^ rler'a Ths UBfiniT 

'■ loMcut 4ad Effort in 

Dcwey'i Honl FiinciplH in E 
Dooley'i Tha EdnutiBn of the he ci-uk 
Eufaait'i T.-fhrar ChUdnn to StDd; 



Eliot 



Education J 



la uid Pncticii] In 



.'s The Teichlog of BiBlon 



HjFile'i The Tuchai'a Phil...,_^ 

JenkiBt') Readlnf In tte Piimoiy Gndsi 

Jpdd'i Th* Erolulon al > Droiocntic ScEmol Sjitem 

Kendill and Stiyker'i HlitoiT In the Elsmentety Gnde* 

Kllpittlck'i The Uonteuori Syatam Eumined 

Leonird'i <t"i''«'' Compositioa ai B Soda] Prablem 

Lewie'i Denucracr'B Blgh School 

Maiwell'i Tha Obietratluu of Teachlna 

Uuwca'i The B riaBlaa of Teitbodn 

Hetedith't Ttw Bdscadonal Beuinca of Modem pBycholon 

Palmer'! Ellikal aod Moral togtnictiDn in tha Schoola 

PBhner'i Sdt-Caltlntion in En^iili 

Patmer'i The Ideal Teacher 

Falnwt's Tiadaa and PrafeBsioni 

Feny'i Btahia of flie Teacher 

Prouer'i The Tateher and Old Am* 

In Secondary fldocatlDn 
omiia ■ jfciaDiianing IndiuQial Schoola 
SDcddCD'a The Preblem of VocatlMUtl Edncatloa 
Etockton'a Pniject Work In Bdocadoa 
Suinllo'i Tha Taachlnc of Piinurr Aridunatie 
Suiiilla'i The TeachiOE of Spelling 
SwUt'i Speech Dafectain School dildrao 



■n't Tba Slwly of Nation* 



RIVERSroE TEXTBOOKS 
IN EDUCATION 

Gtm$ral BdweoH%nml Thmn 

Avesill: Psychology for Normal Schools 

Freeman: Experimental Education 

Freeman: How Children Learn 

Freeman: The Psychology of the Common Branches 

Perry: Disdpfine as a School Problem 

Smith: An Introduction to Educational Sociology 

Waddle: An Introduction to Child Psychology 

History ofBd&cmtiom 

Cubberley : The History of Education 
CuBBERLEY : Readings in theEQstoiy of Bdocatioii 
Cubberley: Public Education in the United States 
Emerson: The Evolution of the Educational Ideal 

AdmiwiMirtHom MudSwHrvMon ofStk—h 

Ayres, Williams, Wood: Healthful Schools 

Cubberley: Public School Administration 

Cubberley: Rural Life and Education 

HoAO AND Terman: Health Work in the Schools 

Monroe: Measuring the Results of Teaching 

Monroe, DeVoss, Kelly: Educational Tests and Meas> 

urements 
Nxttt: The Supervision of Instraction 
RuGo: Statisticsl Methods Applied to Education 
Sears: Classroom Organization and Control 
Showalter: A Handbook for Rural School Qfllcets 
Terman: The Hygiene of the School Child 
Terman: The Measurement of Intelligence 
Terman: The Intelligence of School Children 

M0tkod9 of Tmukiug 

Bolenius: Teaching literature in the Grammar Orades and 

High School 
Kendall, Mirick: How to Teach the Fundamental Subjects 
Kendall, Mirick: How to Teach the Special Subjects 
Trafton: The Teachingof Science in the Elementary Schod 
WoonER: Teaching in Rural Schools 

SteomdMfy BdwoaHom 

Brioos: The Junior High School 

Inous: Principles of Secondary Education 

Snedden: ProDlems of Secondary Education 

Thomas: The Teaching of Eni^ish in the Seeondsxy Schod 

HOUGHTON MIFFUN COMPANY 
BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO 




THE HOUGHTON MIFRIN 
PROFESSIONAL LIBRARY 

For Teachers and Stndents of Edacation 



Practical Aspects of Education 

Akduss's Holth Education !□ Roral Schools 
Ckabtess's TeacUa« the CommoD BnncbsB 
Noun's The Teaching o( Agrlcnltun 
EARHAEt's Tjftt of Teaching 
WiLBOH'g The MotlraliaD of School Work 
ti^tvoT AKD BaowN'a 

Schoola 
Hau'b Tho Qoaitlaa u ■ Futm faiTeidiliic 
XuADT^ A Stndr o< rdi7 TilBi 
Bnun'B How to Tell SCoilsB M ~' 
Cabot'b Bthln tor ChOdten 
BaowNun's Chuuter Building 
A Coorae in Cidzenihip and Pi 
BuxniFiELD's loath. Scbool, sad VocaUon 
Colby'b UteiatDre and Ufa In 
Blow. Hql, mo Habjuson's The 1 
FuLUEB's The Die of the Ebdergarten Qlfta 
Batib's Talks aa Teachinc Utenlnie 

Theory and Principles of Education 

DoOLn's Fiindples and Method! of Indnitilal Bdncetim 

Boaam'a The Curriculum 

UcMdiT-a IF.M.) Hov to Studyand Teaching How toStudf 
HcMoan'a (C. A.| Confllcdni Prindplei in TeaEhiaf 
Woodliv'b The Piofesalon of Teaching 



KuEFATuci's The Individual In the Mihinc 
KmiiKjEE'a The Principlea of Edncation 
O'Sbea's Sodal DevelaiBnent and Education 
Trua'a Gmrth and Bdacatioa 
BncDUSOH'i EducotioD and the Larger Ufa 
CEAXCEiuni'a AThaoryotMotiTM, Id 



I HOW TO STUDY AND 

l^TEACHING HOW TO STUDY 

^^r F. M. McMURRY 

I Prtftssor of Elementary Education, Teachen College 

I ColutBbia Universily 

V Every teacher, student, and parent should 

read this book, — perhaps the most funda- 
mentaUy important educational book that has 
recently appeared. 

Some of the questions which are fully and 
helpfully answered in the book: 

Why young people have not been learning to 
study effectiveiy, 

The changes necessary to be made in the schools 
in order that they may learn to study properly. 

How the large amount of waste in home study 
can be prevented. 

How adults should study. 

To what extent children have the native capa- 
city and experience necessary for fruitful study. 

What can be done towards teaching even the 
joungest cliildren to fonn the right habits of study. 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 
BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO 



PROBLEMS OF CONDUCT 

BY 
DURANT DRAKE 

Praftuirr ^ Pkilaufhy, Vaaar Collet* 

An Introductory Survey of Ethics 

The Boiton Transcript says: "It Is the great 
merit of Professor Drake's book that it moves always 
in a concrete sphere of life as ne daily live it. It 
never moralizes, it never lays down obiter dicta, it 
simply talks over with us our personal problems pre- 
cisely as a keen, experienced, and alwavs sympathetic 
friend might do. Through and througn scientitic and 
scholarly, it is never academic in method and matter." 



PROBLEMS OF RELIGION 



DURANT DRAKE 

This book, like Professor Drake's Froblims of 
Coniiutrt, represents a course of lectures given for 
several years to under^aduates of Wesleyan Univer- 
sity. Their aim is to give a rapid survey of the field, 
such that the man who is confused by the chaos of 
opinions on these matters, and himseU but little able 
to judge between conflicting statements, may here get 
bis bearings and see his way to stable belief and 
energetic action. 



HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 
. BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO