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tion, and does it well, perhaps the homes will then take it up
afterwards, and far more effectively and widely than at present.
Summarizing, then, we can say that it seemed well to develop, if possible, a system for character development and moral education, practical enough to be used in our schools, founded upon psychological principles to make it effective, and covering the whole moral field—including political morals, vocational morals, and personal morals. Several years of preliminary experiment, and three years in a number of chosen public schools, have resulted in the development of what seems to be more than a tentative sys
It may be that an approach, distant, perhaps, has been made toward the solution of this most difficult and vitally important problem.
We can give but a sketch, a mere outline, of what has been done. Let us take a few points concerning each moral field in the order named.
Training for citizenship begins in the very first grade and continues through the high school—the point to which the system has been carried. Little by little, mostly by observation and class discussion the children arrive at a conception as to what is meant by a town or city, a state, and a nation. History is brought in wherever possible, especially as the children reach the upper grades, to show what qualities in the citizens made a historic nation prosper and what qualities caused its downfall. They are given a grasp of the development of community life. They make a special study of their own community. They are not given lectures on the subject so much as they are led to observe and to report upon their observations. The concrete, of course, must be used in the beginning. When a really high development of the citizenship idea is to be reached, as in the seventh and eighth grades, the pupils begin with a matter as concrete as city-planning. This particular example will give an idea of the general method. Without warning the children of a class are required to plan a city-streets, railroad terminals, location of municipal buildings, residential districts, parks, and so on. Of course they succeed in making a grotesque failure of it. Also they are quite well aware that it is a failure, and they are brought face to face with the fact that planning a city intelligently is, after all, a great problem, and one of which they had never suspected the existence. They are enabled to learn much concerning the ideal planning of cities. They can look up what material there is on the subject, and make a study of their own town or city. They may have an expert—as was done in Philadelphia-give illustrated lectures on the subject. Finally there is a competition-children of this age are characteristically fond of competitions—in planning an ideal city, or re-planning their own city. The results are sometimes inarvelously fine.
Through this means they become interested in the city idea--the concrete city. They then make a study of their city government, then other forms of city government, and finally they come to understand the responsibilities and privileges of a real citizen --something greatly to be desired.
It cannot be described in detail how the ideas concerning political morality or citizenship are linked with those concerning vocational morals and personal morals, though the relationship, of course, is too obvious to need comment, but the children, as they grow older are brought to see that a really first class character helps to make a really first class workman, and that a man cannot be a good citizen without also being a good workman and having a good character. And finally, it is brought to their understanding that a nation is as strong as the sum of the strengths of its citizens, so that it is a matter of patriotism to be a good citizen, a good workman, and to have a good character !
The training for vocational morality also begins in the lower grades, where the children are led to develop for themselves the necessary ideas and ideals. When they reach twelve years they can enter “vocational clubs." A number of these clubs were organized experimentally, representing some of the commoner vocations. For instance, there was an electrical club, a civil engineering club, a "building trades” club, a “business club," and so on. A boy, joining one of these clubs, say the electrical, did so with the idea that perhaps some day he might like to be an electrician or an electrical engineer. He went with the club each week, or once in two weeks, to various parts of the city, where different kinds of electrical work were being done. One day they might observe the wiring of a dwelling, the next time they would go to some manufacturing plant, and so on. The object was not to give them vocational training, but to give them an
idea as to the scope of electrical work and its character. A boy might find some part of it which particularly appealed to him, and if he eventually took up that kind of work, it was because he knew what he was in for, which is not the case with a majority of boys, rich or poor! Perhaps the boy might find, on examination, that electrical work was different from what he had expected, in which case he could enter another club, and then another, and so on, the idea being that eventually he would find the vocation that naturally appealed to him.
The men in charge of these clubs made a special point of discussing the character-qualities which went to make a successful workman, business-man, or the like, co-operating with the other influences of the whole system. This is a brief hint as to the method of carrying on a small part of the work. More cannot be given here.
The most difficult part of the experiment, of course, was in planning the course of training that would make for personal morality. Let me be understood. By moral education we do not mean teaching in sex hygiene. The experimenters came to be convinced that this is one matter which cannot be taught directly to school children. It is not a matter for inexperienced sentimentalists to decide, but for students of child psychology, who know a variety of reasons why it will not do, except, perhaps, in the upper high school grades. A vast deal, however, can be done indirectly, and that is how this particularly difficult part of the subject was handled—indirectly, but not the less effectively, it seems.
One part of this experiment was to find, by trial, what ethical concepts could be understood, and effectively appreciated, by children in different stages of development. Trial caused the elimination of some subjects in certain grades and the bringing in of others, and the changing of the method of developing still others. The children were not given talks concerning these concepts, but the subject would be brought forward, for instance, and the children would be led to discuss whether a certain act were good or bad, right or wrong, or the like. They were brought to the right conclusion largely through their own efforts, so that the conclusions were their own--and not their teacher's, which makes a great deal of difference. This general method was followed throughout, from the first to the eighth grade, inclusive. The telling of the so-called "moral" stories to children, a practice not nearly as valuable as too many imagine, was an unusual procedure, with topic and time carefully chosen.
We have already explained that the physical and moral are closely related. Added to this is another fact, that boys of from eleven and twelve years onwards are exceedingly interested in their muscular development and in competition of any kind. These reasons are behind a special physical development system that has grown out of the experiment. It was decided to utilize all three facts in one plan. In the fall all the boys were measured, physically. Such measuring interests boys exceedingly, and this is always followed by a great comparing of chest expansions and arm measurements! Each boy's defects are pointed out to him, and remedial exercises suggested. Then a competition is announced, or rather, two competitions. A cup is to be given at the end of the school year, in each school, to the boy who has made the greatest physical improvement. This gives the best chance to the boy with the poorest physique. Then there is another cup, to be competed for by several schools, which goes to the boy judged to have the best physique. The effect of these competitions is amazing. The boys take an immense interest in improving themselves physically. Those considered to have a first class physique can wear distinctive buttons. This, of course, is an added stimulus to those whose physiques are not what they might be. The goal set for each boy is one that he can accomplish. There is no standard of measurement which all boys must meet. A boy is judged according to his own physical type, following the method described in the January number of the American Magazine. So, for one thing, out of this experiment in moral education has developed a new system of anthropometry!
A boy who is doing special exercises to improve can report, from time to time, for inspection, until he is pronounced "first class” and is entitled to wear the first class button. The result of this work is that the boys will do almost anything within reason, or give up almost anything, in order to improve, and so, indirectly, we are able to affect a boy's bed-time, his diet, his smoking, his corner-lounging, and so on. It is not at all difficult, using this singularly effective influence, to destroy a boy's bad habits and build up good ones.
The mental effect is marked, as might be expected. Beginning with the second year of this experiment, this part of the system was placed in a very large grammar school. The principal's report, at the end of the year, stated that not only smoking was almost instantly abolished, but the general behavior improved markedly. Not only so, but the percentage of promotions at the end of the year was the highest in the history of the school. There is a close relation between mentality, morals, and chest expansion !
About as interesting and stimulating a sight as one could imagine is the yearly competition for the best physique in several large schools. Picked boys from each school line up before the judge — last year this was Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, the sculptor, and Physical Director of the University of Pennsylvania. The best boy from each school is selected, and then these select boys line up for final choice—no easy matter either. The enthusiasm of the spectators, the schoolmates of the competitors, of course, is astonishing. But you see we have hit upon the average boy's weak point-his overwhelming interest in just this kind of thing at just this stage of development!
It is a pity that some of the special work for girls cannot be detailed. But the same process was repeated. The strongest characteristics were utilized to the fullest extent in creating an influence that would affect a normal girl's character and way of living. Here is a concrete example. The strongest characteristic of a girl of twelve and over is what may be called the latent "mother” instinct, or the "home making" instinct. In utilizing this, model flats were built into the schools used in this experiment. These had three or four large rooms, and were furnished according to the type of children in the school. All girls naturally love to “play house”, even when they are growing up, and here they have an opportunity to play house in a real one! The younger children begin with such matters as arrangement of furniture and decoration, contrasting the gaudy with the simple, visiting department stores and viewing model rooms, and competing in planning ideal rooms. As they grow older they take up the planning and preparing, as well as the marketing, of meals. Eventually a girl of twelve or thirteen can plan the meals for a week, for a family of a certain number, for a certain sum-gen