The present day demand for industrial education has had the effect of somewhat discrediting the more formal manual training commonly found in the upper elementary grades and early high school years. This work is usually conducted in special shops and by special teachers, and the question is being raised whether, with all these advantages, more vital results might not be attained.
Whether these criticisms are justified or not, the present interest in industrial education is strengthening the demand for more effective construction work in grades four, five and six. It is a growing conviction that there must be laid, in the earlier grades, a strong foundation on which to build a practical education in the later grades whether directed toward industrial, commercial or professional life.
The appearance of this book, therefore, is timely be cause it outlines a course suitable for grades five and six which stimulates constructive activities and develops industrial intelligence. It should be noted that its industrial significance is much wider than its title, "Bookbinding for Beginners," would indicate, as even a hasty examination of the book will show, and also that it is so planned that it may be used successfully in schools where special teachers and expensive equipments are impossible.
The book is different from, and, I believe, superior to others of its kind for the following reasons:
First, because the projects it presents, the methods it advises, and the results it anticipates have all been worked out by actual experience with thousands of boys and under conditions which may be duplicated in almost any schoolroom. The author's personal experience with the problems incident to the giving of manual training by the grade teacher includes that which she gained as a successful grade teacher herself, supplemented by some years of supervisory work in a large city system. She is therefore conversant with every possible phase of the school problem.
Second, because the methods of instruction which the book employs are such as to develop in the pupils the very qualities which are the surest foundation for subsequent success in manual or mental work of any kind, namely initiative and originality combined with intelligent, logical, careful attention to details.
Third, because it gives the teacher just the help needed to save her from all unnecessary work in securing and handling suitable material, in stimulating the pupils to intensive activity and self-expression, and in judging or measuring the results of her work, without relieving her of the necessity of intelligent effort on her part. It thus gives the overburdened teacher the maximum help, and the specially interested, the maximum opportunity for original supplementary work.
For the above reasons, I confidently recommend the volume to the attention of all who are seeking to introduce an inexpensive but effective form of manual training into the middle grades of the elementary schools.
Frank M. Leavitt
AssocIate Professor, Industrial Education.
University of Chicago.