« AnteriorContinuar »
but unselected group of instances, these results can be achieved, but we do not yet know how to go about meeting all of the problems of a sort. Above all we need an experiment in achieving a result in quantity. Painting beautiful and perfect miniatures is vastly different from painting sweeping panoramas. An agriculturalist once said to me: "Don't think because you can keep six hens laying six eggs a day all winter, that by merely increasing your flock of hens you can increase your output to a thousand eggs a day." In social work we usually do worse than that. At the same time we increase the number of hens we usually turn over the job of caring for them to someone else.
Everywhere we see about us perfectly successful small-scale experiments which apparently eventuate in no result or more often others where the values are very largely lost in transit to the wider applications. The waiting lists for mothers' pensions, the inadequate allowances, the elementary schools without physical or manual training, schools without play or dramatics, momentary medical inspections, these and many other similar situations all testify to our inability to make experience count in the large.
We somehow lack that Ty Cobbian spirit to go after every ball even when it seems rather hopeless. Like bushers we catch a ball now and then with great flourish but it has to be a ball thrown quite directly to us. These obvious balls are of two sorts. We, as a people, are apt to be most concerned about service for those who can pay on the one hand and for those who are quite without financial resources on the other hand. We let the balls go by for the 85 per cent of the people in between. We have some marvelously fine private schools and we have some exceedingly promising adventures in education in special schools and in settlements, but, with the exception of Gary, where is the community which supplies consistently throughout its whole system, all of the features which have been found valuable in a part of it. Please do not think that I am advocating a rigid standardization-I refer only to those minimum essentials without which the whole enterprise suffers.
That, it seems to me, is the most significant element in this situation with reference to the schools. Our knowledge of the need and our knowledge of the possibilities completely outrun our ability to rise to the possibilities. A little thirty-page bulletin just issued by the United States Bureau of Education, Department of the Interior, called "School Grounds and Play" furnishes enough excellent and practical suggestions to keep all the people specially interested in children busy for the next five years if they conceived it their job to reach all of the elementary schools of this country.
Another matter that seems to me to need further elucidation, for young social workers at least, is the relation between case work and group work. The case worker's initial contact usually follows some crisis more or less severe, while the group worker's contact usually hasn't so much of the dramatic in it and often contains a little larger element of choice on the part of the client. The case worker seeks to know all the facts regarding the individuals with whom she works on purely individual or family basis. The group worker seeks to know something at least about her clients with whom she works on the basis of some common interest.
The case worker cannot single handed and alone meet all of the needs of her clients. She needs the help of a great number of people; she often needs to get her client into some effective group relationship which will serve to meet his needs. There she must join hands with the group worker. The group worker on the other hand is continually meeting problems with which she cannot cope on the basis of her limited knowledge of
the client and her technique of group work. There she must reach out for the aid of the case worker. Now as I regard it, these two workers are indispensable to each other's success. They are to each other as hook and eye. The group worker can give the case worker that greatly-to-be-desired opportunity for the application of case work methods earlier in the lives of people. The case worker on the other hand can help the group worker establish the sound foundation of knowledge necessary for effective and safe group work.
We no longer assume that it is safe or desirable to herd people together willy-nilly to carry on some kind of continuing or even temporary group activity, whether it be work or play. More and more we are studying individuals and families as the foundation of groupings. It may be our general conviction that children need exercise, but before we act on that generalization we want to give each child a careful physical examination. If we know more about the forces which shape personality and character we could, I think, much more effectively guide each child in his group associations.
Now what has all of this to do with leisure time and schools and school services, and particularly what is all of this to a group of busy overworked child welfare people? Merely this: the elementary school teachers and principals of this country constitute a force of group workers which in numbers makes the cohorts of social work look like the Swiss navy, but they need the case worker's assistance, not only to help them in solving the problems of difficult children, but also to keep fresh before them the intimate picture of the family and neighborhood background of many children who may be quite docile in the school room. If every case worker in the child welfare agencies made it a part of her case work technique to consult with the school teacher and principal of every school child among her clients, the first big step in the establishment of a real working relationship would have been taken. I am aware of course that case workers have been in contact with schools, but I am afraid they have given too often the impression that one of our school principals in Philadelphia expressed when she said, “Oh, yes, social workers often come here to get information about the children." The great opportunity which the case worker has is to give. But she must give with imagination and sympathy and understanding. It isn't enough to confirm the worst suspicions of the school teacher with regard to the unfortunate background of a given child. The information must be accompanied by some further interpretive material and with a friendly challenge which will put the teacher on her mettle to show that schools are not the rigid, unintelligent, mechanical institutions that their critics assert.
This exchange of information between child welfare workers and school teachers and principals, the continuous daily working together on the routine job, furnishes, it seems to me, the foundation for the beginning of any revision of the service of the schools whether that service is carried on before or after 3:00 P.M. or in summer or winter months. Merely to covet the use of the school buildings and grounds, merely to secure an added feature or two in the school program is not enough, though such accomplishments are not to be despised. If we are, however, going to work toward securing satisfactory answers to that list of questions I propounded in the beginning we must go more deeply than that. We must somehow attune our program of individual and group work to that great truth so well expressed by Goethe when he said: "For we cannot form our children as we would wish; as God has given us them, so must we accept and love, educate them as we best may, and rest content. For each has different gifts; everyone is useful but in his own proper way."
You will notice that I have not said much about what is the school's responsibility. I would rather dwell on what is our responsibility to the schools. As child welfare workers, can we stand before the community as people not well informed on education, as people not especially interested in schools, as people who are over-awed by the size of the institution? Are not the problems of public elementary education our problems as citizens and as specialists on children?
When we have learned how to analyze the child material that has been given us, how to foster rather than hinder the development of each child, when we have recognized and made use of the great opportunities which lie before us in the elementary schools of the United States, perhaps as social workers, we won't have the need of explaining to the Lord our sometimes paradoxical behavior.
THE SCHOOL'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LEISURE TIME OF THE
M. Edith Campbell, Director of the Schmidlapp Fund and
That you are not to have Dr. Helen Woolley's presentation of this subject entails not only your personal loss, but also the loss of the contribution she would have made from a psychological combined with an educational interpretation. This contribution would also have been of unusual value because of her wide knowledge and experience in both of these fields, and because of her singularly clear, far-reaching analysis of the educational process in its relation to the child as an individual. Substituting for Mrs. Woolley had quite depressed me, and now following Dr. Deardorff's extraordinarily clear, suggestive paper, which so conclusively shows the proper function of the school in work and play, has given me an overwhelming inferiority complex!
The child and his family are inclined to believe that the school is not interested in the child as an individual, either as a unit in the occupational world, or in the professional world. Meager classification of children by mental age, a rigid curriculum, an absence of a continuous and cumulative record of the child, a complete lack of industrial and occupational knowledge, are a few of the defects which establish this attitude toward the school system-an attitude greatly accentuated by the school's indifference to the child's leisure time.
Progressive child labor legislation has found the schools unable to cope with the problem of caring for the children through an extended age period, or in part-time classes. In Ohio after ten years of studying the working child through the issuance of the employment certificate, through his difficulty with the curriculum, his failure or success in industry, his like or dislike for school, the present child labor law was enacted. It greatly extends the supervision of the state over the child in industry, and compels the school to become the guardian of the child's activities until he is eighteen years of age. In brief, this law requires the issuance of six certificates: first, a regular certificate issued to children sixteen years of age who have completed the seventh grade; second, a part-time certificate issued to children over fourteen years regardless of grade, for (a) after school work, (b) co-operative work; third, limited as to health; fourth, conditional-schooling not standard-children who are sixteen years old but have not com
pleted the seventh grade, mentally capable of completing that grade; fifth, retarded -schooling not standard-children who are sixteen years old but have not completed the seventh grade, mentally incapable of completing that grade; sixth, vacation certificate issued to children over fourteen years regardless of grade completed-void after August 25.
Continuation schools are only mandatory upon the child after he enters industry, where boards of education have established them. Part-time classes are mandatory upon the schools, however, before the child is sixteen or has completed the seventh grade.
The effect upon both parent and child of this guardianship is usually that of rebellion. In cases not only of poverty, but of inadequate family incomes, resentment springs from the fact that we are depriving the family and the child of legitimate physical comforts without adequate compensation. Funds are not provided for the assistance of these families which could be considered as scholarship—not charity funds. Scholarships are being provided for the gifted children, thereby persuading them to remain in school, but the average or retarded child must struggle with his poverty unaided. The school offers little if any compensation to either parent or child by keeping many of the children in school through our present seventh grade. The curriculum is so inflexible and so ill adapted to the mental and industrial needs of large groups of children, that often the sixth and seventh grades are merely "marking time." For many years, Mrs. Woolley has brought to our attention and constantly emphasized the fact that "the amount of retardation among children who leave school to go to work is more than twice as great as it is in the school system at large." She urges that this situation be frankly dealt with by "a broadening of the curriculum in several directions" and a bringing about of "those modifications of educational systems and procedures which will make of education a more effective instrument in helping each child to reach ultimately a wise adjustment to the occupational world." This wise adjustment cannot be made until there is a correlation between the child's course of study, his job, and his wage. Such a correlation is now lacking. Here we find the lamentable dearth of information concerning industrial and occupational processes. The school is at present not equipped to give wise advice to the child, for the teacher does not know the advantages or disadvantages in a trade or division of that trade.
You may wonder why I have strayed far from recreation and the child's leisure time in this discussion of supervising the child's industrial life. I have tried to show the necessity for the school assuming as complete a guardianship of the working child until he is eighteen years of age, as it now assumes for the child who completes high school, but that this guardianship is a constant irritant, unless the school equips itself to meet the child's real needs. Then only will this guardianship be of such service that the effect upon the conduct and efficiency of the child will be registered in the social life of the child, in its definite attitude and equipment for meeting its daily tasks and pleasures.
So closely is the school and industrial life of the child bound up with its leisure time, that the school cannot escape this added responsibility for the child's leisure time. We are hearing a great deal about the monotony and absence of the educative motive in many occupations, and that the only solution is a wise and carefully thought out plan for leisure and recreation in order that this deadening routine may not totally destroy the child's mental and moral life. To whom can the child turn for this help
but to the school? The effect upon the child and the home of advising him to enter an occupation without instructing him concerning its environment and consequences, is certain to be one of bitterness, and a just doubt as to whether the school is a friend or a foe.
In presenting the inadequacy of the school system, I do not mean that progressive child labor legislation should be abandoned, or that many superintendents, principals, and teachers are not realizing these needs. Those who within the system are attempting to readjust its purposes and policies need the strengthening influence of groups outside, for many times the responsibility will only be assumed under compulsion of legislation or public opinion. From Providence you sent us a man, Superintendent Condon, who is leading the way to this readjustment and to a wise, just consideration of the child as an individual, and for his leadership we are more thankful each day.
Both from within and without the system the steadily increasing demand for the school to become the child's guardian in play and in work is reacting upon the child, the home, and the school itself. You cannot forget the words of Jane Addams written years ago but now just beginning to be understood by the school.
Let us cherish these experiments as the most precious beginnings of an attempt to supply the recreational needs of our industrial cities. To fail to provide for the recreation of youth is not only to deprive all of them of their natural form of expression but is certain to subject some of them to the overwhelming temptation of illicit and soul destroying pleasure. To insist that young people shall forecast their rosecolored future only in a house of dreams is to deprive the real world of that warmth and reassurance which it so sorely needs and to which it is justly entitled; furthermore, we are left outside with a sense of dreariness, in company with that shadow which already lurks only around the corner for most of us—a skepticism of life's value.
Until the school cherishes the child's enthusiasms, its dreams, and its very foolishness, the life of the school will die deprived of its warmth and assurance. And without the guidance and protection of the school in life in its entirety, the child will be doomed to a dreariness—a skepticism of life's value.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR A GOOD TRAINING
Donald North, Superintendent, Sockanosset School for Boys, Howard, Rhode Island
My intention in this paper is to try to stress a few of the many requirements that are of fundamental importance and which concern almost entirely the human side of the problem.
In the first place, it is hoped that any person who will have any part in securing the commitment of a boy to a training school will only do so because everything else has been tried and has failed. It should be the last thing to be tried because, for the boy, the family of the boy, and the community, it is a very serious step to take. There are many reasons why this is so, and I will take the time to mention four of those reasons.
First, a boy becomes delinquent, in a majority of cases, because he has spent his leisure hours in an unwholesome way, with bad companions; and however well our training schools are conducted, the treatment prescribed is to place him for purposes of reformation among a hand-picked group of the worst companions that can be found in any or all parts of the state. A desire to do wrong and association with others possessed of similar desires has led to an expression of delinquency sufficiently serious to