Because occasionally there appears on the side streets a boy with a soap-box cart and improvised dog harness, or a hand-wrought juvenile edition of a wooden auto; or because the neighbor's boy tampers with the electrical appliances and has the house strung with a complicated mess of wires and batteries; or because your wife's cousin's boy ingeniously furnished his den in the attic with regenerated store boxes, you conclude that all boys are mechanical geniuses, awaiting an opportunity to express themselves in some material form of ingenious creation. Nothing can be further from the truth. Not one boy in ten, without some external influence, is really interested in manual training or cares to make things half as much as is usually supposed. Experience has demonstrated the truthfulness of this assertion. In schools where the manual work is elective, were it not for the credits for graduation allowed on manual work the boards of education would not be justified in continuing the manual training departments for the number using them. Boys view manual education with little more enthusiasm than latin and algebra. I would not for a moment wish to appear to minimize the value of manual training. I have always been an ardent supporter of the movement and shall continue to be, but it is desirable to clear away all the rubbish before attacking the job. It develops then that the boys who will be served by manual training facilities in the Association will be in one of these three classes: the boys who like to do the thing itself and find personal enjoyment in their own recreation; the boys who wish to avail themselves of an opportunity to learn a trade or to increase their wage earning power; and the boys who come because they are obliged to do so by parental authority. The latter two are practically identical.
Whatever has been done by the Association has, with but few exceptions, drawn from the first class and lias been calculated to do so. The classes and clubs for electrical construction and experiment, clay modeling, pyrography, wood carving, embossed leather, sloyd, typesetting and printing, and the dozen other manual educational subjects that have been undertaken with more or less success in many Associations have been conducted almost entirely from the standpoint of esthetic education and recreation together with practical utility. If the scope of work can be broadened by adapting it to the industrial education or trade school requirements it is clearly within our province to do so if it can be done without violence to the former consideration.