In the junior high school, as in the elementary school, the greatest difficulty in the way of trade training for specific occupations lies in the small number of pupils who can be expected, within the bounds of reasonable probability, to enter a single trade. Hand and machine composition, the largest of the printing trades, will serve as an example. In a junior high school of 1,000 pupils, boys and girls, the number of boys who are likely to become compositors is about five. But to teach this trade printing equipment occupying considerable space is necessary, together with a teacher who has had some experience or training as a printer. The expense per pupil for equipment, for the space it occupies, and for instruction renders special training for such small classes impracticable. All of the skilled occupations, with the exception perhaps of the machinist’s trade, are in the same case. An attempt to form separate classes for each of the eight largest trades in the city would result in two classes of not over five pupils, three classes of not over 10 pupils, and only one of over 13 pupils. The following table shows the number of boys, in a school of this size, who are likely to enter each of these trades.
Number of boys who will probably become:
Steam engineers 11
The members of the Survey Staff were, however, of the opinion that through the system of electives in the junior high school, industrial training of a more general type, made up chiefly of instruction in the applications of mathematics, drawing, physics, and chemistry to the commoner industrial processes, would be of considerable benefit to those boys who, on the basis of their own selection or that of their parents, are likely to enter industrial pursuits. A course of this kind is outlined in following sections of this chapter.
The objections which may be brought against this plan are frankly recognized. It takes into account only the interests of the industrial group, comprising less than one-half of the boys in the school. Unquestionably it would tend to vitalize the teaching of mathematics, drawing, and science for the boys who enroll in the industrial course, but it leaves unsolved the question of method and content of instruction in these subjects for the boys in the non-industrial or so-called academic course. Very possibly future experience may demonstrate that the plan recommended for the general industrial course affords the best medium for teaching science and mathematics at this period to all pupils, in which case a differentiated course would be unnecessary.