Three Lectures on Vocational Training

Georg Kerschensteiner

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The contribution that honest toil makes to the child-character is just as rich, possibly, as that of any other specific line of school work. Earnest, self-directed effort is the base of all habit and the very cornerstone of char acter. Nothing so crystallizes the crude charcoal of childhood into the diamonds of humanity as systematic self — directed effort. What we have to beware of is that this industrial work, this honest toil, does not degenerate into drudgery. And this danger will be avoided when a well-organized continuation school keeps pace with the period of apprenticeship, giving it meaning and thoroughness, making it many-sided, taking hold of and ennobling all its interests. Even the hardest work ceases to be a torment when we perform it with all our hearts. The introduction of industrial work or manual training into the upper classes of the primary school is without doubt a most useful undertaking in the interests of industrial education. We have long adopted this plan in Munich, although we have not carried it so far as the écoles professionnelles in Belgium and France. Indeed, from a social and economic standpoint it is much easier than the establishment of well — organized continua tion schools. For the elementary classes do not have to struggle against the egoism of employers. But this cannot take the place of well-developed continuation schools. For the aim and end of all this training cannot be merely industrial education. Its aim and end is the education of the man, whom it will not permit to be identified with and lost in the workman. And the modern state can never hope to become a state of culture and justice till it has succeeded, by the right manner of instruo tion, in restoring to work, robbed of its divinity by the advance of industry, its educational powers.

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