By James Hole
During this Essay, first released in 1853, the Victorian social activist James gap bargains an impassioned defence of the single of the crucial items of early Victorian social reformism, the mechanics' institutes. geared toward bettering the schooling of working-class males, girls and teenagers, the institutes provided easy literacy education in addition to higher-level lectures on technological know-how, the humanities, and undefined. This quantity, initially a prize-winning essay, outlines Hole's plan for bettering the efficacy of the institutes, which he observed as failing of their venture of enlivening the minds of these whose fundamental labours have been actual. The institutes 'have tested the proper of the folk to culture', gap writes, yet that they had but, in his view, to instil it. an immense paintings within the historical past of schooling, Hole's Essay offers revealing insights into social reformism and the complexities of sophistication politics in the circulation.
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Extra info for An Essay on the History and Management of Literary, Scientific, and Mechanics' Institutions: And Especially How Far They May Be Developed and Combined so as to Promote the Moral Well-Being and Industry of the Country (Collection - Printing and Publishing
Let us hope, that in our own country, the diffusion of children's schools, and the superior training given to schoolmasters, will tend to raise these Institutes above mere elementary night schools ; and though much remains to be done, the duty of the nation to the children of the poor, so long neglected, is in course of being practically acknowledged. That Mechanics' Institutes should fail to fulfil the intention of their first promoters to communicate scientific and artistic instruction, was a necessary consequence of the deficiency of the preliminary instruction of the day school, and of the miscellaneous character of the subscribers, a majority of whom required amusing books and lectures, rather than technical instruction.
He should know the relation in which he stands to the laws of the world, and taking his happiness into his own keeping, exercise that prudence and self-control essential to his welfare, and fulfil those duties which devolve upon him as a moral and accountable agent. " To take an illustration from a single branch of knowledge, let us suppose that any means existed for conveying to the mass of the community the teachings of physiology, — not the minutise and technicalities which are suited only for the medical man, but the broad generalisation of the science.
The most valuable lectures are those which partake of the nature of class instruction. The course on any subject should be sufficient in number to enable the teacher to convey adequate information on the principal leading points, and it should be accompanied by either written or oral examinations, and frequent reviews of past lessons. A course of winter lectures so pursued would have results far more valuable than any number of miscellaneous lectures. The first lectures delivered in Mechanics' Institutes were generally scientific, but owing to the causes alluded to, so soon as the novelty had passed away, dramatic readings, and lectures on music took, their places, which speedily gave way to musical entertainments.