In some schools where slojd is taught we find turning and wood-carving as well as slbjd-carpentry. This, however, is not so common now as it was a few years ago. People seem to be coming more and more to the conclusion that both occupations are more suitable for the home than for the school. Neither of them is to be commended from the hygienic point of view. As regards turning, the difficulty of procuring suitable turning-lathes presents in many schools a serious obstacle to its general use; whilst the necessity of performing preliminary exercises, apart from the actual objects made (a proceeding of very doubtful educational value) places turning quite in the shade as compared with slbjd-carpentry. Wood carving, on the other hand, does not involve that energetic bodily labour which is of such great importance in connection with educational slojd. Again, wood-carving, classed as it is with the so-called "finer" kinds of manual work, has a tendency to intensify in the child that contempt for rough bodily labour which has already unfortunately done so much social harm. The danger of this is however greatest when the children are imprudently permitted to ornament objects which they have not made. When wood-carving is used, not as a separate kind of slojd, but in order to complete slbjd-carpentry, and when ornamentation is only allowed after the children are able in a satisfactory way to execute the articles to be embellished by its means, the disadvantages are minimised.
Turning and wood-carving.
Systematic action, directed towards an end, is termed method. Every form of human activity, in so far as it is concerned with the attainment of a definite preconceived end, must therefore be regulated according to method, and this universally applicable rule holds good in the case of that activity which is directed towards instruction and education. Hence great importance has always been attached to methods of instruction. In fact, in many cases too much attention has been paid to the study of special methods. Not that we agree with those who, by strange confusion of ideas, regard the rules of scientific method as opposed to practice, saying:- " We are practical people, and therefore we mean to teach in our own practical way, not to follow the theoretical methods of others." They thereby show that they do not understand how, in the very nature of things, there can be only one really practical mode of procedure, and that is the method which is in harmony with sound theory, and that any other way of going to work must be more or less unpractical. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that many teachers misunderstand the true significance of method to such a degree that it becomes the Alpha and Omega of the work. They forget that, strictly speaking, method is merely a tool - though a very necessary one - in the hand of the teacher; and that, just as little as a tool can execute a piece of work of its own accord, just so little can method ever be the chief factor in instruction. The teacher's power to apply method is the determining factor. A good method in the hands of a truly capable teacher will always give better results than a bad method. The best method is of comparatively little value if the teacher is inefficient.
The meaning of method.
It will now be clear that slojd, whether regarded as a subject of school instruction in the usual sense, or as a purely disciplinary subject, must be treated according to rules of method. The ordinary rules of method can be applied to it; and chief amongst them those which are generally regarded as fundamental principles, namely, that instruction shall proceed gradually from the more easy to the more difficult, from the simple to the complex, and from the known to the unknown, it being always understood that the starting point is sufficiently easy, simple, and well-known.
In drawing up a system of method in slojd teaching it is difficult to find any fully logical principle of arrangement elsewhere than in the exercises. By exercises in this connection is to be understood that manipulation of the materials by means of one tool or more in a definite way, for a definite object. Now these exercises can be arranged in a series, in conformity with the rules given above. This could not be done so easily if the tools themselves constituted the principle of arrangement, because, e.g., in the case of two tools, some exercises performed with the one may be easier, and some on the contrary may be more difficult, than the exercises which are performed with the other. It is obvious that the models cannot constitute the principle of arrangement, because they are merely the incidental expressions of the exercises. When, therefore, it is said that the models in a series are graded from the more easy to the more difficult, it is meant that the exercises occurring in these models proceed in this way. The exercises themselves are partly simple, partly complex: the latter consisting of two or more simple exercises in combination. The given number of exercises entering into the work of special kinds of slojd depends more or less upon opinion, for it often happens that what is regarded as one exercise might be analysed into two or more, or might be considered as a part of a more complex exercise. Hence the eighty-eight exercises in slojd-carpentry enumerated further on, might easily be increased or decreased in number, depending entirely upon how far it is considered advisable to carry this analysis or synthesis.
The exercises, their number, their names, and their order are not, however, the only factors which determine method in slojd. The way in which they should be taught must be included. There are different modes of procedure. One of these is to teach the exercises one after the other, simply as isolated or " abstract" exercises, until they have all been performed. This may be justified from the point of view of method in general, but opinions may differ, not to put it too strongly, as to its educational soundness. Another mode of procedure is to apply each exercise, after it has been practised separately or in the abstract, in the construction of a given object or model. The exercises themselves are thus given as preliminary practice. This, though certainly a step in the right direction, does not fully satisfy the demands of educa. tional method, which requires us to proceed from the concrete to the abstract, and not vice versa; and, moreover, such unnecessarily round-about methods cause the loss of valuable time which might be better employed. Method in slojd only becomes educationally sound when the pupil, by constructing objects which can be used in everyday life, acquires dexterity in performing the exercises as they occur. To take an illustration from language teaching, the first mode of procedure corresponds to the learning of abstractions in the form of grammatical rules; the second corresponds to the application of these rules in sentences after they have been learned; the third corresponds to the method by which the pupil is led up, through sentences or combinations of sentences, to the laws of language which in them find expression.