Issue 8 T.O.C. – “Manual Training: What it is and its Place in Education” – Joseph C. Park

This is part of a blog series revealing the table of contents of upcoming Issue Eight. As is our custom, we’ll be discussing one article per weekday in order to give you a taste of what is come. 

Please note that the subscription window which includes Issue Eight is open now through March 25th.



“Manual Training: What it is and its Place in Education” – Joseph C. Park

Back around the turn of the 20th century, as the Industrial Revolution was reshaping western civilization and driving the working class away from farms and rural areas towards the city, many observers were growing concerned about the future of the traditions, values, and skills that had been employed for centuries. Although technology promised solutions for many of society’s problems, what was the cost in abandoning the lifeways that had allowed generations to thrive? What would happen to the moral character of a population that previously relied on hand skills and now looked to mechanization and infrastructure to meet its needs?

These questions were pondered by many visionaries who were troubled by the trends they saw, and they sought a solution through youth movements and systems of education. From Scouting to Educational Slöjd, teachers recognized not only the educational value in learning and maintaining manual skills, but also the character-building aspects of these practices. Joseph C. Park was one such educator, and he wrote a curriculum for teaching woodworking to students. This article is drawn from an essay he wrote in 1908, making a strong argument for the value of handcraft in a well-rounded education that is as relevant today as it was a century ago.


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