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Education for Adaptability

specialized, efficiency and vocation

EDUCATION FOR ADAPTABILITY Education for efficiency is not to be identified with a narrowly specialized "vocational" educa tion. Too narrowly specialized training may have precisely the opposite result, creating inefficiency instead of efficiency. Processes in any vocation may be completely revolutionized within a few years, or the vocation itself may disappear. Adap tability to changing conditions becomes, therefore, quite as desirable for the normal man and woman as specialized skill in a particular process. Points of similarity in several different occupations are more numerous and important than appear upon the surface. Quickness, dexterity, skill in making particular combinations, coordination of eye and hand, may be transferred from one kind of factory to another if trade-union regulations or traditional notions of administration do not interfere.

In addition to the elementary education which childhood receives in the school and the home, there is a more liberal form of education, though it is fundamentally the same—an education suitable for 7 more mature youth, the aim of which is to give just this adaptability to changing conditions, a training which is not for a trade but for life, for the indus trial and economic and moral situations that will arise, for the crises which will come, requiring judg ment and character. This more liberal education

lies at the very foundation of efficiency. Fourteen to sixteen or eighteen are the years for it. It can, no doubt, be imparted in the commercial and trade school, in agricultural courses and domestic science, as well as in history, literature, art, and economics. But that it is distinct from and prior to the choice of a vocation, and must freely include many ele ments which should not be taken for granted as likely to be picked up incidentally in the course of specialized trade instruction, seems hardly open to question.