Evening Institutes (1955)

This pamphlet gave an account of the history of evening institutes and described the courses on offer in the mid 1950s.

The text presented here is from the 1956 reprint which included a Corrigenda slip listing corrections to three of the tables: the tables shown here have been corrected.

The complete document is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various sections.

1 The Changing Evening Institute (page 1)
2 Corporate Life (6)
3 Women's Subjects (9)
4 Handicrafts (14)
5 Art (20)
6 Music and Drama (23)
7 Physical Activities (28)
8 The Formal Curriculum (32)
9 Vocational Courses (35)
10 Miscellany (39)
11 Organisation (42)

Appendix (47)

The text of Evening Institutes was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 7 November 2022.

Evening Institutes (1955)
Ministry of Education Pamphlet No. 28

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1955
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.


[cover]


[title page]


EVENING

INSTITUTES



Ministry of Education Pamphlet No. 28







LONDON
HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE
1955


[page ii]

Foreword

I doubt if the British will ever wish to be regarded as a studious race. But what are the facts? General readers of this pamphlet will be surprised to discover how many people are going to evening classes to study subjects unconnected with their work - to study so often just for the fun of it. And surely as standards of living rise more and more grown-ups will want to use their leisure in widening their knowledge and skill or trying their hand at some form of art.

Enthusiasm we know is catching. The best way to spread the demand for evening classes is to provide with understanding and imagination for the students' needs. The quality of the work ought to come before the numbers of students on the books, and quality in the end will determine the numbers. Success here is not a question of increased subsidies from the rates and taxes. If people really enjoy what an institute can do for them, they will pay for it just as they pay for a seat at a cinema. "Something for nothing" is a bad principle to follow when building up work of this kind.

I am sure this pamphlet will interest and help all those who are trying to make a success of an evening institute. They have my best wishes.







[page iv]


Acknowledgements

The illustrations in this pamphlet are reproduced by courtesy of the following:

Music - Groups rehearsing for a concert
Women's subjects - Needlework
Art - Painting in water colour
Physical activities - Ballet dancing
By courtesy of the City and County of Bristol Education Department.
Corporate Life - Mid evening breakBy courtesy of G. H. Allison Esq., A.R.P.S., 18, Beckett Avenue, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
Music - An orchestral group
Handicrafts - Woodwork
Women's Subjects - Basketry
Women's Subjects - Cookery
By courtesy of the Hastings and St. Leonard's Observer.
Art - Outdoor sketching
Physical Activities - A country dancing class gives a display
By courtesy of R. Kingsley Taylor, Esq., Photographer, The Avenue, Minehead.
Physical Activities - A class in fencingBy courtesy of the Central Council for Physical Recreation.


[page v]

Contents


Preface

Page
Chapter OneThe Changing Evening Institute1
Chapter TwoCorporate Life6
Chapter ThreeWomen's Subjects9
Chapter FourHandicrafts14
Chapter FiveArt20
Chapter SixMusic and Drama23
Chapter SevenPhysical Activities28
Chapter EightThe Formal Curriculum32
Chapter NineVocational Courses35
Chapter TenMiscellany39
Chapter ElevenOrganisation42


APPENDIX

Table I.Attendances at Evening Institutes related to total population.
Table II.Evening Institutes - Data relating to number and size.
Table III.Teachers employed in Evening Institutes.
Table IV.Summary of Class Entries.




[page vi]


Preface


THE EVENING INSTITUTE has, in its time, endeavoured to meet all the many demands of the adult population for part-time further education. As a result the name is now used by institutions of many kinds and a short pamphlet cannot discuss adequately more than a few aspects of their work.

Some institutes are almost entirely concerned with vocational studies and some almost entirely with leisure time studies and activities; the great majority, however, have something of both within their walls. This pamphlet has in mind the smaller local evening institute, of which there are a very great number, and its main purpose is to discuss the work of those classes which are non-vocational in character.

In the past twenty years there have been changes in the volume and the kind of non-vocational work done in the evening institute. It is hoped that the information and suggestions given here will help local education authorities, principals and teachers in evening institutes in their continuing endeavours to meet the needs of young people and of adults for purposeful leisure-time study and occupation.






[page 1]


Evening Institutes


CHAPTER ONE

The Changing Evening Institute

EACH AUTUMN, when the holidays are over, modest notices in local newspapers announce that the evening institutes will shortly be "open for the enrolment of students". There is a remarkable response to these announcements, for within the space of ten days or a fortnight well over a million men and women in England and Wales have arranged themselves in classes to study an immense number of subjects, almost as many as there are to be found in an encyclopaedia. These are not the only evening students that there are, for at about the same time another three quarters of a million men and women begin a new session in technical and art colleges and nearly 150,000 people join classes arranged by the W.E.A. [Workers' Educational Association] and the extra-mural departments of the universities.

An evening institute is hard to describe and almost impossible to define, so many and so varied are the institutions called by the same name. Many are small, having only a few classes, mainly for adults, in subjects such as crafts, music and physical activities; others are large and count their students by thousands, including under the one roof vocational classes leading to external examinations as well as non-vocational classes. In the very large centres such as London, institutes are organised separately by types, but more commonly within the typical local institute are to be found, under one principal and in one building, some vocational work for the school leaver together with leisure time classes for adults.

The great army of evening institute students which is our concern in this pamphlet is made up of men and women of all ages from fourteen upwards. Most of them join their local institute for a single class and attend on one evening in the week, usually from September to March, although some continue to attend classes in the summer months.

There are few of those characteristics common to all which make a description of the student body easy, for people from all walks


[page 2]

of life become students in the evenings. They are mostly people who have left school and those young people of 14 and 15 who attend are almost all about to leave school shortly. Students come of their own free will to study the subjects of their choice. Almost all pay a fee for their class, although in some places young people are admitted without charge to classes. The fees which people pay vary from place to place and according to the nature of the subject taken; for some classes the fees may be as much as 2 for the year, enough to make the class financially self-supporting.

Not every student is satisfied and some leave before the session is over, but these are not the majority. Evening institute students are, in the main, very persistent; in spite of the weather, dark nights, family cares and increased class fees, they continue to attend and their numbers remain fairly steady from year to year. But the pattern of the work within the institutes changes gradually and students are now attracted in great numbers to classes which in former times were considered to be relatively unimportant.

As an educational institution the evening institute has a history which is complex and reaches back to the Sunday schools of the eighteenth century and the Mechanics' Institutes and the Literary Institutes of the nineteenth century. In the present century three broad groups can be seen finding a use for the evening institute. In the first group are those who for various reasons wish to find a continuation of day-time schooling. Before full-time education was compulsory, evening schools were used to give an elementary education to adults who had never had the chance to attend school in their youth. After the introduction of compulsory education when young people left full-time schools at 12 and later at 14, evening institutes enabled them to continue their general education in order that they should have a sufficient knowledge to profit by the vocational, technical and liberal courses open to them from the age of 16 onwards. In the period from 1918-1939 most institutes provided "continuation" classes of this kind, forming a stage between the work of the day school and that of the senior class in the senior institute or the technical college.

Secondly, a need for the evening institute has arisen from the strong desires of working men and women for part-time education which will enable them to fit themselves for positions of responsibility or which will help them to improve their skill at work. This education has traditionally been provided in the evenings and it is only gradually being transferred to day-time classes in technical colleges. The complementary need for part-time education in non-vocational studies at an advanced level has also


[page 3]

been met by evening classes, but these have a history of their own and have for long been organised by the extra-mural departments of universities and by the Workers' Educational Association. The successful work of these "responsible bodies for adult education" explains the general absence in evening institutes of classes conducted at an advanced level in liberal studies.

There are also large numbers of people, young and old, for whom the urge to continue their schooling has little force and there are others who have little incentive to improve their skill at their employment. Yet these people do not want to idle their leisure away and, to meet their needs, evening institutes have always provided non-vocational classes, although, since there have often been doubts as to whether these can rightly be considered to be education at all, they have been provided if there has been room when all the other more serious demands have been met.

The evening institute has not, in times past, been one of those institutions which breed educational revolutions, nor does it appear likely that we may expect any such to emerge in the future. On the other hand, it does reflect quite clearly changes which take place in other fields of education. There has, for instance, in this century been a gradual extension of the period of full-time schooling. With this extension the need for evening classes to complete a basic education has gradually dwindled. The secondary modern school now provides a general education which in every case continues until the age of 15, and in an increasing number of schools for some time beyond, with the result that many boys and girls can proceed directly from their secondary modern school to classes in the technical college. A larger number of boys and girls now attend secondary grammar schools and more of them now remain for a sixth form course. Thus many of the boys and girls who formerly attended the "preparatory" and "continuation" courses from the age of 14-16, now continue in full-time education at school. An increasing number now attend during working hours part-time day classes for a general education.

In 1928, Lord Eustace Percy (now Lord Percy), writing in "Education for Industry and Commerce", noted that 80 to 90 per cent of all the students in vocational classes attended in the evening. He pointed out that such arrangements made it difficult to develop any high degree of specialisation, or to expand technical education into wide and balanced courses. "Such developments must depend to a degree not commonly recognised on the conversion of evening education into part-time day education." There has since that time been a considerable growth of both full-


[page 4]

time and part-time day education. To develop the specialisation he mentions, technical education has been concentrated in larger colleges, better equipped, and serving an area larger than the immediate neighbourhood. The greater part of the technical education that was formerly done in evening classes in the local evening institutes is now done in full-time or part-time day classes in technical colleges, and because these colleges are better equipped and better staffed many of the remaining evening classes have been moved from the evening institute to the college. Some evening institutes with a large number of vocational classes have been developed into technical colleges and now include day time students. There now remains to the local evening institute a much smaller share of technical or vocational education and almost all of it is now work at a junior or a preparatory level.

During the twenty years between the two wars there was a gradual broadening of ideas about education, and much thought was given to the large numbers of people who, once they have passed through the schools, remain untouched by educational influences. The needs of those who wish to study from a love of learning, and of those who study because their work demands it, are more readily acknowledged and the kind of teaching they require is more easily understood. The purpose of education for those without such clear incentives is less easy to explain, but it is generally hoped that it will encourage each one to develop his own powers through his leisure-time interests. The whole range of arts and crafts, music and drama, includes many leisure-time activities each with its own discipline, and these together can be a powerful educational force. As evening institutes have expanded, and as more work has been transferred to technical colleges, more classes of this kind have been introduced. There has always been some room for classes for the housewife, and more has been found as the success of organisations such as the Women's Institute has shown how much can be accomplished by a capable teacher with the right approach. There has always been a place in the evening institute for the men's woodwork class, but the work done in the 1920s in the men's institutes in London showed how much could be gained by encouraging men to cultivate hobbies of all kinds. During those years between the wars there was a great increase in local societies for arts, crafts, music and drama, and directly or indirectly, they stimulated the growth of classes in these subjects in the institutes.

In former times the local evening institute has conveniently housed most of the various forms of further education in the district.


[page 5]

Gradually, first one and then the other section has been developed. There are now few students who come to continue a general education; there are few who attend for higher technical education; there are few who look for classes in liberal studies; a number, though smaller than in former times, still attend for vocational classes at a junior level. On the other hand, a very large number of young people and adults look to the local institute for leisure time education. These changes are reflected in the altered composition of the classes shown in Table IV in the Appendix. In the twenty-two years from 1930 to 1952, the main subjects of the continuation course shown in Group A declined from 33 per cent of the whole to 16 per cent; the senior technical and vocational classes shown in Group B declined from 28 per cent to 13 per cent; the leisure time classes shown in Group D rose from 32 per cent to nearly 70 per cent.

Not only have the subjects studied altered, but the composition of the student body has changed. In former times there were more men and women between the ages of 18 and 21 attending senior vocational courses and they were usually considered to be the most important group in an evening institute, the next most important being the boys and girls in the continuation classes and the courses preparatory to the senior classes. At the present time the preponderant group is composed of students attending leisure-time classes, and most of them are women over the age of 2 I. The largest single group of students is that enrolled for classes in "women's subjects". Over the country as a whole, non-vocational activities form the largest part of the work now done by local evening institutes, and it is the purpose of this pamphlet to discuss the changes which have taken place in teaching methods, in organisation and staffing. It is not intended to discuss technical and commercial education, but a little will be said about junior vocational work because some of this is usually to be found in the evening institute of the present time.



[page 6]


CHAPTER TWO

Corporate Life

LEISURE-TIME further education is essentially a social process arising from our habit of working and playing together. It is, therefore, desirable that the organisation of the evening institute should be sufficiently flexible to allow a wide range of activities to be carried on outside the formal class work. For instance, many of the classes in leisure time activities are supported by members of local societies who willingly supplement the work of the classes by meetings of their own, and it is sometimes possible to afford them facilities for rehearsals of plays and of choral and instrumental music. Other members may desire to meet occasionally in smaller groups to continue work begun in class, to use the library or to take part in informal discussions with other students. A drama group which spends all the class time in rehearsing a play for production is not making the best use of the opportunities which the class could provide. A wide range of study, possibly embracing costume, lighting, movement, speech, the literature and history of the play is open to the members, and will certainly enrich the aesthetic experience they will derive from the production of the play. Similarly some students practising a craft may gain added interest and enthusiasm if they are encouraged to follow some simple academic study related to the craft, e.g. the history and design of dress or of furniture, studies in local history, local customs in food and drink, or the history of local industries. A social life which develops in this way from high standards of teaching and from the enthusiasm of the students for their activities has obvious advantages and will firmly place the evening institute as a centre of the cultural life of the neighbourhood. On the other hand, classes which offer merely entertainment thinly disguised as instruction are providing only what people might be expected to do for themselves without the expenditure of public funds.

It is perhaps difficult to get away from a "school" outlook in planning the work of an evening institute. The students are quite often treated in much the same way as junior pupils in a school, for they rarely take any part in planning the courses or in discussing the work with the principal or the staff. If they are dissatisfied with the classes their only remedy is to stay away, and the high wastage


[page 7]

found in some institutes and classes is probably due, in part, to this.

In some evening institutes a mid-evening break for a cup of tea provides an informal social occasion, and "open evenings" with exhibitions of the students' work are held during or at the end of the session. It frequently happens that the arrangements for these functions impose a heavy burden on the organiser - usually a member of the staff - because there is no properly constituted student organisation to take any responsibility.

The extension of the activities, including the development of the corporate life, should be the result of the natural growth of a healthy evening institute and not a device to bolster up a moribund institution. It can be justified only if it tends to raise the general standard of the work. Like any other organisation the evening institute attracts those for whom it caters. Mediocrity will not attract and keep the interest of people who have good standards, neither will a cup of tea or a social evening be sufficient inducement to hold students who are dissatisfied with the quality of the instruction provided. It is suggested, therefore, that before any development takes place it is desirable that a students' association should be formed with a properly elected committee which will survey the whole work of the evening institute, advise on the planning of the evening programme and, through sub-committees, deal specifically with the varied activities of the institute, the library, canteen, clubs and social functions. The principal should have the right to attend meetings of the students' committee in an advisory capacity. This foundation for self-government is vital before any extension of the activities is attempted and it will undoubtedly be strengthened by the formation of a governing body whose special interest is the development of the evening institute.

Through the committee of the students' association the wise principal will tactfully direct the work of the institute and guide the development of social activities. He will encourage frank discussion on all aspects of the work; he will receive and consider the students' suggestions for adding to and improving the educational programme. Through the students' association the evening institute will become better known in the district. The members may take over the responsibility for making the premises attractive; for organising the library, reading room, clubs and societies; for providing canteen facilities and for arranging social functions. In this way the principal of the evening institute will be able to concentrate on the educational side of the work; he will be relieved of many extraneous responsibilities and he will receive help and encouragement from the students.


[page 8]

Through their committee the students will be able to develop activities for themselves with little or no help from public funds and, more important still, a sound constitution, not dependent on the will or caprice of an individual, will be established and will be strong enough to survive set-backs and to influence public opinion in favour of all that is best in further education in the evening institute.







[page 9]


CHAPTER THREE

Women's Subjects

A QUARTER OF all the students in evening institutes are women attending classes in "women's subjects". Many are housewives differing widely in education and social background but finding common cause in their wish for help in catering and cooking, making clothes for the family, renewing and renovating the furnishings of the home. Some come to classes before they marry to prepare themselves for domestic responsibilities; others come to develop potential gifts as artists and craftswomen; some are older women whose children have grown up and left home. Many find in the institute fresh interests and new friends; many enrol for social reasons and enjoy the stimulus to be obtained from adult classes where women of similar outlook and objectives meet together.

Traditionally the subjects grouped as "women's work" include cookery, the needle subjects, home furnishing and decoration and a number of crafts such as embroidery and lace making, weaving, leather-work and basketry. The scope of the work is, however, being extended steadily to include health, household management, parentcraft and those aspects of sociology and psychology which affect the well-being of the family. It is very probable that there will always be a need for courses designed specifically for women and arranged at times to suit those with household responsibilities. Many classes take place in the evenings, but afternoon classes have been customary for some time, and morning classes are becoming increasingly popular with young mothers whose children are at school.

The varying abilities, interests and experience of the students bring problems which demand of the teacher a fresh experimental mind. To be successful she must be aware of the many ways in which her students learn - by thinking, seeing, doing, listening, feeling, talking - and she must know that some students learn more easily in one way than in another. These differing ways of learning will influence the arrangement of the working environment and the presentation of material; the purpose throughout will be to ensure that the student grows steadily less dependent upon the teacher and progressively more able to plan and complete the work she has set herself to do. At the same time it will be the aim of the teacher to


[page 10]

extend the student to her full capacity and, as each stage of learning is mastered, to suggest new fields in which she may gain fresh experience.

The instructors of these classes are sometimes day school teachers or, more commonly, part-time instructors with special skill and experience in one or more crafts who have taken some training to equip themselves as teachers of adults. To hold and inspire the students an instructor needs a technical competence which will command respect and a knowledge and an understanding of the students themselves - their living conditions, financial positions, likes and dislikes, local tastes, ways of living and the places where people shop. An instructor who is sensitive to the thoughts and ideas of her students will know how to interpret and develop their taste without damaging their faith in their own ability and judgment. Above all she should have qualities of personality which enable her to establish friendly relations with her students, creating easily an atmosphere within the group in which widely differing individuals can develop their latent powers to the full.

Preliminary thought and preparation are essential if the course is to run smoothly and the students to make good progress. The first step is to decide what ground is to be covered and this will be determined by the objectives of the students, the time available and the teaching conditions. It is usual to find that women in all types of craft classes are expected to enrol for the full session of two or three terms. Shorter courses designed to teach specific aspects of a craft, or particular skills, may be more appropriate for many students and ensure more consistent and purposeful attendance. In the larger institutes both types of course will have their place. Whatever the length and pattern of the course it should be planned in broad outline to ensure that definite teaching points are dealt with systematically; the work should then be prepared in some detail week by week. Such preparation will include the making of brief notes to indicate the proportion of time to be spent on different aspects of the work - discussion, demonstration and practice by the students - and the collection of suitable reference material designed to inspire, enlarge experience, develop confidence and the ability to work alone. To be effective the illustrative material chosen must be directly applicable to the work of the particular meeting and should be displayed and arranged so that it is easily accessible. Examples of attractive materials and good workmanship will set a standard to the students, pictures and diagrams will help to clarify the teaching points that have been stressed, books and periodicals may arouse enthusiasm for further study of the subject, and


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individual teaching apparatus and instruction sheets will enable some students to solve problems for themselves. Apart from what is seen in the classroom, the students should be encouraged to explore their own locality to find out what is available that will be of use and interest to them in their work. Visits to shops, exhibitions, museums, fashion shows and displays and demonstrations by commercial firms, made independently, or in the company of the instructor, may prove very profitable and form a useful basis for discussion in subsequent class meetings at the institute.

In the larger institutes it is usually advisable and practicable to grade the classes in each subject, though even here tact and persuasion may be needed to ensure that each student fits readily and happily into the appropriate class unit. Such grading may not be possible where the number of classes and students is small and in this case the teaching at first may have to be much more individual. However, as the instructor discovers what each member of the class can do, she will find that even within a single class it is possible to grade the work and to introduce group teaching methods. This grading of classes or of students within a class is essential if the more capable are to forge ahead and if those who are less able are to avoid the disappointment that will come from attempting overambitious work beyond their powers.

It is very desirable that when the students come to the classroom all should be in readiness for them. The room should be arranged as attractively and conveniently as possible and materials, equipment and teaching apparatus should be immediately available for use. The instructor should have a clear idea of the way in which the pattern of the lesson is to develop and of what she expects the students to do. Every effort should be made to adhere to the scheme of work that has been planned and the wishes of the students should not deflect the instructor unduly from her intended course of action. Some students will always need more help than others, but care must be taken to see that each has her fair share of attention and that all are kept busy and interested throughout the session. While it is difficult to generalise for every circumstance, it is likely that some time in each class meeting should be given to class teaching, general discussion, demonstration by the instructor to the whole class or to groups within the class, and to the direction and supervision of the students' work. At the end of each meeting sufficient time should be allowed both for planning the work for the following class and to allow the students to play their part in leaving both equipment and room in good order.

Many women first join a class for a purely utilitarian purpose -


[page 12]

to learn some new recipes, to make clothes or hats for themselves or their families, to re-cover a shabby eiderdown, to reseat a chair, to weave material for a cushion cover or to make a shopping basket or a pair of gloves. Classes which offer instruction in work of this kind are the most popular, though smaller groups of students may be very interested in such crafts as embroidery, smocking, quilting, or lace-making, which demand a greater degree of delicate skill, patience, and sensitive appreciation of materials, design and colour combinations. Whatever the subject chosen it is the task of the instructor to see that it is taught with a full understanding of its educational value and that what is primarily a practical interest develops into real understanding of the possibilities of the craft, its history and its application to everyday life.

The members of a cookery class may at first be content merely to copy a dish that has been demonstrated or to try out a new recipe, but the course cannot be considered thoroughly successful unless it includes, in addition to the preparation of a variety of dishes, the planning and serving of attractive family meals, the study and application of the first principles of nutrition, which will help the students to know what to eat and why, and discussion and practice in budgeting and catering for children, adolescents and adults on an allowance relevant to the incomes of the students in the class.

In dressmaking and millinery, the course will only fulfil its function if, besides making one or two hats or dresses, the students are given opportunities for the study of fabrics and fashion, the choice of styles appropriate to different occasions, the planning of outfits for themselves and their children and for practice in the care and maintenance of clothes in wear. Similarly, classes in upholstery and home furnishing will suggest many ways in which the students can be led to consider the articles they make and renovate in relation to the rooms where they are to be used and from this starting point they may gain considerable understanding of interior decoration, the importance of fitness for purpose in the selection of furniture, the choice of colour schemes and the attractive arrangement of the rooms in the home.

All the traditional crafts, such as embroidery, smocking, quilting, weaving, basketry and leatherwork repay continued practice and exhaustive research and experiment in the kind of material, design and colour combination that gives the best results. If the possibilities of a craft are to be worthily exploited, the number attempted in any one class should be limited, for if too many are included in an omnibus 'home-crafts' class, the finished work, though neatly


[page 13]

executed, may be imitative, repetitive, and undistinguished in character. For craft teaching, instructors are needed who have an understanding of design and who can guide and encourage students to express something of themselves in the work they do. Many women can express with a needle and in material what they cannot paint or draw, and in some classes notable work is done by those who have had little previous experience in designing.

The heavy demand for classes in "women's subjects" and the increasing number of enrolments in both town and country institutes speak not only for the need for this instruction, but also for the success of much of what is already done, often under the most unpromising conditions. It is most encouraging that there is steadily increasing recognition of the fact that practical subjects not only satisfy a utilitarian need, but also offer scope for the growth of aesthetic, creative and intellectual powers, and that more and more instructors are realising the educational value of their work and are prepared to equip themselves accordingly.




[page 14]


CHAPTER FOUR

Handicrafts

Woodwork

FOR MEN, and for an increasing number of women, the evening institute woodwork class is the nearest approach that has been made to a communal workshop. It attracts people of all ages and all kinds; a class which admits both men and boys may have an age range of from 15 to 70 and the retired professional man may be found working alongside the boy apprentice. A common interest in practical work is a remarkable leveller.

Evening institute classes in woodwork spring directly from the introduction of the craft into the elementary schools of former times and the demand for evening classes grew with the spread of woodwork teaching in the schools. Two kinds of class were commonly found before 1939. One would be arranged for boys of 14-16 years of age as a part of an industrial group course; in this kind of class students were usually given progressive instruction and took an examination at the end. In the other type of class there would be non-vocational work for men and older boys. Since the war the popularity of the grouped course has declined and in some places no classes of this kind are now to be found. Over the country as a whole the predominant type is the recreational class in which boys, men and women are to be found working together. Most of the work takes the form of furniture for the home, ranging from kitchen furniture and fittings to ambitious pieces in oak and other hardwood.

Such classes are widely demanded and are to be found in great numbers all over the country. But although the classes are widespread they are not evenly distributed. In one country town of about 10,000 people the woodwork shop of the secondary modern school is open on three evenings of the week, winter and summer, for the teacher is a popular and a sensible man who knows how to teach well under evening institute conditions and who is not sparing of his own time or energy. In contrast to this, in a town of 50,000 people there is no evening class in handicraft; no class has ever been offered and no demand has ever made itself heard. It appears unlikely that there is any difference between the two neighbourhoods or the men who live in them which could explain why classes


[page 15]

are necessary in one place but not in the other. There is probably no secondary modern school which could not become the centre of at least one evening class if efficient and attractive teaching were to be offered: the workshops are there, many of them idle every evening.

It has always been the practice in the past for the evening class to be taken by the man who had charge of the room in the day time. Usually he was glad to do it, and the standard of the work varied with his ability and energy. The day-school handicraft teacher teaching in his own workshop is still the mainstay of evening institute woodwork and so it is likely to remain. But it may well happen that this arrangement is not possible and either another teacher must use the workshop in the evenings or the district must go without a woodwork class. There are obvious difficulties when another man uses the tools and equipment in the evening and has access to the timber store, and many headmasters of schools and principals of evening institutes will not attempt to start a woodwork class unless the day teacher will take charge of it. Reluctance to tackle this problem is understandable for "dual control" of a workshop can cause real trouble to the man who, after all, has the major responsibility for the tools, equipment and materials, and the more conscientious he is the more the difficulties are likely to trouble him. But in spite of the dilemma there are indications that the number of workshops operating under dual control is increasing and that in many areas the difficulties are not found to be insuperable. Teachers suitable for evening institute work can be found among class teachers in both secondary and primary schools; many of the younger men teachers of classroom subjects have handicraft qualifications and some might welcome the opportunity of taking a handicraft class in the evening. There are also some potential teachers to be found outside the ranks of professional teachers, but it must be remembered that to-day the "craftsman" woodworker is becoming a rarity. The management of a woodwork class, with most of the students engaged in individual work covering a wide range of furniture-making, is a very difficult task for a man with no training as a teacher and few can be found who can manage it. However, if handicraft classes develop in the direction of hobbies and general handyman work, as they seem likely to do, there may be more room for the non-professional. It must be recognised, however, that few tradesman teachers have the breadth of knowledge or, what is perhaps more important, the wide background necessary to deal successfully with the varied demands likely to be made in a class of this kind.


[page 16]

At the same time it is obvious that the teaching of handicraft in an evening institute demands a vastly different technique from the teaching of the same subject in a school. The students attend voluntarily and have their own ideas on what they want to do and how it should be done. Boys who have but recently left school tend to be impatient with formal teaching and adult students tolerate it even less readily. It is the realisation of this which has led many evening institute teachers to abandon formal teaching altogether, giving help when asked for, but little more. Yet there are effective ways of teaching under evening institute conditions; when students have confidence in the teacher they will usually take his advice and will often take more formal instruction than many teachers think possible. The efficient evening institute teacher organises the class so that the students waste no time and can use the full two hours of the meeting for useful work. He is able to persuade students to take a job which is within their powers, and to guide them in the design and construction of it. He knows when supervision is necessary and when his expert help is needed. The best of the teachers do all this, and by the growth of their work year by year are able to build up a tradition of good craftsmanship which has an incalculable effect upon the homes of the district in which they work.

There are many ways of informal teaching which are acceptable to the serious evening institute student. Exercises are frequently necessary before an unfamiliar joint, or process is worked into an important job. To carry out a practical exercise does not take long, but to make it useful and effective, and therefore acceptable, the teacher must have suitable material prepared so that the student can really learn in the minimum time. This usually requires prepared material, a working drawing, and the exercise in its various stages for the student to handle. This material should be prepared by the teacher as required and will then become part of his stock-in-trade. The use of instruction sheets and similar material is almost unknown in evening institutes, yet it offers a ready means of effective individual instruction particularly appropriate to such classes. If the necessary instruction is offered in a manner which is rapid, businesslike and obviously useful, it will probably meet with a good response. A good teacher, working with all possible help from display and other prepared material, can get a good response to a short preliminary basic course of exercises and joints for beginner students. Another useful device is to take some process or operation from the work of an individual student and make this the subject of a demonstration to the whole class. Students will accept this and look forward to it, if it is done expeditiously and in


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an interesting manner, and in the middle of the evening session a break is sometimes welcome. It is by such methods that evening institute teaching is often done and under the guidance of a capable teacher an atmosphere can be developed in which students will naturally strive to do better and reach out to higher standards of work.

There is probably room in evening institutes for some grading and some differentiation of function in woodwork classes. In institutes which are large enough to offer more than a few classes some attempt might be made to cater for the more serious student. Good teaching at school followed by attendance at an evening institute should produce some good amateur craftsmen but woodwork is a craft which few can follow at home beyond the most elementary stages because of the space and equipment required. There are other agencies tending to stimulate an interest in craft work at the higher levels, and it seems likely that some lively enterprising classes, taken by expert teachers, and aiming at real craftsmanship, would draw an encouraging response. The schools of art provide something of this kind in their cabinet making classes but they are few in number and their aim is not primarily to cater for the needs of the amateur woodworker. This is a job which the evening institutes might do, and there are, in the ranks of teachers and lecturers in training colleges, craftsmen well able to instruct classes at any level and to deal with the question of design which must be an important part of the work. It is not too much to say that the survival of craftsmanship in this field of furniture-making of high quality by traditional methods rests largely with the amateur, for whom it is among the most rewarding of all leisure occupations.

Such classes, however, whether in the school of art or in the evening institute, could never be more than few in number. The ordinary evening institute must provide for the large numbers who wish to make furniture and other things of a more commonplace kind for the home. But even among these students some grading is usually possible so that some separation can be made between the beginner and the more experienced worker, between the boy who has just left school and the adult student. In this matter of separation, however, the arguments are not all on the one side; there is no doubt some social value in a "mixed-class" and much to be gained by a class which is close to the students' homes.

Metalwork

Metalwork classes are increasing steadily in number: many new school metalwork rooms have been opened since the war, and


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various types of evening class in this craft are being tried. Although metalwork is a popular craft with boys at school, it has not such an obvious carry-over into leisure life as has woodwork for there is no leisure form of metalwork of such general appeal as furniture-making for woodworkers, unless it be model engineering. This exacting and fascinating craft is supported by model engineering societies all over the country, but although it must have a very large following it is based almost entirely on work in the home workshop. The enthusiasts have their own workshops, usually quite small, and fitted with specialised equipment, much of which they make themselves. The nature of the equipment, the necessity of having a place where work can be left set up, and the long time which has to be spent on the work, make this craft a very difficult one to organise under evening institute conditions. Some such classes are, however, in operation and it remains to be seen how the difficulties will be overcome.

Other types of metalwork classes are developing according to local needs. Some are offering general metalwork for farm workers and for workers in other trades where such a knowledge can be useful. There are some courses in lathe work. Some are attempting a general "handicraft" metalwork course, but there is not usually any great enthusiasm for pokers, trivets and hand-made garden tools. The form of metalwork which appeals to serious workers at the craftsman level is hammered work done in copper and gilding metal but based upon the work of the silversmith, to which, under a good teacher, it would lead. There is very little of this so far, however, but there is no reason why there should not be a development in this craft similar to the development of cabinet making for the woodworkers, and leading in due course to the school of art.

Hobbies

It is doubtful if work based mainly upon furniture-making or the more usual kinds of metalwork will satisfy all demands when the conception of the handicraft class as a community workshop gains increasing acceptance. Handicraft in schools is broadening in scope and is beginning to include activities such as the many and varied practical hobbies open to boys. It is likely that a similar development in the work of evening institutes would meet a real community need and would appeal to many men and boys who are not attracted to furniture-making. There are possibilities in model-making of all kinds; in household renovations and repairs; in toys; in games; and in many other practical activities suited to various interests and


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needs. An important part of the equipment of a workshop offering this kind of work would be a good supply of practical books, from which new ideas, as well as clear instructions, could be obtained.

It is true that the school woodwork and metalwork shops are not entirely suitable for community workshops in which hobbies of all kinds can be done, but at present there is no alternative. It may be hoped that, one day, community centres and youth centres will provide the facilities for men and boys to follow practical hobbies, and it will then be possible to equip rooms for this particular purpose with quite a modest initial equipment. For the present this important community job must be done in most areas, if it is to be done at all, by the evening institutes.





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CHAPTER FIVE

Art

CLASSES in drawing and painting are to be found in all types and sizes of institute, and a typical class will include students drawn from all levels of the community. One class in central London includes a civil servant, a solicitor, a company director, several private secretaries and a commercial artist seeking relief from the tedium of popular advertising; another is attended by factory workers, shop assistants and clerks, all young people who were formerly pupils at the secondary modern school in which the instructor teaches art by day. In all of them there is usually to be found a great diversity of talent and training, for some include students who have completed a course of professional training and others who have had none of any kind. Some students come with a desire to reach a standard which will be likely to get their work exhibited; others work solely to fulfil a desire to do something creative.

The teachers, too, have varied qualifications and experience; some hold graduate specialist qualifications whilst others have no specialist qualifications, but have much experience of teaching in schools. Others again are professional artists of some standing who teach in evening institutes because of a firm belief in the recreative value of painting and drawing. The very varied abilities and experiences of the students likely to be enrolled present the teacher with problems which demand from him not only a good knowledge of his subject, together with the ability to manage grown men and women in a tactful manner, but also firm leadership and skill as a teacher.

The approach to the subject differs widely. Some students, often those with little talent, come armed with magazine illustrations and photographs which they insist on copying. They are undaunted by their inability to draw and they work with courage and enthusiasm until defeated by sheer lack of technical competence. Others are diffident and gladly accept a course of instruction which may consist of drawing and painting from simple still life groups, pattern designing and lettering, or drawing and painting from described or imaginary incidents. The rare talented student usually has sufficient judgment and confidence to be left to his own devices


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with occasional help from his teacher. It sometimes happens that a class opens with the majority of the students copying photographs and magazine illustrations, but where the teacher is experienced this gives way to drawing and painting from direct observation and later on to purely imaginative work, and it is at this stage that true artistic values appear. Good teachers are patient and, because of a belief in the value of drawing and painting as a means of communicating ideas and feelings which their students would hesitate to express in any other way, they go to considerable trouble to stimulate and maintain the interests of each person. It is interesting to note how sensitivity and judgment may develop. Age is of little significance. Markedly spirited and beautiful paintings from imagination and direct observation have been done in a class of adolescents, and highly sensitive work has been produced in classes made up of older people. Social background and occupation do not seem to influence the work. But it is always the case that work of genuine quality is produced under the guidance of inspired and enlightened teachers who go to considerable trouble to provide reproductions of a wide variety of works of art for their students.

In other classes the work of the students reveals painstaking practice of techniques with no sensibility in the matter of colour, design, light and texture; careful work which never comes to life. Too often little or no attempt is made to influence the taste or the judgment of the student. Copying is allowed and even encouraged and this may have some value provided that students copy and study pictures worthy of attention. But copying is difficult to justify when mediocre magazine illustrations and advertisement designs are used. In such classes the students may improve their skill in the manipulation of their material and they may enjoy the company of people of similar tastes, but they are not being helped towards that understanding of the genuine and the counterfeit which should come from the capable teaching of art in any of its branches.

Classes in the crafts are less numerous than those in drawing and painting, but art classes often include some opportunity to practise crafts such as modelling, carving, pottery and bookbinding, according to the personal beliefs and the practical qualifications of the teacher. Many of the classes in crafts such as leatherwork, basketry and weaving are arranged for women only and some reference has been made to them in the previous chapter on "women's subjects". In some centres an encouraging start has been made with craft classes in which both men and women join and pottery is a noteworthy favourite. Much depends not only on the abilities of the teacher but also on whether the institute is able to use rooms that


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are adequately equipped for craft work; as more schools are being provided with rooms suitable for the teaching of a wide range of art and crafts it is probable that classes in these subjects will increase in the institutes.

It is very probable that the evening institute class in art will continue to provide for many different students working at a variety of levels and meeting together each week almost as an informal art club. In it the majority of students can be encouraged to create something of their own, to come to some understanding of the problems of the artist and to form their own standards of aesthetic judgment. Among them there may be students who could go further and who would benefit from attending suitable classes at an art school. Some may have attended classes in evening institutes for a long time and their work may be well up to the standard of art schools but for the lack of knowledge or advice, or because of excessive modesty, or from attachment to teachers and friends in the class, they have not moved on. There is much to be gained from grading classes and encouraging the abler student to accept higher standards of work. In every class there should be close contact with the art school which serves the area so that encouragement can be given to those who are able to develop their powers to the full. [text continues after photographic plates.]




[The following photographic plates were printed on unnumbered pages between pages 22 and 23]

[click on the image for a larger version]

Plate 1. Music - An orchestral group


Plate 2(a) Corporate Life - Mid evening break

Plate 2(b) Music - Group rehearsing for a concert


[click on the image for a larger version]

Plate 3. Handicrafts - Woodwork


Plate 4(a) Women's Subjects - Basketry

Plate 4(b) Women's Subjects - Cookery


Plate 5. Art - Outdoor sketching


Plate 6(a) Women's Subjects - Needlework

Plate 6(b) Art - Painting in water colour


Plate 7. Physical activities - a class in fencing


Plate 8(a) Physical activities - Ballet Dancing

Plate 8(b) Physical activities - A country dancing class gives a display


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CHAPTER SIX

Music and Drama

THE FULL RANGE of music embraces a diversity of subjects and activities, each sufficient in itself to form an extended course of study. Just as with the sister art of drama, much in music depends on the communal efforts of the performers and the social setting of the activities. Music can be experienced by listening, by performing on a wide range of instruments, by singing alone or in groups large and small.

In evening institutes at present this range of possibilities is rarely explored. A large number of classes are formed for choral groups, bringing together twenty to thirty people in the district who are interested in singing. A welcome development in recent years has been the growth of choral classes which have come into existence through successful teaching in the secondary schools; to these come former pupils who are unwilling to lose touch with their music master or mistress and they return in the evenings to classes in which standards are usually high. Sometimes established local choral groups have become a part of the evening institute in order to take advantage of premises and instructors; these are often among the strongest and most advanced classes.

Most choral classes of about 20-30 members meet once each week to sing part-songs of a fairly elementary kind. Rather a large proportion of teachers tend to select well-known popular works which demand little of the imaginative powers of the singers, because they fear that only in this way are they able to retain the interest of the class. The choice of music which is too difficult, on the other hand, leads to extensive rehearsal of isolated technical difficulties. The chief stimulus to the work of these groups is often the local music festival or the public performance, sometimes in conjunction with other choirs. Such occasions are valuable and enjoyable experiences but frequently the music set is difficult or in some way unsuitable for the individual groups and discouragement results. Lack of balance between the parts in a group often produces difficulties; it is not unusual to find the men greatly out-numbered by the women and, of the men, only one or two with any claim to be tenors. The kind of part-song which is usually sung emphasises these particular difficulties and it is not often that the conductor


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is sufficiently skilful as a musician to meet them adequately; he is frequently handicapped in his rehearsals by the lack of a good accompanist.

Many of these choral groups would have far more value if their work was more obviously progressive. A course of instruction is seldom formulated, and the class tends to proceed from song to song and from festival to festival with little individual progress amongst the singers; the non-readers remain non-readers and the unmusical have to be "trained" to perform each song as a separate exercise. Under these conditions the development of technical ability and the growth of imaginative musicianship are very slow. Sometimes the heart of the weakness is to be found in the limited general musicianship of the teacher, but more often it lies in his lack of teaching skill. There is also to be found in some teachers and students an attitude that music is a relaxation rather than a re-creation and it is said that the pleasure would be impaired by activities which demanded from the student a sustained effort of the mind. But it is significant that the most flourishing and enthusiastic classes are often those in which the conductor works the members hard and makes real musical demands; half-heartedness leads to failure, particularly where the more formal aspects of the subject are concerned.

An alternative to the succession of part-songs is some course of study which is clearly formulated in the mind of the teacher. Ability to read music, instrumentally or vocally, is the basis of all real music-making and no music group which professes educational value should lose sight of this. Alongside a development of music-reading should come a general broadening of musical experience. Choral recordings, for instance, can be studied with vocal scores, and parts of such works sung; in this way works too difficult or too substantial for the group can be experienced and musicianship improved. Many local authorities maintain a choral lending library which includes works ranging from the more difficult to simple pieces, the latter being valuable for music-reading and for extending the general knowledge of the class. Where there is a great range of ability within the group it may be profitable to form a madrigal section which can rehearse on its own for a part of the time, whilst the "beginners" are given constructive tuition in music-reading and in the technique of choral singing generally. Madrigal singing is rarely found, probably because choral groups are fairly large and often lack the proper balance of parts. After some initial training, however, most classes could be split up for this work, the conductor dividing his time between the groups. Once people have become accustomed to madrigal singing they are very likely to continue for


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themselves in their homes. The history of music, too, can be approached through group singing and a year's course of practical study could be based on the singing of folk-song, lieder or the madrigal.

A class which pursues a course of study of this kind will find it possible to put less emphasis on festivals and public performances, often leaving such work to larger or more advanced groups. For the smaller class an occasional informal performance for other members of the institute, even if the audience is small, can be of greater benefit than a large annual event. Many choral groups would gain if they could widen the scope of their work; the quality of their singing could often be improved more rapidly by the study of instrumental and vocal recordings than by persistent rehearsal of current difficulties in the choral repertory; and informal recitals by good singers or instrumentalists could help to broaden general knowledge of music and give to the class some indication of high standards of musicianship.

Instrumental groups in evening institutes are not so frequently found as are choral groups, but their numbers have increased considerably since the war, possibly reflecting the rapid growth of instrumental playing in schools. With few exceptions the classes are for strings only and many local authorities give generous help with the loan of instruments. In the past few years evening institute orchestras have made rapid progress in many parts of the country, and members are often trained in small instructional classes within the institute. Classes for instrumentalists can readily be formed to meet various grades of proficiency, and, if it is possible, it is better to develop several smaller classes than one large group; classes can be sub-divided for part of the meeting for "sectional rehearsals". In recent years, too, substantial progress has been made in the technique of teaching string players in groups, and many evening institute teachers would benefit from a closer knowledge of these methods. Practice at home helps towards progress in instrumental playing and more could be done to give performers, even moderate ones, an acquaintance with some chamber works as a part of their course. This, as with madrigal singing, can stimulate informal meetings of players at home. The family spirit in music appears to survive best in brass band playing where it is not unusual to find father and son in the same band. A mixture of ages is more possible and probably more valuable in music than in most recreative activities.

In the orchestral classes the quality of leadership is generally better than that of the choral groups, the choice of music is usually more skilful, and music-reading is developed much more quickly. Rather too often, as with choral work, the course consists entirely


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of preparation for some public performance, although in some classes a common fault is to "play through" works and to ignore the need for some detailed rehearsal of particular passages. The quality of the training depends very much upon the musicianship and experience of the conductor; he should be a competent instrumentalist himself, capable of demonstrating well to his orchestra.

Evening institutes are perhaps under something of an obligation to provide for recorder players, for the skill which a great number of children acquire at school lapses when they leave. Recorders, too, can be used very successfully as a practical medium in classes studying the rudiments of music, and groups can occasionally combine with singers and string players. Pipe playing, also, should not be ignored, for tutors for these simple instruments are not difficult to find and a great deal of fine music is available to advanced players. Other possible activities are percussion playing and piano teaching by class methods; a few institutes give instruction in the guitar, an instrument comparatively easy to play and worthy of a greater popularity. No opportunity should be lost of combining the institute's instrumentalists with choral and operatic groups.

Occasionally classes are arranged for music appreciation, but the work is rarely of a high quality. The record-study class becomes too passive and the members would usually derive far more benefit if they were to make a greater individual contribution to the work of the evening. A very stimulating course would be one in which students could hear and discuss recorded music - use scores, sing chorally, study some of the more academic aspects of the subject and possibly experiment with elementary harmony and composition. A course of this nature would enable a student to understand much of the history and development of music and in developing his personal skill and knowledge would enable him more readily to "appreciate" the music he hears. Classes of this kind would require teachers of a high quality, but there is no doubt that these exist, if they can be attracted towards evening institute work.

Classes in drama are to be found in many evening institutes. In some ways the pattern of the work is similar to that in choral music and many of the points made in the earlier part of the chapter apply equally to classes in drama. Men and women of all ages attend and they come because they enjoy acting and all the arts that combine in the production of a play. Some classes cater mainly for beginners but most include a number of people of some experience, and they often become drama companies undertaking one, two or even three productions each year, usually to audiences of friends and members of the institute. Such classes often continue from year


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to year and may lead to the formation of an amateur dramatic society connected with the institute. In other places established local societies find it convenient to use the teachers and the premises provided by the evening institute.

Teachers of drama classes are usually men and women who have had considerable experience of drama both as actors and as producers; some hold qualifications of the colleges of speech and drama. All kinds of plays are produced, both one-act and full-length, some of accepted merit and others of an ephemeral nature. Often the class attempts a "West End success", usually a farce or a comedy, the most difficult of all for the amateur to act effectively. Sometimes high amateur standards are reached, but it is probably true that evening institute classes tend to be too anxious to put a play on to a stage. There is a very natural desire to complete a task once it is begun and to enjoy the excitement of a production with an audience. Yet most classes meet only once each week and the time for rehearsal is short. As a result much of the training is rather narrowly focussed on the detail of stage technique and the actual performance tends to lack sincerity and any imaginative interpretation of the play as a whole.

Some of the more successful teachers take great care to develop the individual powers of the students by means of interesting work in speech, movement, mime and improvisation. The members of these groups become more flexible, more imaginative and more able to interpret their material successfully. Although these classes produce fewer plays in public the standard of their performances is usually high. It is by methods such as these that the work of a class can probably be best improved; some classes appear to meet year after year with little change in their composition, the work they do or the results they achieve. Such classes would benefit from a course wider in scope and more clearly formulated so that the members are led to understand something of the wide scope of the art of drama. Drama festivals can be of value in revealing limitations and suggesting improvements, and the visits of drama organisers can be of great assistance to both teachers and students.

Heads of institutes can do much good by making friendly contacts with independent local societies and with regional and national organisations for music and drama. They can help, too, by developing libraries of books, sets of plays, music and records, and by encouraging members of the institute to attend concerts, recitals and plays. Any broadening of the scope of the classes in these ways will lead not only to an increase in the knowledge of the student but also to a more lively social life within the institute,


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CHAPTER SEVEN

Physical Activities

IN THE LAST twenty years the scope of physical education in evening institutes has broadened considerably and the former narrow conception of physical training and keep-fit exercises has given way to much more extensive instruction in games, athletics and dancing. During the same time the number of classes has increased and now almost one fifth of all the students are to be found in classes of this kind. There is an immense variety in the classes and almost any physical activity can be found in one programme or another: there is dancing of all kinds, physical training, keep-fit apparatus - gymnastics, swimming, Association and Rugby football, cricket, lawn tennis, netball, basket ball, golf, badminton, athletics, boxing, fencing, judo, wrestling, weight lifting and archery - to mention only the commonest.

Classes which offer purposeful and objective training in specialised activities are now in general demand, The local Rugby club may feel the need for early season training or for mid-week exercise and be glad of the premises and instruction offered in the evening institute: the young footballer may be seeking an opportunity to increase his technical knowledge and develop his ball skill, or the athlete to find expert coaching. Sometimes the usual school games are forsaken for new and more sociable interests. Fencing, which demands a refined and precise skill and constant application, is usually undertaken in mixed company and is attracting more exponents. Judo is a fascinating and a highly skilled sport which brings together people of all ages and occupations to practise their art at appropriate levels of attainment. Similar motives bring into being the afternoon classes for the married and older women who, whilst they may be attracted by the beneficial effects of exercise, would not attend so eagerly or so regularly if they did not find a friendly atmosphere and opportunities for companionship. There is a constant demand for dancing of all kinds; the young worker who aspires to be a stage or a ballet dancer sees an opportunity of training within her means; the future teacher of ballroom dancing may receive valuable instruction in an institute; many young men grateful for the chance to learn to dance are able at the same time


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to gain the confidence and the sense of doing things properly which will be so important when they are escorts. But in addition to these students, who all have a definite purpose in view, there are many others for whom the attraction lies in the pleasant company and in the satisfaction gained in the skilled performance of rhythmic movement. Many principals value the influence of good instruction in ballroom dancing and believe that it encourages good deportment and courteous behaviour in the students.

Such a variety of activities will not be found in every district, for in a country area or in a small town it may be difficult to bring together enough members to start a class, or there may be no suitable premises or no instructor. But in the more densely populated areas where further education has been developed, a reasonable selection of classes should be available within easy travelling distance. The tendency of recent years to extend the programme into the summer months and to include outdoor classes is a welcome development, and brings many attractive pursuits within the reach of a wider public. Many classes are of two hours' duration and for some activities this time might well be shortened.

In nearly every activity effective and popular classes are to be found and it is not always easy to identify the essential features of success. Of several contributory factors, those most likely to outweigh all others are the personality of the teacher and the sense of purpose and conviction that he, or she, brings to the task. These qualities, together with an interest in the individual members of a class and the ability to establish friendly relationships amongst them, will often compensate for lack of professional qualifications. Excellent results have been achieved by the non-professional teacher who with an extensive knowledge of one particular game or sport has the gift of imparting his enthusiasm to others and leading them on to the achievement of some standard of performance.

It is not surprising that, with the extensive development of physical activities in the institutes, staffing difficulties have occurred; shortage of suitable teachers is the main problem. Fully trained specialists have never been employed in great numbers and the work has fallen on the day school teacher who has some knowledge of recreational needs. These teachers have undoubtedly given and are still giving valuable service; but day-school demands on their time and energy are ever increasing and they have already done a full day's work before starting instruction in the evening. In order to retain freshness and vigour in the evening classes there is a need for trained teachers who will look to the evening institute as their main


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interest and supplement their work by part-time teaching during the day; the contribution of the day-school teacher will always be needed and there will still be a place for the non-professional person who takes up teaching as an evening occupation. Many more expert performers might well prove their worth as part-time teachers if they could add to their practical skill the ability to organise and conduct classes and useful results might be achieved by giving them comparatively short training courses. With this end in view one local education authority provides a residential holiday course of two weeks' duration; another authority gives instruction for two hours a week over three months; a third attempts the much greater task of giving basic training in the technique of several recreative activities as well as some professional training in a course which meets twice a week for two years. The aspiring teacher may gain some qualification, as many have done in the past, through courses organised by the Central Council of Physical Recreation and by the parent bodies of sport, in which the emphasis is placed on, coaching points and class management. Advisory visits from an authority's organiser of physical education are of considerable value to teachers in evening institutes.

Although highly successful classes are often found in poor conditions, there can be little doubt that good premises, pleasant surroundings and suitable equipment are great incentives to the establishment and enjoyment of sound standards of work. Many classes that struggle to survive might well gain strength from better facilities. Where changing rooms and washing facilities are available (often inadequate) and members can enjoy the beneficial effects of a shower, the feeling of exhilaration and well-being that should follow physical exercise is enhanced.

Since many people join in physical activities purely for enjoyment it is sometimes difficult to decide what can reasonably be included in an evening institute programme. The important factor is that a class provides instruction and training; opportunities are needed for members to develop their interests and skills, and to further their physical well-being; some discipline of practice and application is to be expected. If these are present it seems pointless to discriminate between various activities, for games training to one person may be as unattractive as gymnastics or dancing to another. Different activities require different numbers; fencing and ballroom dancing provide a useful contrast. It is likely to be much harder to gather together a class in a rural district than in a large town, and it is reasonable to allow the institute in the country to form classes with fewer enrolments. In an urban area, on the other hand, some


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centralisation may avoid competition between classes and the joint class may make the best use of premises and staff. Another problem is the formation of new clubs. That representative teams and clubs should arise out of instructional classes is natural, and there can be no difficulty in cases where the club organises its activities without detriment to the true purpose of the class. But it is not the function of an evening institute to organise competitive match play under the guise of instruction, nor to arrange ballroom dances in which the element of instruction is lacking.

Although there has been an increase in the numbers of students attending evening institutes and in the numbers who take part in physical activities, it remains true that only a small part of the adolescent population joins organised physical activities after leaving school. Many men belong to sports clubs of one kind or another and some already benefit from sound schemes of coaching and training as junior members of swimming, athletics and games associations. There are, however, large numbers of young people who take no regular part in games and sports and who are not attracted to the evening institute, and others who enrol but whose membership lapses after a few weeks. It might be profitable to reconsider the special needs and interests of these young people so that the value of continued physical education is not lost at an age when it can be most beneficial.




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CHAPTER EIGHT

The Formal Curriculum

THE GREAT majority of students in the institutes are interested in classes of an informal nature in which knowledge and skill can be put to use and improved. Outside the large city institutes, it is uncommon to find more than a few students who are anxious to undertake the formal study of a subject in the traditional academic manner. Perhaps this is less surprising than at first appears if we reflect again that for a long time classes in liberal studies have been provided locally by the responsible bodies for adult education - the extra-mural departments of the universities and the Workers' Educational Association. These classes have opened a door for many a man and woman who, busily engaged in earning a living during the day, has still felt the need to think carefully and systematically about literature, the arts, natural science and philosophy. Other serious students are drawn towards the larger technical colleges where courses at all levels are provided. There is now, in consequence, no strong demand for classes of this nature in the local evening institute. But some students who have discovered in leisure time classes an interest in learning may be stimulated to pursue some more disciplined study, and there are some who, once interested in an elementary class or a formal subject, find that their understanding and capacity to learn develops with practice. The principal of the evening institute can encourage such students to pass from informal or elementary study in the institute to the firmer and more substantial course in the technical college or arranged by the responsible bodies for adult education.

In evening institutes classes in English are, in the main, connected with the junior technical and junior commercial courses which are described in the next chapter; there are few for adults because the English themselves, once they have left school and passed the preliminary examinations for their trades and professions, make very few demands for classes in English. It is very rare indeed for them to ask for that treatment of English as an isolated language skill which is so frequently endured by the younger student. But it is probable that many people, given the right tutor in the right setting, would like to improve their speech, or discuss books and films, or learn the arts of public speaking, or practise their talents


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for short story writing, and classes of this kind might well be found more frequently in the institutes. Discussion groups are occasionally found in institutes and those which are successful owe much to the direction of capable teachers with a wide knowledge of affairs. Good discussion groups and successful courses in current affairs - of which there are a few - approach very closely to the kind of class commonly found in adult education, and are more likely to be well provided by the responsible bodies.

A few English classes are to be found, usually in the larger urban centres, especially in London, which provide remedial treatment for men and women who for one reason or another have never mastered completely the skills of reading and writing. Instructors are often drawn from teachers who have experience of retarded groups in secondary modern schools: great patience is needed to deal with individual difficulties of understanding and the instructors often go to great trouble to produce teaching material adapted to the older student. The personal problems of the students need to be met tactfully; such people are reluctant to disclose their limitations and often travel considerable distances to attend at centres where they are not known.

In a number of classes English is taught as a second language. In a large urban area there is usually a population of foreign visitors and residents sufficiently large to produce a demand for a class for those who want to learn English, or to improve their knowledge of the language. In classes of this kind the main emphasis is on the mastery of the spoken word, and at the same time efforts are usually made to give as much information as possible about England and the English. It is seldom possible to arrange for classes to be graded according to ability or knowledge of English and within one class the instructor often has to cope with a wide variety of nationalities, abilities and stages of proficiency in English. Much careful preparation is needed to ensure that all the students, whatever their ability or proficiency, take an active part in the lesson. When sufficient numbers allow the classes to be graded the advanced classes can become very pleasant social occasions, full of animated conversation.

Mathematics, technical drawing and science form a part of the many junior technical courses for young people who have recently left school, but it is unusual to find classes in these subjects arranged with any other end in view. Yet there is a very extensive potential popular interest in science; whether it exists in mathematics is rather more doubtful, but the immense popular success of "Mathematics for the Million" and the sale of such books as


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"Mathematician's Delight" suggest that there may be. This interest is fed to some extent by the newspapers, and there is said to be a large listening public for radio talks on scientific topics. Books dealing with popular applied science form an important class of non-fiction reading with a particular appeal to the young adult. So far, however, this increasing public interest in scientific matters has not evoked any response from the evening institutes. Professor Hogben's title, "Science for the Citizen", suggests an approach which an evening institute might attempt: the book itself would suggest plenty of suitable topics for the enterprising teacher to think about, and the daily newspapers will suggest many others. To deal with such topics with a group of people with no scientific training beyond that gained at school would be a difficult task, but a challenging and stimulating one. The giving of lessons would not meet the challenge; there would need to be experimental work, reading, talks by outside speakers and discussions. Do the teachers exist who could do this and would the people respond? To both the questions an affirmative answer is by no means certain, but the experiment might be well worth trying.

Classes in modern languages rarely set out to teach the language from the beginning. The majority are informal classes which rely upon some previous knowledge of the language which the student has acquired at school, or by travel. It would be a difficult task to attempt to teach a modern language in one or two evenings a week with little or no homework to be expected. When they are asked why they want the class, students invariably reply that they propose to travel abroad this year or next year and they want to brush up their knowledge of the language. French is always the first favourite, with German the next; Italian and Spanish are found occasionally, but classes in other languages are rare.

Within the framework of this chapter can be included those classes in which students are prepared for papers at ordinary level in the examination for the General Certificate of Education. For students who have left school such classes are normally arranged in technical colleges, but occasionally it appears more convenient to the students to attend the local evening institute. The majority of those who attend are young men and women who have missed their chance at school, but who have found an educational qualification necessary for further advancement in their work. Such classes are usually small, most regularly attended, and achieve a fair measure of success.


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CHAPTER NINE

Vocational Courses

LEISURE TIME classes are arranged by institutes very largely to suit the wishes of students and to enable them to develop their powers in their own ways. But when institutes have arranged classes intended to continue the general education of a young student, and classes intended to help him to earn his living more efficiently, they have usually tried to provide balanced and progressive courses of study. Early in the century, institutes in Lancashire and Yorkshire towns provided "grouped" courses in which there was a balanced combination of subjects to be studied throughout the session by attendance on two or three evenings of the week. The grouped course system for vocational work was adopted in London in 1913 and until late in the 1930s was the common pattern of organisation in institutes all over the country. It enabled the work of evening institutes within an area to be arranged systematically and undoubtedly contributed to the development of senior courses in technology and commerce. "Preparatory" courses were arranged for those who needed a repetition of work done in school, and "junior" courses extending over two years were provided for those who had achieved a reasonable standard when they left school, probably at the age of 14. At the end of the courses there were examinations set by external bodies largely controlled by unions of institutes, and success in the junior course examinations enabled a student to pass to a senior course at a technical college. The aim was to make the studies of the two years from 14 to 16 a definite stage of further education, and many institutes in urban areas were devoted exclusively to that stage. The courses most commonly arranged were the junior industrial (or technical) course for boys, which included English, mathematics and technical drawing; the junior commercial course, which included shorthand, typewriting and English; and sometimes there were junior domestic courses for girls. Enrolments for single subjects were not accepted from students under the age of sixteen.

Much of what has been described holds good to the present day. Although junior preparatory courses and junior domestic courses are now rarely found, junior technical and junior commercial courses are numerous, particularly in the industrial areas of the


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north and midlands. By and large these courses attract the middle levels of ability, the boy and girl of modest ambitions with enough interest in future prospects to look for some advancement; the dull and backward are seldom found in them. The students are encouraged by the clear connection between their course and advancement at work and they are spurred on by the examination at the end of the session. Ideally, within the subject framework of the grouped course it should be possible to provide a general education of value to the school-leaver and to present it in such a way as to attract and hold his interest, but in practice this is not often achieved. Even with regular attendance the time available for each subject in the session is very small, and the tendency of the teacher and the students is to cover as thoroughly as possible the least that is required for the examination. To attend the institute regularly for one or two years on three evenings each week asks for determination and purpose of no mean order, particularly in view of the increasingly numerous and attractive alternatives offered to young people of the present day, and the determined student is sustained by the knowledge that every minute of his time in class is contributing directly to the end he has in view. He tends, therefore, to become resentful of time spent on topics not specifically required by the examination syllabus, or not directly relevant to his vocation. Such an attitude can be changed by an inspired teacher into one of delight in the work, in the class and the course, but all too frequently the impression given in a class is that of a half-hearted and apathetic response to a syllabus treated in an uninspired, formal manner. English and arithmetic, particularly the former, have suffered from these circumstances which have made them so often compulsory subjects for unwilling students; too often teachers have failed to enliven the grudging attention of their students and although their syllabus has given them almost complete freedom of treatment they have continued to occupy the time with mechanical exercises of a type familiar to their students when they were pupils at school.

Many students enrol for junior grouped courses but fail to attend for the whole of the course. Such wastage is not, of course, confined to the formal classes of the vocational part of the institute: in leisure-time classes, too, students leave and others join during the session. But in leisure-time classes the work of the class and the teaching is much more individual and the departure of one student and the entry of another makes little change in the quality of the work in the class. In vocational classes, however, when a syllabus is being systematically taught, perhaps with the class as a unit, progressing from one stage to another, fluctuations in the numbers


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and composition of the class can seriously impair the efficiency of the work. Many young people begin a course without realising the sacrifices they will need to make to complete it. Others enrol for a vocational course at an early age before they have found their place in the working world and before they can see clearly whether the course will be of value to them; in a short time they find it is not directly helpful to them and they leave. Others find that the course becomes less interesting the longer they attend and their good resolutions fail.

At the present time the actual number of young people between the ages of 15 and 18 who attend evening classes is higher than it has ever been, but the number in the local institutes who enrol for grouped courses in vocational subjects is fewer than in former times. This decline in the grouped course is more noticeable in the south of England than in the industrial midlands and north-west where family tradition and pressure by employers still encourage attendance. In many areas in the south of the country the grouped course has disappeared and enrolments are taken only for single subjects. In many of the smaller rural institutes opened since 1945, no vocational work is offered at all. Such changes are not unexpected. Students have pressed to be allowed to enter only for subjects which they think will be immediately useful to them, and to be allowed to attend on fewer evenings. With the alteration of the statutory age for leaving school the concept of a stage of further education lasting for two years and preparatory to senior courses has lost much of its force, for many young people now leave their secondary school after the age of 15 and find themselves able within a few months to enter a technical college without any preparatory course in the evening institute. It is increasingly probable that the young man or woman with ability and determination to carry through a course of study will be found in full-time education in a secondary school or a technical college, or enrolled in part-time classes at the technical college itself, rather than in evening classes in the local evening institute.

In some ways the decline of the grouped course is to be regretted. There are still a great many classes arranged for girls who have recently left school and who wish to learn shorthand and typewriting. Although proficiency in both skills depends upon fluency in English, and although the majority of the girls have insufficient command over the language, they struggle along without any instruction in English. It is probably true that principals and teachers in evening institutes have yielded too easily to the demands of the students and they could, with advantage, impose conditions


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upon those who enrol in vocational classes, although the conditions need not be those of the grouped course. For instance, it is often clear that many of the young students who set out to learn shorthand and typewriting are very unlikely to achieve proficiency in both these skills in the time they propose to give to them: they may be persuaded by a firm principal to achieve a level of efficiency in one before they attempt the other. It is possible to say with some certainty the number of hours of attendance that will be needed before competence at a preliminary level can be reached, and it is possible to insist that the student undertakes to attend for that time. For both skills a command of English is necessary and the ability of the student can be tested quite simply by the principal or teacher on enrolment; if the numbers of students permit, the poorer students can be rejected and the others made to understand the need for continued practice in English. A class of selected students given suitable equipment and well taught is more likely to maintain a high standard of work and a high level of attendance than one in which many of the students quickly fall behind with the result that numerous groups have to be formed and several levels of work kept going.

Although many of the students in these junior vocational courses will be satisfied with the course provided in the evening institute, there will always be some who have ability and who need to transfer to the technical college at the end of their course in the institute. This is a matter which should be the constant care of the principal of the evening institute who, by maintaining a close contact with the technical college, will know what facilities are offered there and which of his students will profit by a transfer. He should be able to encourage suitable students to proceed and to ensure for them a kindly welcome when they arrive.




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CHAPTER TEN

Miscellany

TO MENTION all the kinds of class that may be found in evening institutes would be a very long task. The commonest have been discussed in the preceding chapters and such classes form the main part of the programmes of most institutes. But besides these there are many other classes in a great variety of subjects which are frequently arranged by institutes to meet the needs of particular groups of people. Some are started at the request of a group of people and their enthusiasm attracts others, so that the class finds a firm place in the programme of the institute. Sometimes the people do not find exactly what they want and the class dwindles away. Other classes are begun because there is a gifted teacher in the neighbourhood and under his leadership high standards of work are maintained. Then, perhaps, he moves away from the district, the class fails and interest in that subject again lies dormant.

Generally men's classes are confined to woodwork with occasional classes in metalwork, while a few men are to be found in the predominantly women's craft classes. An exception to this is in London, where the men's institutes in their thirty years' existence have developed a wide range of activities such as poultry, rabbit-breeding, horticulture and tropical fish, which have no counterpart elsewhere. It may be, as principals of evening institutes often assert, that the men are tired after a day's work and do not want to go out to recreative classes, whereas the housewife, who may have been in all day, gladly goes out to meet other people two or three evenings a week. It is true, also, that adequate teachers for all subjects are easiest to find in a great city like London, where communications and travelling are easy. Nevertheless, what is done in the London men's institutes has proved its worth and attracting power and might well be tried in other great cities.

In many rural areas evening institutes have only been started within the last ten years, after provision for vocational education has already been made in other ways, and they have concentrated rather more than the town institutes on the leisure-time class. Few classes deal specifically with rural pursuits. Principals say that horticulture or gardening do not attract men in villages because, in their own way, they know all about it. Bee-keeping is a not unusual


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class, often run in conjunction with the county farm institute, and indeed a vigorous farm institute can provide most of the classes that are needed in this sphere. There are occasional classes provided for young agricultural workers in farm machinery: but, if he is supplying classes for the young agricultural worker, the evening institute principal must take care not to duplicate what is being done by the farm institutes and Young Farmers' Clubs. Generally people in the country want the same subjects as people in the town - light crafts, women's crafts, music and physical activities.

In rural areas a great many classes are formed for small groups of people who are often remote from any evening institute. Sometimes the classes are attached to the nearest institute and the principal makes all the necessary arrangements; sometimes they are quite independent, the secretary of the group corresponding directly with the local education authority. In this way a number of classes are arranged, for instance, for the women's institutes. There is no question of these students coming to the institute; the instructor travels to the place where the group is accustomed to meet. Classes are often held in the afternoon in the village hall and many of the women's institutes meet in their own premises.

Local classes, dealing with local industries, hardly in a vocational manner, are not uncommon. There is boat-building in a Thames-side town, navigation in a south Devon fishing town, welding in a small midland town remote from a technical college. This kind of class is worthy of every encouragement. A common class in urban evening institutes is the owner-driver or car-maintenance class, consisting usually of a series of definite lessons; the instructor is often a local garage proprietor who may bring along cars and engines to illustrate his points. Another type of class, not so common as the last, is the radio or wireless class, generally taken by an instructor whose trade is radio construction or maintenance and who deals not only with the care and maintenance of a radio set, but often with the home building of one. Such classes naturally attract younger people of a mechanical turn of mind and may provide serious students for courses in the neighbouring technical college.

The provision of classes in youth clubs was started by the junior men's institutes in London and is now carried on by the recreational evening institutes into which nearly all the junior men's institutes have been converted. It is not unusual in other parts of the country for such classes to be arranged by the local evening institute. The subjects which are most successfully taken are physical activities, arts and crafts, drama and music and


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occasionally discussion groups and current affairs. The premises of the youth club are often less well adapted to such classes than are those of the evening institute, but it is argued that more will be attracted to the class at their own club. This is certainly true in country places but not so true perhaps of cities with good communications.

The provision of classes in prisons and borstals is a development which has taken place since the recent war. There are now classes in 64 establishments in England and Wales, the teachers being found by the local education authority. In large establishments a separate evening institute is formed and in some eight or nine places a full-time principal is engaged: for smaller places the classes are attached to the nearest evening institute. Subjects of instruction are much the same as in the normal evening institute except that in many prisons and borstals, especially the latter, there are day-time classes for the educationally backward; the teachers for these classes are normally found also by the evening institute. Some local education authorities also provide tutors to coach men for correspondence courses. Teaching in prisons and borstals is often a thankless work, undertaken in difficult conditions, but there are many men and women who have found in it a vocation and have been teaching in these establishments for seven or eight years.




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CHAPTER ELEVEN

Organisation

Premises

GRACIOUS surroundings can help to produce an atmosphere in which learning becomes a delight. The experience of community centres, of the educational services in war-time, and of residential centres for adults shows how much encouragement can be given to adult students by roomy and comfortable buildings, furnished in a manner which suggests an adult, cultivated mind. In such surroundings an able teacher can develop vigorous work with surprising speed.

Evening institutes are to be found almost entirely in school premises which are in use in the day time. Some of the buildings are new, some are old, but all are intended and designed for the use of children by day. By night they assume quite a different character and, judged as premises for adult education, most of them are far from ideal. For instance, it is often curiously difficult for one who is not a former pupil of the school to find on a dark evening the entrance to the building: the gate, so obvious by day, is overshadowed by night; the route across the dark and vast playground is uncharted and may include hazards; the entrance is by some unexpected door at the back of the building. Many authorities, by taking notice of such small matters, have succeeded in making their institutes attractive by night. A light at the outside gate, shining over a notice board, can welcome the student and serve as a sign to all that the institute is open. Doorways, steps, corridors and corners of buildings need their guiding lights if students are to move about easily, and both lavatories and cloakrooms need to be open and well-lit. In the classrooms themselves good lighting is needed if students are to work well for two hours at subjects such as needlework or metalwork. At the same time, the well-lit but uncurtained room brings its own problems by night; in the day time girls may be able to fit and try on garments in the needlework room without embarrassment but in the evening their elders will require some form of screen or curtain. Equally important to older people are a warm room and a comfortable chair to sit on. School desks are often not suitable for adults, and where there is no easy alternative


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some authorities have been able to provide a stock of adult chairs for the use of the institute. Often the evening classes are engaged in work which cannot be done on school desks with their small, sloping surfaces, and other tables are needed. Frequently a mere alteration in the arrangement of the furniture can help to make the room more suitable for adult use, and can alter its appearance for the adolescent who returns in the evening to sit in the classroom he has left so recently.

It is profitable for an authority to review, as many have already done, the accommodation in an area and to select that which is most suitable for use in the evenings, discarding the primary school in favour of the new secondary modern or the secondary grammar school. Even when a new secondary school is made available for evening use it may be better to use only one part of the building, concentrating all the activities into one section. A better spirit is likely to develop if the various sections are working close to each other than if they are isolated classes scattered about a large building. Some ingenuity is usually needed to find a central point where the principal can be found and where the students can meet and notices be displayed, but the effort is likely to be well rewarded. Often the most difficult task of all is to find enough storage space to allow the stock and records of the institute to be kept in a tidy fashion, and if the institute and the school are to live amicably together the greatest patience and understanding are demanded from both.

Principals

Many principals and teachers are members of the staff of the day school and in this way the small difficulties that arise from the dual use of premises can be minimised, and the very necessary good will of the domestic staff more easily retained. Throughout this pamphlet it has been assumed that the principal of the institute is a man well acquainted with the wide field of further education, one who knows intimately the hopes and ambitions of his students and is able to advise them on the best course to follow and to encourage them to reveal their latent abilities. We have thought of him as a man in touch with cultural activities of every kind in the neighbourhood, able to develop interests as they appear, and to sustain those that are well established, making his institute a lively centre of education in its fullest sense. We have implied that he is a man easily accepted by adults, yet one who can lead his fellow men. We have considered him as a skilful teacher of adolescents and adults, one who is able to help his staff in the craft of teaching.


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The principal is often the head master of a primary or secondary modern school, occasionally the head master of a secondary grammar school, sometimes an assistant master in a secondary school. When the institute is small, as many of them are, it is possible for the head master to know easily all the ways in which the institute can help the neighbourhood and to manage its affairs on this part-time basis. But the town institute, often with a thousand or more students, is not run so easily and the head master who attends to this in his spare time may never emerge from the detail of enrolments, fees and forms. Similarly, the man who is by day the head master of a large secondary school may find that, with the best will in the world, he has not enough time to give serious attention to the evening institute. Some authorities, for this reason, appoint only assistant teachers to be principals, but it may be equally unreasonable to expect from an efficient principal a full day's teaching in school. In some areas it has been found possible to appoint a principal to take charge of the evening institute and to teach for a part of his time in a secondary school. Elsewhere in both urban and rural areas full-time principals have been appointed, either to take charge of one institute or of a group of institutes. Where appointments of this kind have given the principal a reasonable chance to develop the work it has generally happened that there has been a considerable improvement in the standard of the work. Principals are almost invariably men - even though the majority of the students are women. The appointment of a woman as principal or as assistant principal can do much to improve the teaching, particularly in "women's subjects".

Teachers

In whatever form education is given its quality depends most of all upon the knowledge, skill and personality of the individual teacher. This is particularly true of the evening institute, for the students, in the main, come to only one class and know only one teacher. If the class is a successful one and the teacher satisfies the expectations of the student, he may be able to persuade the student to continue to attend, to attempt more ambitious work, to join in the social life of the institute and to develop whatever latent powers he may have. If the student is disappointed by the teacher he stays away from the class and whatever benefits the institute could confer become no more than a subject of speculation. The central problem of the evening institute is that of improving the standard of work within each class; very largely this is a matter of making the teachers more effective as teachers. In evening institutes teachers


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have often an unusual measure of freedom in framing the course the class will follow; they have the advantage of working with the grain, for the students come without compulsion to their classes; they have sensible, mature people to teach. But difficulties can arise from just these facts: an unskilled teacher may fear the freedom and grasp the nearest text book; the class may include people of widely differing ages, abilities and backgrounds; the students may have conflicting ideas about the course the teacher should follow. An able teacher who is interested in his students and accustomed to these conditions can teach well, and there are many who do so, but there are others who are less able and who spend such a short time in evening institute teaching that they are unlikely to achieve much skill unless they are given help. Full-time teachers in evening institutes are rare: of the 41,834 teachers engaged in 1952, only 67 were full-time assistants and they were all to be found in large city institutes. Of the part-time teachers, only about a third were professional teachers by day, whilst two thirds were people of some special knowledge or skill who, perhaps for a short time, become teachers in the evenings.

The number of non-professional teachers in evening institutes is increasing and this is all to the good, for those who have spent the day teaching children are not always the best to deal with older adolescents and adults in the evening. But the wide use of non-professional teachers brings its own problems, for many who are first rate executants of a craft are indifferent teachers and do too much for the student. Help can be given by the principal of the institute, and visits by the subject organisers of the authority are valuable. Some authorities have prepared hand-books for the guidance of the part-time teacher; others have organised short courses in teaching methods for them. All these are necessary continually, for each session brings into the institutes as teachers, many who are without experience or skill in teaching.

The greatest help comes from a principal who can inspire in his teachers and his students a proper pride in the work they are doing and a belief in its value. The students themselves have such a belief when they come to the institute, for they are grown men and women who come of their own free will to study the subjects of their choice. Even though they may choose a subject which is different from that which their teacher, not to mention any other authority, thinks they should study, they are generally willing to attend regularly and to work hard. The teacher's strongest hold on them is his ability to help them to accomplish their chosen purpose.

From efficient teaching in the class the student derives the satisfaction of learning successfully in the company of like-minded


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people. An institute which can develop this spirit among its students will develop a healthy social life and become a vigorous centre of education. Attendance will help people to develop social grace, courtesy, respect for their own appearance, respect for other people and for their opinions. They will find new interests and new friends; they will become eager to do, to make, to give and to help.







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Appendix

Table I. Attendances at Evening Institutes in 1952-53 related to total population

Table II. Evening Institutes -
Data relating to number and size for the year 1952-53

Number of institutes9,483
Number of students1,037,000
Average students pet institute109
No. of student hours42,819,000
Average student hours per student41
Number of teacher hours3,263,000

Table III.
Teachers employed in Evening Institutes on 31st March, 1953


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Table IV.
Summary of Class Entries

[click on the image for a larger version]


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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

SOME OTHER PUBLICATIONS

REPORTS OF THE CENTRAL ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR EDUCATION, ENGLAND

School and Life. A First Enquiry into the Transition from School to Independent Life (1946). 4s. 6d. (4.11½d.)
Out of School. The natural pursuits of children out of school hours and the provision made for them. (1948). 2s. 6d. (2s. 8½d.)
Early Leaving. Report of an Enquiry into the Problems of Premature School Leaving. (1954). 3s. 6d. (3s. 9½d.)
OTHER REPORTS
Report of the Fleming Committee on Public Schools and the General Educational System. (1944). 3s. 6d. (3s. 9½d.)
Report of the Committee on Maladjusted Children. (1955). 6s. (6s. 6½d.)
Future Development of Higher Technological Education. Report of the National Advisory Council for Industry and Commerce. (1950). 1s. 3d. (1s. 5½d.)
Education for Commerce. Report of the Sub-Committee. (1949). 1s. 6d. (1s. 8½d.)
Report of the McNair Committee on the Supply, Recruitment and Training of Teachers and Youth Leaders. (1944). 5s. (5s. 5½d.)
Training and Supply of Teachers of Handicapped Pupils. Report of the National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers. (1954). 2s. (2s. 2½d.)
WELSH DEPARTMENT

Reports of the Central Advisory Council for Education (Wales).

The Future of Secondary Education in Wales. (1947). 3s. (3s. 5½d.)
The Place of English and Welsh in the Schools of Wales. (1953). 12s. 6d. (13s. 1½d.)
Music in the Schools of Wales. (1953). 1s. 6d. (18. 9½d.)
Drama in the Schools of Wales. (1954). 3s. 6d. (3s. 9½d.)
The Curriculum and the Community in Wales (Welsh Pamphlet No. 6). (1952). 3s. 6d. (3s. 9½d.)

Obtainable from
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or through any bookseller.


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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION PAMPHLETS (New Series)

No. 3. YOUTH's OPPORTUNITY. Further Education in County Colleges. (1946). 2s. (2s. 2½d.)

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