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Needlework is one of the most valuable forms of handwork practised in schools. Many other forms are taught chiefly on account of the muscular or the intellectual training they pro-vide, the actual exercises performed in school being rarely continued in after life; while needle-work, besides having considerable value as a means of education, is also of the greatest prac-tical value after school days are over.
In common with other forms of handwork, needlework makes an appeal to the understand-ing and the imagination, as well as to the hand and eye. According to the character of the worker, the intellectual or the mechanical side of the subject will appeal more strongly. The intel-lectual worker may plan and carry out ingenious ideas in work lacking perfection of stitchery or daintiness of finish, while the mechanical worker may produce beautiful work by blindly following directions, or by copying. Needlework- her work. The relation of the pupil to her work should be that of the craftsman of old times rather than that of the specialized workman of to-day. The workman does as he is told with his own section of the work, but the originality and beauty of the finished article is not his business. The craftsman planned his work from the begin-ning, with a vision before him of the ultimate result of all his labor. The modern method may be necessary in the economy of industrial life, but it is certainly not education.
teaching in schools aims at producing workers who combine to a reasonable degree thoughtful and beautiful work. That is to say, in school, needlework should be a true handicraft, for which imagination and an appreciation of the beautiful are required, as well as understanding and prac-tical skill. Indeed, the patient, diligent work necessary for the acquisition of practical skill will be lacking if interest is not present; and interest springs from the emotions rather than from the intelligence, from the imagination of the finished work rather than from the knowledge of its details. It is beginning at the wrong end to keep children working at mere practice pieces until they have gained sufficient ability to make some article of real importance. The short time allotted to needlework in schools makes it almost impossible to reach any sort of perfection in stitchery, but more will be achieved if the pupil is so interested that she puts her whole mind into give good practice, and variety can be obtained by changing the shape, color, and quality of the material. A large number of small articles will be found more satisfactory than one large piece of work, each new beginning forming an incen-tive to better work.Other Details
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