- Meaning of manual training.
- The object of manual training is to make the movements of the hands automatic.
- For example, learning to type.
- This accomplished by constant practice.
- Manual training in social education.
The word “manual” comes from the Latin words for a “hand” manus. Manual works in hand work, and a manual worker is one who works with his hands. So manual training is “hand-training”, training a person to use his hands rightly in a particular kind of work.
Manual training consists mainly in constant practice, or the repeating over and over again of certain movements of the hands until they become what we call automatic. When we first begin to learn any manual work (such as carpentry, carving, spinning, weaving, typewriting, sewing, knitting, and so on), we have to think carefully of every movement, and do it with careful and conscious attention. And at that stage our hands are clumsy and awkward, and do not answer quickly to the orders of the brain. In consequence, the work is slow, and mistakes are many.
For example , watch a person learning to type. He has to remember where they key for each letter is on the machine and carefully pick it out, then strike it properly. Consequently he types very slowly; and sometimes his memory fails him and he gets confused and touches the wrong key. But constant practice teaches his hands to answer immediately to the direction of his brain, and he knows, without thinking, where each letter-key is, and his fingers find it promptly, accurately and without conscious direction. The work has become automatic, and the typist can type a letter correctly and at great speed.
All manual training must of course begin with careful instruction by precept and example. The learner has to know what his tools are for and how to handle them properly. But once this is learnt, the rest is all practice. In nothing more than in manual training is the old maxim true, “Practice makes perfect”. The workman must practice until he becomes dexterous, a word that comes from the Latin word dexter, the “right hand”. Dexterity means literally “right handedness”, and so comes to means manual skill, because people generally use their right hand for doing work rather than their left.
Manual training of some sort should form a regular p[art of school education, which is generally too abstract and literary. Children should learn such crafts as carpentry, woodcarving, metal-work, knitting and sewing, as well as the three R’s-reading, writing and arithmetic. For manual work is also mental work, and trains the head as well as the hand.