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Cook, Alice Hanson / Bavarian trade union youth

Leadership training problems,   p. 10 PDF (411.0 KB)

Page 10

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In each city I had the opportunity of working with youth leaders
in a week-end conference and in a number of special meetings, as well
as observing their work with a variety of groups in evening club
meetings, in factories, and in classes.  Time did not permit working
out a formal training program, but some of the most pressing
problems were discussed. A summary of these discussions and some
of my recommendations based on them, follow.
Under the present form of social organization in Germany, young
people have little opportunity of experiment in self-government.
The family tends to be an authoritarian institution in which the
father makes many decisions and has a very strong power of veto.
(One unsettling social factor is that so many fathers were war
casualties or are still kept as prisoners of war. The family
suffers from the lack of control which he would normally exert,
as well as from the personal and financial loss which his deatho
or absence represents.)
In school, the teacher's word is law, and most reaching is done
excathedra. Grammar schools are not equipped with laboratiories or
workshops where pupils can learn by doing. Learning is almost
entirely a matter of being told, learning by rote, testing the
learned material in examinations, and, where a auestion is in
dispute or doubt, of taking the teacher's word.
The 14-year old who leaves school to become an apprentice has
an even more drastic experience with authority when he is bound over
to a master for three or four years. Although he receives practical
experience and learns by doing, he has little chance to experiment
with methods or materials, and is constantly under orders and
directione. He learns in fact to be guided solely by thelexperience
and wisdom of his elders.

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