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should be applied to the different subjects in which this method is used. Perhaps also some further investigation of the comparative results of laboratory work and demonstration and the limitations of both should be undertaken in the home economics fields. Such studies will require careful definition, control, and interpretation. It is recommended that the home economics services unite for studies of this character.
The individual conference method of instruction under which the student is largely thrown upon his own resources and in which it is the function of the instructor to provide the student with guidance in methods of attack and procedure rather than with subject matter, is used to a very limited extent in home economics instruction by the land-grant colleges. This has in the past been the method supposedly appropriate to graduate work but is increasingly finding its way in undergraduate instruction. Although as has been shown by previous pages of this report more than 50 per cent of the undergraduate courses offered in home economics may also be taken for graduate credit, less than 7 per cent of 1,188 courses offered are taught either wholly or in part by the individual conference method. The method is used at all in the home economies instruction of only 19 of the land-grant colleges reporting. It is not advocated that any large proportion of the work of undergraduate home economies teaching be carried on in this manner, but for students of special ability or unusual interests and for the accomplishment of purposes that can not be realized through class instruction, the individual conference method is commended to the consideration of home economics teachers and administrators.
Practical Experience and Home Economics Training
Practical experience is not generally regarded as essential to the success of professions or occupations in which students of home economics are specializing, according to reports received from 27 institutions. Among six institutions offering special training in applied or related art, but one requires practical experience of one summer's duration. But 8 of the 14 institutions offering special training for extension workers require practical experience. Among these, six give one month as the length of time required. But 10, or one-half of the 20 institutions offering special curricula in foods and nutrition, include practical experience as a requirement. Twenty of the 35 institutions offering special training for teachers of home economics require practical experience in the teaching situation as part of the preparation for this work. Six of the 16 offering special training in institutional management make such a requirement and 8 of the 16 offering special training in the field of textiles and clothing.
The three institutions offering special curricula in dietetics require some practical experience. There is obvious misunderstanding of the meaning of “ practical experience.” Many included what must be practice teaching and hospital dietetics practice under this head.
It does not seem to be considered necessary that this practice be done under supervision. Particularly is this true in the fields of applied art, foods and nutrition, teacher training, and general home economics. Under teacher training, but nine institutions report the practice work done under supervision; eight that it is not supervised; three do not report. Two institutions report practice work in foods and nutrition done under supervision; three report no supervision. The practice in institutional management and clothing and textiles, though it is not widely required, is generally done under supervision.
The student who is specializing with a view to preparing herself to go at once into highly specialized society, immediately upon leaving college, needs not only tools useful in her future practice, but practice and guidance in using these tools in particular situations. Methods can be better practiced in the actual situation where the student will employ them, than in the artificial setting of a classroom or a school laboratory. The establishment of home management houses has been a step in this direction for home management and general home economics. At best, it is somewhat artificial. It is highly desirable that home economics departments establish relationships with homemakers, commercial concerns, and other persons and agencies in order to work out a cooperative program which will include a broader opportunity for student practice under the guidance or supervision of persons capable of giving wise direction. This recommendation is not to be regarded from the standpoint of apprenticeship, but rather from the one of a mutual interchange of tools and methods. By practice in the real situation, the student gains much more than mechanical skills. By cooperation and association with outstandingly successful persons the student may not only learn techniques of management, but, more than that, he has an opportunity to observe a philosophy.
Home economics organizations in the institutions, home economics staffs, buildings, and offerings have no virtue of their own. Their purpose and value consist solely in their use in the education of students. It is possible, or has been attempted in preceding pages of this report, to discuss the suitability and standards of these instruments of instruction in a fashion more or less detached from the students themselves, but the ultimate measure of their usefulness is the human product. To attempt to determine the effect upon a national scale of home economics in terms of student measurement is impossible but some indication of the values of home economics instruction is afforded by the degree to which it attracts students (enrollments) by the character of the student body, by the number of degrees earned, and by the life occupations that graduates find. This section upon home economics students is devoted to these matters and to corollary considerations that arise from them.
It is a common assumption that the enrollment of women in landgrant institutions is largely enrollment of women majoring in home economics. That this is not the case in the 26 institutions for which comparable figures were available over a period of years, is shown by the graph on the opposite page.
It will be noted that in this group of 26 institutions the percentage of home economics majors to the total enrollment of women has declined from 22 per cent in 1920–21 to 17 per cent in 1927–28. It will also be noted that while the percentage rate of increase of the total number of undergraduate women has tended to decline during the years 1920–21 to 1927–28, the rate of growth in the number of home economics majors has declined even more rapidly.
It is perhaps significant that certain institutions show a very much higher percentage of home economics majors to the total enrollment of women in these institutions than is the case for the 26 institutions included in the graph. In Connecticut Agricultural College 89 per cent of the women enrolled are majoring in home economics; in Georgia State College, 85 per cent; in Iowa State College, 82 per cent; in Rhode Island State College, 75 per cent; Colorado Agricultural College, 70 per cent; Purdue University, 67 per cent; Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, 49 per cent; South Dakota State College and the Agricultural College of Utah, each 40 per cent; and in Oregon Agricultural College 39 per cent. All of the institutions showing very high percentages of women students enrolled in home economics majors are separate land-grant colleges, that is predominately technical institutions.
ENROLLMENT OF WOMEN IN HOME ECONOMICS MAJORS
ENROLLMENT OF WOMEN, 1921–1928.
This fact may be interpreted in two ways: Either the programs of these institutions are so limited to technical purposes that home economics is practically the only curriculum offered that appeals to women, or the home economics offerings are so constructed that they afford opportunities that in State universities would be met by distinct non-home economics curricula. Other evidence furnished by survey data makes it apparent that the institutions showing larger percentages of women majoring in home economics may be divided into two groups upon the basis of the application of these two tendencies.
The relationship of the number of home economics majors to the total enrollment of women in the land-grant colleges is intimately connected with curricular development and definition of home economics objectives.
The distribution of enrollments in various home economics curricula in 1927–28 presented by Table 27 for 43 institutions is of special interest in this connection.
TABLE 27.—Enrollments in home economics by curricula in 43 land-grant
The data concerning enrollments raise three questions: Shall home economics be developed as a special, highly technical type of education appealing to a relatively limited group of women? Shall it be developed as a medium that will provide a general college education for women more effectively than other curricula? Or shall differentiated home economies curricula be developed which will distinguish clearly between objectives appropriate to technical purposes and those designed for general education? Upon the answer of home economics and the institutions to these questions will depend in large part the distribution of the enrollment of women between home economics and other elements of the educational program.
The size of the student body in home economics in various landįrant colleges in 1927–28 is significant. In 41 land-grant institutions reporting for the year 1927–28, enrollments in each of 15 institutions were fewer than 100; in 17 others they varied from 100 to 300; in 8 others from 300 to 600, and in 1 institution, the enrollment was more than 1,000.
The largest enrollment is in Iowa State College, where 1,026 women hare chosen home economics as their major field of study. Kansas State Agricul. tural College reports the next largest enrollment, 516. The University of Illinois reports 404; Purdue University, 432; Michigan State College, 401; the University of Minnesota, 434; Oregon Agricultural College, 476; the University of Wisconsin, 308.