June 8, 1972
I was flattered that you used in an article by Peter Mehren a drawing of my electric motor showing how “clear, simple, well-labeled illustrations helped San Diego students learn about electricity and other mechanical sciences.” This motor, shown on page 11 of your Spring 1972 issue, and worksheets for it and twenty-two other projects were developed by Wm. Christie and me as a part of the WPA curriculum project. Most of these worksheets were published by The Industrial Arts and Vocational Education Magazine, a magazine of national circulation. Should you not give that publication credit for the use of the drawing?
The little motor has an interesting history. Thousands of boys have built this little motor in San Diego City Schools and it can not be determined how many boys have made this motor in other school systems as a result of their instructors having read the article in The Industrial and Vocational Education Magazine.
The WPA Project printed several hundred copies of the worksheet book and distributed them to San Diego schools and to many other school systems in response to their request. It is an interesting conjecture as to the total number built and still being built in the United States.
This motor was also the main student vehicle I used in developing integrative (would now be called interdisciplinary) instruction sheets and integrative classrooms. (There developments used the “discovery” method in teaching, a method that is just now coming into prominence in educational circles.) Accounts of these developments appear in the April 1935 and May 1937 issues of the California Journal of Secondary Education, and in my thesis for my M.A. degree (1934) at Claremont College. Also, the California State Department of Industrial and Vocational Education included an exhibit of these developments in its show at the California Pacific Exposition at San Diego in 1935 and 1936. Also, in my candidacy for a Ph.D. degree at UCLA, I had received the permission of my advisor to use my plans for an Integrative (Interdisciplinary) School as the basis for my dissertation and had been promised the use and cooperation of a Los Angeles school in organizing, curriculum planning, and teacher training for this kind of school. The advisor also thought some of the graduate students, who were teachers taking extension courses, might be interested in converting their classrooms to integrative methods and procedures.
Unfortunately, the War came along; I felt it was my duty to participate, so joined the Navy for the duration. That, of course, ended my connection with UCLA and my work in integration.
Byron M. Taylor