ADVENTURES IN EDUCATION.
Educational activities became closely associated with the YMCA objective in its early days when biblical studies and theological lectures constituted an essential part of its programme. The sequel to such activities were the Exeter Hall courses of lectures which attracted large London audiences.
At the beginning of the century, a new pattern emerged in the form of commercial education. Most city Associations arranged classes for young businessmen in bookkeeping, shorthand, typing, arithmetic, the English language and other kindred subjects. London Central was looked upon as another Polytechnic. In Wales this commercial pattern of education was only sparsely adopted by two or three of the larger Associations. In the early 1920s educational activities were provided to satisfy the requirements not only of young men in business, but also of workers in industry and in a few years' time a policy of adult education was established.
It began in Wales in the last few years of the war period, when lectures similar in kind to those which had been introduced to YMCA canteens for H.M. Forces and munition workers were also supplied to Workmen's and Mechanics' Institutes. At a later period, when peace was established, various community societies, such as church guilds, public committees arranging YMCA Lectures, farmers' clubs, together with public libraries, made applications for YMCA lectures. Increased demands necessitated payment
for these facilities travelling expenses.
In a short time the panel of lecturers rose to nearly one hundred well-known educationalists from various parts of Gt. Britain.
The purpose of these courses of popular lectures was to provide specialists in any field of learning to give expression to their ideas and concepts and to do so possibly in a manner that the man and woman in the street could understand and appreciate. They also offered opportunities to ordinary men and women of being introduced to sources of information and knowledge which stimulated interest and created desire to pursue further concepts and theories which had been expressed in popular lectures.
This desire for knowledge was not something new to the people of Wales. Lecture courses were popular and when interest was aroused, further opportunities were available in a series of graduated courses or classes which were furnished by the YMCA in the Principality. The popular lecture was followed by a short course, of six lectures in one subject, taken by one lecturer who prompted discussions. This was followed by a Terminal Course of twelve lectures and students presented essays. Written work and prescribed reading were features of the one-year class of twenty meetings. The final goal was the three-year Tutorial Class arranged for the YMCA by the Extra-Mural Departments of the Welsh University Colleges.
The course, with associated themes was conducted by one lecturer, usually a member of the University staff. The level of work was that of an intra- mural University Course.
This educational process developed in 1925 among a group of older boys,
"Rivet-warmers" at the in Newport's Dockland.
Docks, members Starting with a
of the series
Temple Street YMCA Boys' of lantern lectures they