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V. FREQUENCY, TIME, AND LENGTH OF MEETINGS PLACES AND CONDITIONS Members of the Institute staff have conducted study groups in homes, churches, schools, libraries, department stores, and club rooms, under a wide variety of conditions. Sometimes meetings have had to be closed literally on the dot, because of restrictions in regard to the electricity used or the insistence of the janitor that he should not be kept overtime. Some of the rooms available were ideal for the purpose, while others were poorly ventilated, heated, or lighted. Some were much too large or much too small. In some instances acoustics were extremely poor or there were disturbances from activities on the other side of an insufficiently insulated partition. Conflicts with other community activities could not be foreseen or avoided. Epidemics of children's diseases or influenza were unpredictable. Occasionally Minnesota has an open winter, but more often blizzards, icy pavements, and severe cold affect attendance at meetings. Because of these factors, which could not be controlled or even classified, the findings reported in this chapter must be interpreted with caution. FREQUENCY OF MEETINGS It would be very desirable to ascertain the relationship between frequency of meetings and interest as measured by attendance. There have been arguments in favor of the weekly, the bi-weekly, and the monthly meeting, but no facts have been available. In general the interval between meetings was decided by the individual groups. In Duluth 75.8 per cent, or 69 of the 91 groups, met weekly, because there was only one worker and this plan was most economical of her time and energy. In Minneapolis 60 per cent, or 69 of the 115 groups, met every two weeks, and in St. Paul, where a very large percentage of the groups were sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Association, 36 per cent, or 53 of the 147 groups, met monthly; 88, or 59.9 per cent, biweekly ; and only 5, or 34 per cent, weekly. Very often, however , when monthly meetings were held by P. T. A. groups, the 123 124 PARENT EDUCATION regular meeting of the association was separated by just two weeks from the study group meeting. Of the 465 groups throughout the state, 237, or 51 per cent, met every two weeks; 112, or 24.1 per cent, met once a week; and 102, or 21.9 per cent, met once a month, the remaining 3 per cent meeting at other intervals . The percentages of attendance for groups meeting weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly were 62.1, 56.6, and 58.6 respectively. In the absence of complete information about the circumstances affecting the groups, these slight differences cannot be attributed to the interval between meetings. Even in Duluth, where 69 of the 91 groups met weekly, the percentage of attendance was slightly higher for groups that met less often. The leader believed, however, that the general excellence of attendance in Duluth was partially due to the fact that meetings were held weekly. Interest seemed to be better sustained and other engagements less often allowed to interfere when the meetings were held at frequent intervals. It must be recognized, however, that Duluth has an extremely well organized Parent-Teacher Council and that the city shows great loyalty to its schools and their associated activities. LENGTH OF SERIES Here again wide choice was allowed, except in Duluth, where the leader usually arranged a series of sixlessons. In the absence of a definite policy applied to all places during all years, only tentative conclusions can be reached. The usual number of meetings in a series was 5, 6, or 7, although a few groups met as many as 13 to 16 times. The average number of meetings per group in Minneapolis and St. Paul was 6.6, in Duluth 6.0, and in other places 5.9, with an average of 6.4 for all places. Table 17 shows the relationship between attendance and length of series. From Table 17 it is clear that the longer the series, the smaller was the average percentage of attendance per meeting, and the greater was the effect of withdrawals from the group on the average percentage of attendance. For example let us assume that of twenty members who enrolled at the first meeting of a group, two dropped out permanently at the second meeting, two at the third, and one at the fourth. Then the maximum attendance for each meeting after the third could be only fifteen. If the FREQUENCY, TIME...


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