Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The students will learn the connections of hands to head to heart. They will come to know themselves as they learn to create, to have patience, to know the benchmark of quality work, to see a thing through to the end and, ultimately, to discover the connectedness of all things.

These were the closing words of the initial proposal for the Wisdom of the Hands program which can be read in its entirety Here. The Wisdom of the Hands was created as a model program to demonstrate the usefulness of the woodshop as a tool for the instrument of all students. One of the things that set Sloyd apart from other woodworking education systems of its time was that it was intended to be "formative", having purpose in the lives of students far beyond their vocational choice.

Any woodworking teacher can tell stories of specific students and the growth that can take place in the woodshop. That Sloyd was created and systematically organized for the purpose of that growth set it apart from other systems of instruction, but also made it worthy of current investigation and emulation.

The following is from Hans Thorbjörnsson:

In Swedish language Salomon is using the terms (expressions) ”formell bildning”, ”formell uppfostran” och ”formella ma.l”. In The Theory of Educational Sloyd they are translated ”formative education” (education meaning both bildning och uppfostran) and “formative goals”. You are quite right interpreting the Swedish formell as general competence, character development, citizenry and responsibility. Salomon talked about the child’s development morally, intellectually and physically being promoted during sloyd work. For the mere sloyd skills (handling tools and material/wood) he used the terms “materiella ma.l” (material goals) and “materiell utbildning”. In The The Theory of Educational Sloyd the Swedish terms are translated utilitarian goals / utilitarian education.

Salomon looked upon Sloyd as belonging to general education. It is a means of formative education. (But he added that some mere technical skills are trained too). The important thing is not the product but what is happening within the child when he is sloyding.)

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