Today I watched my year 8 students shaping the parts for their footstools. The boys working with the sanding blocks that they made last week were patient, concentrating hard and absorbed in their work. I felt relaxed and could communicate easily with them. The student working with the power jigsaw and sander was anxious, needed more supervision and was much more difficult to communicate with.Richard has been blessed this year by having a voluntary assistant in the wood shop this year, putting things ship-shape and illuminating one of the challenges of providing hands-on activities:
The conclusion is self evident and the more hand skills I give the students the more evidence that I see. More learning can take place with a hand tool than with an electric power tool. I don’t advocate the total removal of power tools but I am reassessing the extent that we use them.
You cannot run a woodwork room, attend staff meetings, curriculum meetings, appear at school council etc and expect to be properly focused on your teaching without a reasonable level of support. Teachers these days need to be aware of the background of their students such as their learning abilities and welfare issues. If we are to do this well and provide them with a safe well managed environment we need support staff and adequate facilities.School boards and administrators often choose short term appearance of economy and success over long term goals of providing quality education. Any surprises there? It seems that such choices are the plague of humanity. We don't see very far down the road. Part of the purpose of this blog is to create a vision that carries the wisdom of the hands as expressed by the endless chain of human generations onward as shared growth and personal expression. We may be working on things in the isolation of our own wood shops and classrooms, but when we look up from the work and discover others doing the same things we find our loads lightened, our challenges diminished and our power in ascendance. Richard, keep up the good work.