Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We are wrapping up our school year at Clear Spring, and I am looking forward to spending more time on the book. Today in wood shop, the 3rd and 4th grade students continued work on their woodblock prints, with the final printing to take place later in the week. The 1st and 2nd grade students had their last class for the year, finishing projects of their own design. One thing I noticed was the amount of verbal and graphical interchange required as the students described what they needed to complete their work. "I need a piece this big," they would say, while holding their hands apart. There is no doubt that we are more effective at communication when the hands and words are both involved in our efforts.

It is interesting that we often know things in our hands that we can't begin to say. For instance a contractor friend of mine told me that he often finds situations in which it is easier to do a job himself than to describe to an employee exactly how he wants something done. Just because you can't get your verbal expression to conform to to the full dimension of your thoughts doesn't mean that you don't know the right answers or have the right ideas.

Woodworking and crafts offer the means to engage children in active learning and active expression of learning, putting an end to complaisance and cynicism.

1 comment:

  1. Doug,
    I'm slowly learning to tell someone helping me what the objective is and let them do it the way they can figure it out best to do. I think those of us who work with our hands might struggle with letting others learn while making mistakes which experience has taught us to avoid. Your contractor friend has more at risk than me though, when his reputation goes into the work for hire.