Sunday, January 11, 2009
Bear with me as I attempt to explain
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time will know that in a tapestry woven woof on warp the same threads are revealed again and again. It is the same with this blog as I try to move through and expand an important concept. But I hope this post reveals more of the finished cloth.
I was reading William Heard Kilpatrick's critique of Froebel, which can be found on Google Books if you are interested in reading along, and wondering why it would be that Kilpatrick, a very strong advocate for Progressive education, would have so little understanding of Froebel's gifts and occupations.
I believe some of the answer can be found in my simple chart on the development of knowledge found above.
You can know and know nothing to do with your knowledge, and there are things you know and do which cannot be adequately explained on an academic level and yet that in no way denies the usefulness or truth of those things. The failure of Kilpatrick to grasp Froebel's concepts came from his own immersion in explanation rather than action. Academic understanding is only one step in the integration and utilization of knowledge. It would take a craftsman, a cook or a gardener or a musician to explain the difference.
The most profound concepts are often hardest to explain and the profound character of Froebel's gifts would be very difficult for those unused to creative manipulation of real materials to understand. It is also most difficult to explain those thoughts and things that are at the cutting edge of development, as were most of Froebel's educational ideas, which were too easily denigrated by those having no actual experience in their use. And many things are better illustrated than explained with words. That's where things like this simple chart come into play.