Wednesday, February 25, 2009

the expression of rhythm

I am grappling with the interconnected concepts of rhythm and pattern, inspired by a conversation with an anthropologist. In the conventional explorations of self, we tend to regard ourselves and others as physical specimens. We examine the structure and form, and yet, by ignoring rhythm and pattern we overlook the essence of our humanity.

When you make something from wood, you engage the rhythms of the body... sawing, planing, sanding and hammering are timed in conformity with rhythms, internal and unseen.

Unfortunately, in schools, we expect children to conform to structure that inhibits the natural expressions of rhythm. When constrained, those expressions take the form of clicking ball point pens, scratching on coarse textures, or drumming on desks.

And what are the physiological and cultural consequences? As I say, I am grappling with this. Perhaps my anthropologist friend will help. And I invite you to share your own thoughts.

When Kahlia is a horse, I look up in the woods and recognize her by her gait. Tyler is flying, a ninja, forked stick at his side. Where will he land and what evil will he slay? There are important rhythms we must explore in order to understand, teach and learn and they are most often expressed through the hands.

Today the 5th and 6th grade students will finish their anatomical puppets. the 7th through 10th grade students will work on book holders.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Doug, Everytime I read a post such as this I think back to my years in grammer and high school. I was a poor student except when it came time to take those apptitude tests. I always scored much higher then my grades would attest. As my fourth grade teacher Sister Monica wrote on the back of my report card. Bob would rather get up from his desk and spread joy and nonsense then do what is needed to get to the next level, i.e fifth grade. I suppose that and my constant talking was my expression of rhythm. After reading most of your posts I have now concluded that my education was mostly the opposite of what you are now bring to the forefront of education. "Getting the hands involved." As I tell the younger folks who shop in my store: "If the hands work the brain works so much better." I am 54 by the way, and my saving grace since I was 3 has been working with wood.

    Scrapwood Bob