Friday, April 17, 2009

The Theory of Educational Sloyd

The Theory of Educational Sloyd is a collection of the lectures of Otto Salomon and contains a brief chapter on his life and the start of his school at Nääs. Pysical copies are getting expensive and hard to find but you can find a free copy for reading or download at Google Books. The book conveys a wealth of ideas about teaching and the value of Sloyd as a component of general education.
To Teach through the Senses, Especially Touch and Sight.

This question of teaching through the sense is very important. Pestalozzi says; "Instruction should be given, as far as possible, through the senses." When the senses are well trained, the recognition of a number of the qualities which a thing possesses is made simultaneously and accurately, at the instant that it is brought under the cognizance of our senses. The larger the number of qualities simultaneously recognized, and the more definite and accurate the cognitions are, the more perfect is the training.

It is a recognized fact that, although all the senses may be employed in developing the understanding, yet tactual and visual sensation play the most important part in this development. Hence Sloyd is a means by which the pupil derives great advantage from the constant use of his faculties of observation and perception, through both sight and touch. This he cannon do so well when he sits a passive and patient listener to the dogmatic instruction of the teacher.

In the former case every sense is quickened, and the pupil seems alert at every point. In the latter, one faculty--perhaps, more--is being employed, but the teacher cannot be sure of even one.

The touch of, or glance at an object should be sufficient at once to determine accurately many of the qualities which is possesses. How can this best be done? It is of the utmost importance that the child be trained to observe for itself, and not expect everything, or even anything, to be pointed out to him. He must discover all he can for himself, and the teacher should show nothing which in his (the teacher's) judgment the child can discover by the employment of its own powers.


  1. Doug

    Wholeheartedly agree with you on the Sloyd book. I'm lucky to have a copy which, once I picked it up, couldn't put it down.

    Plus kudos on your blog. I'm looking forward to working my way through your archives. And adding a link over at my blog back to yours. Your blog title alone sings!

  2. I love that Google books have made some of these old books available, but there is additional pleasure in holding original copies in hand.

    Knowledge filled objects, that have passed through other hands and inspired other minds before arrival to give shape to our own lives.