Tuesday, May 19, 2009

cultivation of will...

From Educational Handicraft by T.W. Berry 1912:
The cultivation of Will is a definite aim of Handicraft teaching. Pupils are practiced in overcoming difficulties, and, consequently, the long-continued exertion of Will power develops a tenacity of purpose which manifest itself in perseverance in all School work, and later in life's work. In Manual training a child has to reach an end some distance off--the production of a perfect model. The attainment of this end requires patient, persistent, organised effort.

In character formation Handicraft is a powerful instrument. It encourages concentration of attention and strengthens patience, two very necessary qualities if success in any work is to be achieved. Furthermore, educational handwork gives delight, and this is a direct gain leading to satisfactory results. Pupils are sure to become diligent when work appeals to their interest to such a remarkable degree as experience shows is the case with all forms of manual training. Individuality is revealed, and this becomes an index of character. There is a fine moral training in aiming at a true production; no scamping over work, no equivocation, no evasion of faults, for these are discernible in a fixed form. Perhaps the main advantage from the character-formative aspect is gained from the fact that a child sees his or her own progress, and can measure the resulting success. In other subjects the pupils must await the teacher' verdict to know, for example;, if an arithmetical problem has been correctly solved, or a passage in Latin or French correctly translated, but in manual work the pupil sees at once, to a certain extent, whether the model is a true reproduction of a given model, or whether it is a correct representation in the concrete of the drawing placed before him.
Today in the Clear Spring School wood shop, we have had a playday with kids making projects of their own design, but relying on my assistant Bob and I to provide tools, materials and technical assistance. The kids really love the opportunity to be creative. Anna and Tara made tables and Anna says, she is going to keep on making tables all her life. She described to me the big dining table she will make when she is 12.


  1. Hi, Doug! I believe I've commented on yR blog before.... just wanted to mention that my husband and i vacationed in Eureka this past weekend, where we drove by your wife's library and marvelled! It looks like it just grew up out of the ground there on the hillside. If I could convert it into living space, I would!

    You are lucky folks indeed to be reside in such a fairytale setting!

  2. Converting our Carnegie Public Library to a private dwelling would be accomplished only over a whole town of dead bodies. It is one of the most beloved libraries on the planet.

    I'm glad you enjoyed your weekend in Eureka Springs. And, yes we are lucky and we know it.