Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Care vs. being good at.
My 8th and 9th grade students started work today on a trebuchet. They had been asking to make one and I agreed that if they came up with the plan and if all in the class was interested, it could be made in woodshop. I wanted the kids to give special attention to precision in the cutting of parts, so we had a discussion before starting. I asked them what someone would see and understand when they saw the quality of their work... The first answer, "that we're good," is not the answer I was looking for. Being good at something may imply that skill is a gift, arrived at without effort. That is almost never the case. More important, I think, is for one's work to express care. Is it "careful" and caring? Was it done thoughtlessly or mindfully with deep concern for the quality of the results?
Being good at something is often perceived as a stopping point in one's growth. Caring is an exercise for which there are no limits.
In the photos above and below, students are fitting intersecting parts, using a saw and chisel to make a lap joint.