Tuesday, June 22, 2010

new formula

We tend, as a culture to denigrate the contributions of the hands and praise and value the contributions of "mind." And yet, when we begin to understand the hands and their integral connection to the exploration of material, the fabrication of concepts, the development of intellect, the shaping of moral values, their expressions of our humanity through music, and their creative fashioning of beautiful and useful things, we discover that mind alone is not what we had thought it was. And so, here is a more accurate working formula: brain+hands=mind. And of course the point is that once you realize that the hands are essential to the development of "mind," you also realize that hands-on learning is necessary in all schools, all subjects and at all levels if we desire our children's success.

Today I welcome many new readers who may have wandered here from the Fine Woodworking Email Newsletter which today featured my experiments using sawdust to extract oil from water. It can be read here. Woodworkers come in all shapes and sizes. Some work with hand tools, and some are more high tech. Regardless, we all seem to share a better than average sense of appreciation for hands, and a better sense of what they can do to increase engagement in learning. Most of us are saddened by the loss of hands-on learning opportunities for our children in school. This blog is about making a significant change in education by reintegrating the hands in learning.

The photo at left is an answer to where one might find sawdust... a question someone asked me in relation to using sawdust to help separate oil from water in the BP disaster. Furniture maker Dolly Spragins is working on a project to bring attention to the Emerald Ash borer and its effects on our hardwood forests, Rising From the Ashes. The pile of sawdust shown is destined for disposal and was created by chipping urban trees. That's Dolly in the photo.

At left, you can see that I have finished my small walnut chests of drawers.

1 comment:

toysmith said...

Have you ever read Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind? He was an early 20th century philosopher with ideas about "mind" and "intelligence" that I think you'll find quite appealing. It's been several years since I've read this book, but from what I recall this posted synopsis is accurate:

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/timewarp/ryle.html