Tuesday, February 22, 2011

creating a sense of the dignity of all labor

The following is from Otto Salomon's Theory of Educational Sloyd:
"From a social point of view... it is of vital importance that the ordinary teacher of the school be employed to teach this subject (sloyd), for he is looked upon with great respect by his scholars--in many instances with profound respect--and whatever he puts his hand to, the scholars will not be ashamed to do, but rather take a pride in doing."
Salomon had noted that artisan teachers of sloyd were looked upon with indifference and contempt by their academic peers within schools. And so, in order to convey a sense of the dignity and worth of labor, teachers of all subjects should be trained in hand and eye as well as for head work alone.
"Persons not manually trained, generally regard the products of manual labor at less than their real value. They think it much more difficult to solve a mathematical problem than to make a table. It is not an easy thing to make a parcel-pin or a pen-holder with accuracy, and when students have done these things they will be the better able to estimate comparatively the difficulty of making a table or chair; and what perhaps is of still greater importance, they will become qualified to decide between what is good and what is bad work, and thus avoid the misfortunes which befall the ignorant and credulous through the impositions of knaves."
Salomon goes on as follows:
"Words alone will not inspire this respect; hence we conclude that the best way to instill into children a true and proper respect for rough, honest, bodily labor is:
1st. By introducing such work into schools of all grades, in order that all classes of the community may engage in it.
2nd. By the teachers taking both pleasure and pride in doing it themselves, as well as delight in teaching it intelligently to others. For what the teachers appreciate, the children usually appreciate."
In light of all this, you can see what a big mess has been made of American education and American culture and economy. Teachers are no longer respected and the American worker is in the pits. The poor and middle class have been abandoned, while Wall Street Bankers, having been bailed out by the taxpayer are making record bonuses again. Dignity and respect for labor would be considered socialist principles by those who only care for money, but they are the ones who have made the mess of everything, including American education.

Today in the CSS wood shop, the 7th and 8th grade students finished making their travel journals and the 9th grade students did woodturning. After school,

I've been taking beauty shots like that shown at left.


  1. As a carpenter and contractor as well as a worker for over 40 years I appreciate your work tremendously, but value your words and thinking even more. I pass along your thoughts to many.people, but most of all to my two lovely grown daughters. Thank you for your efforts. You inspire.

  2. Mick, thanks for your kind words about what I write, and for passing the message along. One of the things I noticed about hand smart people is that we make the assumption that others may understand what we do without our having to explain it to them in words. It is right there where it should be obvious. But we have been wrong about that. We have to assert ourselves in every way we can. Those who haven't done it just don't get it, so we have a responsibility to tell them what they are missing and why it hurts.

  3. Anonymous5:28 AM


    On another whole topic, how tall is that jelly cabinet?


  4. Mario, the cabinet is 60 1/4 in. high.

  5. Anonymous2:14 PM


    Perfect proportions. It's a beauty.