Thursday, March 24, 2011

second leg

Yesterday, we made rock hound tools in the Clear Spring School wood shop. Tools and technology form one leg of the scaffold used to lift children to a higher level of learning. Today at CSS I'll make a presentation to the high school economics class on what it means to be self-employed as an artist or crafts-person, and what that means in relation to what's happening in the world. One of the jobs of the second leg of the scaffold, that of being a teacher/mentor is to offer a time-line and help students put their own lives and aspirations into perspective. "Yes, here are these tools, and here are a few of the many things you can do with them." In this case, I can use my own experience as an entry point for the discussion of economics.

At Clear Spring School, we are preparing for guests from the University of Arkansas to visit on Tuesday. I am in the process of cleaning the wood shop, and preparing for next week's classes. Clear Spring School was established in 1974 to explore progressive educational techniques. As mainstream education went one way, Clear Spring has held resolutely to the other. Now with education being at a widely acknowledged crisis point, we are hoping to take part in a wider conversation about how the hands take part in learning, and how strategic engagement of the hands can be the building block for greater school success. When I first became a craftsman, I had known only one role model for what a craftsman was and how intelligent work with the hands might give greater meaning in one's life. Now, perhaps one small school can make a difference.

Make, fix and create. The richness of our children's lives depends upon it.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that the visit from the U of A people will go fine. I also have no doubt that seeds will be planted when you speak about what it takes to be an independent craftsman.

Mario

Doug Stowe said...

Thanks, Mario. I'm reassured by your confidence. Clear Spring School is a wonderful thing to discover, which I'm sure they will also discover.