Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Quincy Experiment

Today the kids from Clear Spring School in grades 1-6 go for their annual spring camping trip. It is part of the long tradition of progressive education at our school. In case you want to know more about progressive education, you might want to read about the "Quincy Experiment"  (1881---) which took place in the public schools of Quincy Massachusetts.  The success of the Quincy experiment led to the adoption of the Quincy Method in Chicago public schools, paving the way for John Dewey. The theory of it goes back to Comenius, father of modern pedagogy, who stressed that children should learn through the engagement of the senses, that we learn best by doing, that children have natural inclinations to be active, and that educators should not waste those natural inclinations, but rather utilize them by setting the children to creative tasks designed to stimulate their learning and encourage their growth.

I will be working in my own shop to finish and assemble a small cabinet in preparation for a visit next week from Matt Kenney, senior editor at Fine Woodworking. The photo above shows the dowel joint used to construct the carcase of the cabinet. At one time, I had thought the doweled joint inferior to other forms of cabinet joinery. Then I remembered seeing it in use in the making of some of James Krenov's cabinets. If it is good enough for Krenov, perhaps it's good enough for the rest of us to make a small cabinet able to last beyond our time on earth.  The groove at the back is used to house the back panel and the small mortise shown at the front edge (away from camera) is routed for the knife hinges to fit. These things and sanding must be done prior to assembly.

Make, fix and create.

1 comment:

toysmith said...

You may have already seen this TED Talk by an Indian toy maker - bringing basic science and math to school children by making toys and devices out of found trash.

http://www.ted.com/talks/arvind_gupta_turning_trash_into_toys_for_learning.html

He's definitely living the "make, fix, create" motto!