Thursday, May 12, 2011

Teacher appreciation week...

It is teacher appreciation week at the Clear Spring School, and the parents have planned various things each day to show teachers how much they are valued. Politicians seem to want to beat up on teachers, but most parents seem to know that most teachers are doing their best under sometimes difficult circumstances. There are often new orders from the top, offering new strategies to which teaching must be adjusted, and long time teachers have seen new systems come and go. I offer my thanks to those parents who have an appreciation of what teachers do.

So what about the strategic implementation of the hands? Can it be a simple thing, barely felt, that in time can provide the foundation for reformation? The idea here is not to offer something new from the top, but something that can deliver from the hands up. There are examples out there. Montessori, Waldorf, the schools of Finland and our own Clear Spring School. It is a simple thing. You note the relationship between the hands and the development of character and intellect, and allow that recognition to become the guiding principle in the development of lessons within every facet of education, thus allowing for the multidimensional growth of each child.

On the other hand, lecture based education may be the direction things will be going. In a highly competitive environment in which students have accepted full responsibility for their own learning, and in which other troublesome multiple intelligences have been successfully weeded out from the student mix, lecture can be the way to cover the most ground at the lowest cost. In this article Eighth-Grade Students Learn More Through Direct Instruction Harvard's Paul E. Petersen lays out the case for Sage on the Stage, stand up and deliver, lecture style of teaching. The idea is that you can cover more ground if the instructor just stands and delivers rather than developing multi-dimensional, project based cooperative learning opportunities. We know from research that the brain can't track all that long, but if it is cheaper and faster, why not? And then there is the matter of our humanity.

Today in the wood shop, Matt Kenney, senior editor from Fine Woodworking will be joining me in the making of bridle joint doors for small cabinets. I make, and Matt will take photographs to illustrate an article for an upcoming issue.
Be smart, be wise.
Make, fix and create.

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