Tuesday, August 23, 2011

the hands as they touch...

Anyone who has been a child, or had a child, or known a lover, knows the power of their own hands to make and hold important connections. What we touch may be at first startling, hot or cold, may be splintered and rough, but the hands have their ways of making smooth, touching our deepest most reserved emotions and bringing comfort, not only to others but to ourselves as well. In medicine, in health and healing of all kinds, in giving comfort to those who suffer, the touch of the hands offers extension of self to other, moving disparate beings into oneness and harmony.

It is such a simple thing to begin using the tools we each have dangling at the ends of empty arms to create learning environments in which our own deepest inclinations and aspirations are drawn forth.

Teachers are all returning to classrooms at the end of a long hot summer. This week I'm meeting with the teachers at Clear Spring School to plan our wood shop projects. But even without a wood shop, there are ways to make lessons hands-on and more effective.

Bring objects into the classroom that engage and illustrate. During brief lectures on hinging boxes in my summer classes for adults, it was valuable to have actual examples of the hinges to pass around for close-to-eye hands-on examination. In examining box making techniques, it was so useful to have some of my actual boxes for students to examine the intended results. In a study of soil sciences in universities, wouldn't it be better to have bags of dirt for each student to hold and feel during the professor's lecture? Get down, get dirty, feel real stuff. It is better to be grossed out and make messes than remain untouched. Students of all ages and in all educational institutions need to engage their studies and their aspirations hands-on. And so why should the education of our children rely on lecture based studies, when they can be touched so much more deeply by the real world?

Richard Bazeley, blog reader and shop teacher extraordinaire from down under sent this link concerning the use of gesture to teach foreign languages. And so the evidence is there if any American educators choose to grasp hold of it and put it to use. The images above and below are some of Richard's 7th year students' creative work.

Hold hands for this one. Our children need greater engagement.
Make, fix, and  create...

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