Sunday, August 21, 2011

In every nation

In the late 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th, it was widely known throughout the world that children needed to be educated through their hands. The following was from Senator A. Corbon in France, 1879:
"It is high time to understand the indications furnished by the instinct of children and to give as soon as possible satisfaction to their two-fold need of working with the hands of knowing the reason of things; that is to say, it is time to bring about a veritable revolution in the manner of rearing youth. If one wishes to follow resolutely the course of nature and the clear indications furnished by the instinctive dispositions of children, if manual exercises are considered as essential, they should have a serious part in education commensurate with their importance. In the end, it will be found that it is possible to shorten the time of class work in order to give a sufficient amount of time to manual exercises; and that this will be done not only without injury to the intellectual development, but that on the contrary, it will promote it. In the first place, manual exercises are not carried on without awakening the intelligence, and still further, it is doing violence to the active nature of the children to confine them three hours in succession, twice a day, before the school desk. They submit, but with reluctance; they are subject to constraint; they are ill at ease physically and morally. They would certainly learn better in two hours if the third were given to manual exercises... It seems as if the aim were less to develop the intellectual capacity than to heap knowledge upon knowledge in the head of children at the risk of exhausting the intellectual force. This tendency is most injurious, but we hasten to say that already many important men, educational officials, have perceived that they were on a false path, and are showing themselves disposed to make a change. Whenever the conviction shall become general that it is absolutely necessary at every stage to train the physical capacity, the mental faculties, from that day the program of studies will be necessarily rearranged. Ability to use the hands is hardly less important to the sons of the middle class than to those of the working class... Even literary men themselves, and all men whose profession is purely intellectual, would be fortunate in many cases to find relaxation for the mind in manual exercises and in executing certain useful works. This is for all men a natural need. It must be satisfied, and the level of the general capacity will be made higher by so much.
I will remind that Senator A. Corbon was writing in 1879, and similar views were shared in every nation. We've had plenty of time to get things right in education, but did not. Let's take another shot at it.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:32 PM

    So I hope you're back home and in your shop after your Madison adventures. And good for Lucy! She's on her way.