Saturday, August 06, 2011

London, 1910

Conclusions of the Government Board of Education on "Manual Instructions in Public Schools":
1. We consider that handwork should be regarded as an essential feature in the curriculum of every elementary school, and that all possible means should be adopted to encourage it, although we see difficulties in the way of its being made compulsory at present.
2. We consider that there should be a continuous and progressive course of handwork throughout the schools from the infants' state upwards, and that it should be regarded as a method rather than a separate subject of instruction.
3. Although we recognize that the majority of existing teachers have had no special training in handwork, we do not regard this as an argument for postponing the introduction of this form of work. We think, however, that it is eminently desirable that a knowledge of handwork principles should be an element in the training of all future teachers, and that increased facilities should be available for giving such instruction to existing teachers.
4. We consider that the ideal system is one in which all forms of handwork should be taught in the schools themselves by the ordinary teachers, and that in schools of sufficient size, a room should be set aside for this and kindred purposes. At the same time we fully appreciate the valuable work that is being done in the handicraft centers, though we are of opinion that more might be done to bring them into touch with the ordinary work of the schools.
The foregoing might as well have been written today, but of course, in today's high tech environment, there will be millions who would deny the value of hands-on experiential education. After all, isn't having your fingers on keyboards enough? Hang around while I attempt to explain a few things. Or better yet, take some time to explore your own hands-on learning. Make something and see what you learn from it. Attempt to create objects of lasting useful beauty and see if you discover any intelligence inherent in the process.

Today I am on my way to Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Indiana where I'll hang out with my kind of people for a whole week making boxes.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Great post and I completely agree. I recently watched a video of Mike Rowe speaking before congress about this subject, it is a great video and worth looking up.

    Growing up I had shop class for middle school on but now it seems that it is up to us as individuals to pass on the craft. It is not that we don't have jobs that require skilled labor, it is that we no longer teach these skill and now rely on immigration to fill these positions.

  2. The credit rating downgrade has been a long time coming with its origins in the day we decided we need not be a productive nation. We would import everything we wanted from China and pay no attention to the values that a culture of making and creativity impart to a nation of people.

    It would be enough to make a man angry, but the anger would be wasted unless it mobilized us to act for the betterment of education for our nation's kids.