Tuesday, September 06, 2011

education... where do woodworkers fit into this mess?

The decline of American education and the loss of woodworking in schools are parallel paths. As more and more educators became convinced that all students should be continuously monitored for comprehension in reading and math, all the real proving grounds for learning have been pushed aside. Music, wood shop, the arts, PE and laboratory science, have been marginalized so that students can fill in bubbles on test sheets.

It is my hope that this blog will help awaken and mobilize us all to bring necessary change. And you can be a part. Do not hesitate to share what you know of the value of hands-on learning. And what WE know is this: The hands are the cutting edge of the mind. Engage the hands and learning follows. What we learn hands-on, we learn to greater effect because we have been 100 percent engaged while learning. What we learn hands-on is retained far longer because our full range of senses has been engaged in recording our presence in learning. Throughout American education billions of dollars are spent to keep children restrained in classrooms where they are bored and put through exercises that do not add up to real learning. And we can change all that.  Call for the strategic implementation of the hands.

Today in my CSS woodshop, the 7th, 8th and 9th grade students will be sharpening chisels and preparing to cut their first dovetails. Your assignment for today... Tell someone about hands-on learning. If you don't quite have the words for it, direct them to this blog. Be one, teach one. Your love of woodworking can be the means through which intelligence and character are passed on for another generation.

Make, fix and create...

3 comments:

literaryworkshop said...

Indeed, our educational system heavily favors those who learn primarily through visual and auditory means, and it leaves out those whose learning style favors kinesthetic methods. This has been pretty well documented at lower levels, and in earlier grades I think we're starting to see more "hands-on" learning, whether it's acting out concepts or handling manipulatives. Unfortunately, that movement hasn't penetrated the higher grades, and recent attempts at educational reform have (perhaps unintentionally) further discouraged kinesthetic learning.

Even in the lower grades, where kinesthetic learning is more common, it doesn't often translate to anything like skills-building. It's one thing to study geometry by cutting shapes out of paper (helpful!), but another thing entirely to study geometry by building a small piece of furniture out of basic geometric shapes.

literaryworkshop said...

Indeed, our educational system heavily favors those who learn primarily through visual and auditory means, and it leaves out those whose learning style favors kinesthetic methods. This has been pretty well documented at lower levels, and in earlier grades I think we're starting to see more "hands-on" learning, whether it's acting out concepts or handling manipulatives. Unfortunately, that movement hasn't penetrated the higher grades, and recent attempts at educational reform have (perhaps unintentionally) further discouraged kinesthetic learning.

Even in the lower grades, where kinesthetic learning is more common, it doesn't often translate to anything like skills-building. It's one thing to study geometry by cutting shapes out of paper (helpful!), but another thing entirely to study geometry by building a small piece of furniture out of basic geometric shapes.

Anonymous said...

It's sad that schools can't recognize how important learning by hand work is - artists create using their hands, tradesmen build using their hands, scientists test theories by using their hands in experiments. Yet kids are no longer allowed to explore their world with their hands and LEARN. I'm glad I taught my kids at home, and a lot of that was in the woodshop teaching math, geometry, proportions, and a host of other concepts that are easier taught by hand than by lecture!