Thursday, September 15, 2011

Research proposal...

This is a research proposal... some children are offered hands-on learning and an education in the arts and music. They are the control group. Then you have the far larger experimental group which gets almost no hands-on learning (at home or at school), no wood shop, no arts, no music. If you were a parent which group would you choose for your child's participation in this experiment? The following is from the McCleans article Why your teen can't use a hammer, that I referred to in yesterday's post:
When the first apes climbed down from the trees to explore life on the ground some three million years ago, it was their hands, no longer used for branch swinging, that helped trigger our evolution. Hand structure changed, enabling us to perform increasingly complex grips. The conversation between hand and brain grew more complex, too. We advanced to the unique ability to visualize an idea, then create that vision with our hands. That’s meant everything from developing tools to imagining airplanes to performing open-heart surgery. So what happens if that all-important hand-brain conversation gets shortchanged at a young age? Can it be reintroduced later, or does that aptitude dissipate?

“We don’t really know,” says neurologist Dr. Frank Wilson, author of The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language and Human Culture. “That research wouldn’t get through an ethics committee, even though it’s happening on a massive scale in our homes every day.” We only have these uncomfortable clues, such as young people who can’t visualize how to best wield a hammer. Or teens who, despite years of unscrewing bottle tops and jars, can’t intuitively apply the righty-tighty, lefty-loosey rule of thumb.
And so here is the research nearly all American parents signed our children up for, few questions asked... No hands-on learning, very little in the way of the arts and music, and no chance of wood shop. And parents are offered no choice. The control group for comparison happens to be here in my small town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Come visit. What you witness here at the Clear Spring School will not require standardized tests to prove in your own eyes (and heart) the value of hands-on learning.

Make, fix and create...

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