Sunday, February 26, 2012

Like a shade lifting...

The relationship between 2nd hand book learning (wissenschaft) and first hand experiential learning (kenntnis) is such that as one has greater first hand experience, the understanding available for book learned subjects grows. A member of our Jung study group (a professor at the U of Arkansas) yesterday mentioned the idea of a window shade opening. Those with limited experience, even when confronted with vast amounts of information through book learning can only perceive so much at a time and far less than someone with greater hands-on exposure to the subject material. Someone having experience in the real world may have formed relationships that Jerome Bruner and others have described as "scaffolding". In Educational Sloyd the method was to move from the known to the unknown, simple to complex, easy to difficult, and concrete to abstract, having started with the interests of the child because even without using the term "scaffolding" it was understood and agreed that real knowledge was necessarily based on something real, and to be useful and continually engaging, the foundation and structure of knowledge needed to be secure. The object was to engage the child in life-long learning.

These days materials for learning must be cheaply delivered, rather than delivered effectively at depth.

In examining American education, I am reminded of the Platte River in Nebraska, described as a mile wide and an inch deep.

In all this, I am reminded, too, of my own investigations of Educational Sloyd. When I left for Sweden, I knew Sloyd to be a system of woodworking education that acknowledged the relationship between the hands and learning. As my own shades of understanding lifted at Nääs, I came to understand Sloyd as a complete foundation for a system of education in which the whole child was educated at greater depth. In my continuing investigation and application of Educational Sloyd, there is hardly a day that passes in which the shades of that which might have been thought simple rather than complex and profound are not opened slightly more.

There is an interesting article in the Washington Post, US Manufacturing Sees Shortage of Skilled Factory Workers. The current situation is a direct consequence of our having failed to understand the values inherent in Educational Sloyd.

I will be on Paul Preston's Ed Talk Radio this afternoon at 4 PM Central, 2 PM Pacific, 10 PM GMT. It will be my 4th interview and I hope to tell about Clear Spring School.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

Laurie said...

"In examining American education, I am reminded of the Platte River in Nebraska, described as a mile wide and an inch deep."

An excellent metaphor, and (sadly) perhaps even more apt than you imagine. The Platte is not merely wide and shallow. It's also murky, meandering, full of quicksand, and extremely perilous. Countless pioneers made it to the other side of the Platte... but lost everything of value in the process.