Sunday, March 11, 2012

Individualized creative learning...

The Clear Spring Fling Auction last night was a tremendous success. There were more people than I had even seen before at a Clear Spring School fundraising event. The Rogue's Castle is an impressive place with a million dollar view over Table Rock Lake, and many local craftsmen were involved in its construction. The owner told me that he never understood the meaning and importance of algebra and mathematics before he became hands-on engaged in their practical use through construction. He said that his own experience building Rogue's Castle helped him understand the importance of the Clear Spring School's hands-on hearts engaged learning style.

The original Latin root of the word educate was "to draw forth." The suggestion is that there is something present within the child that is to be released or expressed from within. We know that fostering creativity is important, and yet, traditional classroom methods take a severe toll on individual creativity and confidence. Traditional classroom teaching proposes singular correct answers in the minds of the students who are then tested to see if those singular answers have taken root. An alternate education that draws forth from the child unique expressions of creative and imaginative problem solving would not ask for uniform correct answers, but for solutions to be proposed and tested that are as diverse and numerous as are the students in the class.

And so the challenge for education becomes that of establishing a method and model in which each child is individually engaged and offered the opportunity and encouragement to express from within as well as to learn from without.

Charles H. Ham in his 1880s book Mind and Hand, had proposed that schools become workshops and laboratories in which ideas are explored and put to test through direct making of useful, and beautiful things. I have become even more excited about the Clear Spring School as we continue to move closer toward that more meaningful model for American education.

According to MetLife's Survey of the American Teacher teacher satisfaction is at its lowest point since 1989, with just 44 percent of teachers reporting themselves to be very satisfied. The report found that the economy and economic inequality have a strong effect on schools, teachers and students. It seems American education is in need of a new model that recognizes the importance of teachers and engages them wholeheartedly in their work.

I want to extend my congratulations and personal thanks to all those who worked so hard to make last night's Clear Spring Fling such a success.

Make, fix and create...

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