Friday, June 01, 2012

the education of man...

I am preparing for an art show in Bentonville, Arkansas where I will be selling my work for the next two days. So I will not write much of length. But Froebel's book the Education of Man describes his understanding of the manual arts in relation to human education as follows:
The debasing illusion that man works, produces, creates only in order to preserve his body in order to secure food, clothing, and shelter, may have to be endured, but should not be diffused and propagated. Primarily and in truth, man works only that his spiritual, divine essence may assume outward form, and that thus he may be enabled to recognize his own spiritual, divine nature and the innermost being of God.

The young, growing human being should, therefore, be trained early for outer work, for creative and productive activity. For this there exists a double reason, an inner and an outer requirement; an the former, in as much as it includes the latter, is of the greatest importance and eternal. The requirement is supported, too, but the nature of man as such.

The activity of the senses and limbs of the infant is the first germ, the first bodily activity, the bud, the first formative impulse; play, building, modeling are the first tender blossoms of youth; and this is the period when man is to be prepared for future industry, diligence, and productive activity. Every child, boy and youth, whatever his condition or position in life should devote daily at least one or two hours to some serious activity in the production of some definite external piece of work. Lessons through and by work, through and from life, are by far the most impressive and intelligible, and most continuously and intensely progressive both in themselves and in their effect on the learner. Notwithstanding this, children——mankind, indeed——are at present too much and too variously concerned with aimless and purposeless pursuits, and with too little work. Children and parents consider the activity of actual work so much to their disadvantage, and so unimportant for their future conditions in life, that educational institutions should make it one of their most constant endeavors to dispel this delusion. the domestic and scholastic education of our time leads children to indolence and laziness; a vast amount of human power thereby remains undeveloped and is lost. It would be a most wholesome arrangement in schools to establish actual working hours similar to the existing study hours; and it will surely come to this.
I think you can see from this that somewhere in the last century and more than a half since that was written, education left its true and proper path... that of engaging children to learn by doing. Put wood shop back in schools as we have done at Clear Spring School and you will see vast improvement in student interest.

This year the timing of the Bentonville ArtWalk falls in line with the annual Walmart shareholder's meeting. It will be a busy time in the neighborhood since Bentonville is also the home of Walmart. Join us in supporting art.

Make, fix and create...

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