|Bill's yurts are a 1 1/2 mile walk through the woods.|
The New York Times article, What if the Secret to Success is Failure?, points out at the very least that character is as much a contributing factor in success as intelligence.
On the other hand, when it comes to the opportunity to actually observe real (and "true") grit, I drove three hours north along the coast to visit Bill Coperthwaite who at 83 lives off the grid by himself in a three story yurt of his own design and making. The bottom layer of Bill's yurt is his work shop where he makes tools, chairs, spoons and bowls, not to sell, but to demonstrate, satisfy his own curiosity about how they can be made and used to teach.
|Bill's mill pond at Machiasport|
|The first layer of a man's life is his work. Same with Bill's 3 story yurt|
|Bill demonstrates the use of the block knife|
I took enough photos of Bill, his tools, his tidal pool, and his yurts that I could bother you for days. I will suggest his book, A Hand-Made Life. Through-out, Bill has been true to his interest in education and inside his guest yurt you can find quotations that encapsulate his philosophy of education and of life. Even today at 83 he teaches workshops to students, in making tools, crafting spoons and bowls and building yurts.
|A note left on the wall of Bill's guest yurt|
David Henry Feldman in his study of gifted and talented kids had noticed some of what had also been noticed by early advocates of the manual arts. Children a have a natural inclination to distinguish themselves through displays of earned excellence. They need not be driven toward it but simply allowed and encouraged to proceed. By making our children's learning contrived, narrow and unlovely, we diminish their opportunities and our own human culture at the same time.
And so as a whole culture, we wring our hands and wonder what to do to improve education. The whole matter is simple. Stop wringing our hands and put them to use doing some real stuff.
Today I will be at CFC helping a few students make boxes.
Make, fix and create...