In the early days, it was noticed that the character of the individuals who passed from the halls of learning was enhanced by the manual arts. This alone should help administrators and communities overcome reluctance. Charles Edmunds, in an address to the Eastern Manual Training Association in 1904 noted,
"The man who can make his hand productive and useful respects his neighor's person and property. The reason of this is readily ascertained, and it is because he can do things and make things. He can profit not by the cowardly abstraction of that to which he has not title but from his own skilled labor, supervised and directed by an educated mind, he finds his own reward."No doubt most of us have at some point or another found our interests aroused, and having suddenly discovered a subject to be relevant to our own interests found learning eased. For example, I found it difficult to identify species of trees until I began using the woods from those trees, at which point the species and their variations became clear.
Tuiskon Ziller wrote in 1864, "Grundlegung zur Lehre von Erzihenden Unterricht" (The Principles for the Study of Education Instruction). He said,
"On the one hand, natural science, mathematics, grammar, history, geography, drawing, and singing should offer problems to the work-shop; and on the othger hand, practical experiences gathered in the manual work should make book studies the more easily learned."I realize that I am but one voice in this discussion of the future of American education. There are millions of voices expressing what a mess we have made of things. My own solution may seem simplistic in view of the enormity of the problems our schools face. But when in doubt,
Make, fix and create...