Tuesday, September 11, 2012

today in my woodshop...

One of the examples of boxes submitted as part of book proposal
Today in my own wood shop I am taking photos for a proposal for a new box making book, illustrating the use of a new dovetail marking template in photos for a manufacturer, planning for tomorrow's CSS classes, and beginning work on an article for Fine Woodworking Magazine.

At one time, educators from all over the world came to the US to see our system of manual arts training. That was after Columbia University's Teachers College was founded to teach manual arts, and after Gustaf Larsson's Sloyd Teacher Training School in Boston had trained hundreds of teachers from across the US. Mr. W.C. Fletcher, headmaster of the Liverpool Institute, had written about American Schools for the Mosely Commission, 1903, which hoped to assist in the development of manual arts training in British schools.
"The proper position of manual work in our schools is a problem immediately facing us, and as more has been done in America than among ourselves in the matter, I paid special attention to her methods and experience."
Fletcher noted that American educators often separated the "manual training high school from the ordinary high school," a concept which he found "distinctly unfortunate for both schools,
"robbing the one of all chances of development along lines suitable to them, and leading to an exaggerated stress being put on its value in the other, besides very possibly tending to the development of class distinction between the schools."
When you isolate the head from the hands in learning, both character and intellect are diminished.

Sir John A. Cockburn described this connection as follows:
"they must consider the child first of all, and remember that the child was a little bundle of activities, a veritable dynamo, always charged to the full. It was the motor apparatus, the system of muscles, which really made the man, built up his intelligence and formed his character."
The great shame is that too few educators make the obvious connection. When children's hands are engaged, their hearts are also. We learn most easily and to greatest and deepest lasting effect when we learn hands-on. Test hands-on learning yourself. You will then no longer need me to tell you what is true of the relationship between the brain and hands.

Make, fix and create...

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