|Making a lizard. They ask, "Can we take this home?"|
Yesterday I received the following note:
"I co-run a project in the UK, which specialises in working with the most difficult of young people through the medium of woodwork. We have an excellent history of great outcomes with our students who are mostly male and mainly 14 - 16 years of age.
"A majority of them are permanently excluded from schools or on the verge of permanent exclusion, or at risk of custody through their offending.
"Through the use of simple projects we watch their confidence increase and their 'anti social' behaviour decrease as they learn to recognise the tools and master their use.
"I have been fighting for a long time to get the value of learning through skills based projects recognised here in the UK and have been beaten down by the need for schools and colleges to meet government targets and thus making statistics more important than individuals. We have been plagued by a whole plethora of pseudo qualifications where students can get a 'credit' for learning the names of 5 woodworking tools, and hey we only have to show 30 hours of evidence to prove we have actually taught them this! They all know at least 10 tools when they arrive in the first place.
"Where can I find out more about Wisdom Of The Hands and start implementing and spreading it around the UK?"
Unfortunately, the only help I can offer at the moment is the blog and I do welcome visits from fellow teachers and educational professions interested in seeing the WOH program hands-on.
It seems to surprise folks that kids who may seem incorrigible can respond positively when put in creative relationship with real tools and materials. Children can readily tune out those who preach at them and try to control their lives. Wood either responds to the touch or you screw it up. It is a tough and revealing task master that children learn in time is not capricious or judgmental. It speaks the truth to children who may have been lied to and deceived and manipulated in ways we cannot imagine. In other words, wood and the power to make beautiful and useful/truthful objects can soothe and heal the troubled child.
You can see in the photo that I've been making some progress on boxes with veneered tops.
Make, fix and create...