Saturday, February 09, 2013

The exercise of intuition...

Machiche, lacewood and maple
While schools teach to the test, make the efficient inculcation of knowledge their first priority, they become as a direct consequence, lifeless places in which effective learning fails to take place.  Leonard J. Waks, in his paper, Intuition, Teaching and Learning without Thinking, describes the relationship between the use of intuition and feelings of emotional engagement in learning. The intuitional state is one Mihaly Csikszentmihaly descibed as “flow” or that athletes have described as being in the zone and
"is characterized by “emotional buoyancy” and “a heightened sense of mastery.”
"In short, intuition often has a zestful, “feels good” quality that contributes directly to the value of life! That it feels good, however, hardly can justify reliance upon it. That would require showing that intuition also has instrumental value, that (a) intuition is more efficient: that it can produce results similar to those produced by explicit rational procedures with less effort, or (b) that intuition is more effective: that it can (under certain conditions) produce even better results than explicit rational procedures."
Waks goes on in his essay to show that intuition does have instrumental value at all three points, a, b and c, and if you are in doubt, if you've not had intuitional experiences to enable you to understand on your own, I invite you to read Waks examples for yourself.  More testing, more control from the top equals substandard learning for all our kids, by robbing children of the experience of learning and equally robbing teachers of the full experience of teaching by marginalizing their own intuitional engagement.

As to the value of woodworking education in schools, the assumption too often made by academicians is that when one sees the hands at work, the mind is not. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The box shown above was made to illustrate the chapter on color in the chapter of my new book using box making to illustrate the principles and elements of design.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Thanks so much, Doug. You are doing such important work.

  2. So the slips and knob are maple? The contrast makes them look even whiter than they probably are.


  3. Mario, Those do look surprisingly white. I was aiming at contrast and yet, it surprised me.

    Do you think I should have gone for a darker wood? My intuition was to use maple as I wanted to illustrate in this box, both unity derived from color and contrast.

    Thanks for noticing.

  4. Len, thanks for reading. Your essay on intuition is valuable and goes right to the point.

  5. Doug,

    I wouldn't change anything. The contrast is beautiful and the maple almost looks like ivory.