Saturday, March 30, 2013

most difficult and most clear..

Who in their right minds might think for a moment that a system of woodworking education could offer anything of theoretical significance to education at large? That a method of woodworking education might offer something of theoretical value to the teaching of political science or some other subject? Now even university professors are "flipping classes" to make lessons less reliant on lecture and more accessible through hands-on, direct experiential learning. It is about time, that educators became more aware of the inefficiencies of class teaching. The idea that a professor can stand at the head of the class and efficiently mind meld his own internalized brain content to others is based on a complete misunderstanding of how the mind works. If Salomon had been taken seriously over 100 years ago, we would have a completely different system of education, and millions of students would not have been required to engage in insufferable learning. And if education were not made so insufferable, more and more students would go on and on in it instead of dropping out, and here we're talking about  students in high school, college, and even those seeking more advanced degrees.

When Salomon began his school for teachers at Nääs, he had the opportunity to observe a few things. When you are teaching something that has direct external application, like hand skills, you can see immediately whether your student understands it or not. You aren't waiting to measure with a test or pop quiz, or for a paper to be delivered to see whether your student understands the process and project or not. And in that an observant teacher learns a few things. Salomon had certainly observed that not all students learned at the same rate. Not all students could do the same things with any degree of ease. There were differences both in learning and execution of work. Salomon noted in his lectures and in the Theory of Educational Sloyd:
"... in class-teaching all children are addressed at the same time. A signal is given for all to stop and listen to what the teacher has to say; hence the train of thought of each individual is broken, and attention, instead of being developed, is arrested and destroyed; the child forms a habit of breaking off a train of thought, instead of persisting on its continuance."
Anyone who has paid the slightest attention to the workings of his or her own mind will have noticed that when a professor makes reference to a particular word or concept, the mind of the listener can (or must) be turned inward to make necessary connections, and those connections can (in an interested student) inspire questions, which then lead the students to stop listening to all that comes next as each question is formulated. So even he best and most interested students often fail to make full use of what is offered in class-teaching. Then, of course, the content of class itself must be designed to meet the learning needs of the slowest student, not the best and brightest. Can it be any wonder that some students are bored and checking their facebook pages while in class?

This difference between class-teaching and individualized instruction was the most difficult thing for educators to grasp. Then as now, they preferred that learning be simply spewed without regard to whether or not students actually received and benefitted as individuals from what they were intended to learn.

Salomon recognized that what teachers might learn in educational Sloyd would make them better teachers whatever they attempted to teach. With regard to individualized rather than class instruction, Salomon noted: "The introduction of Sloyd will be an introduction of true educational methods, which teacher may adopt in the teaching of other subjects." Sadly, most did not.

In any case, it is a good thing to observe learning in your own hands, and take note of the mind as well. Salomon had observed a few things that educators at large either ignored or allowed to go to waste and our current system of public education suffers for it.

Randall sent the following for your reading enjoyment, What being a handyman has taught me about male insecurity.

Make, fix and create...

No comments:

Post a Comment