Friday, March 15, 2013

tic, tock... the other side of the clock

In the past I've written that children are not clockwork, that to lash them to the hands of a clock in their development of skills is to overlook the variations in how they learn and grow. For instance, we know that whether a child walks at 7 months or 13 is an acceptable developmental variation that has no long term impact on the future developmental potential of the child. And as children grow and age, the spread between them grows in various ways, the development of various capacities are not on a rigid timeline and anyone caring deeply about children would not lash them the hands of the clock when it comes to such things as readiness to read.

But lash them we do.

On the other hand, children have clocks of their own, that we either feed and nourish or neglect. The following is from Sir James Crichton-Browne, written in 1902—
"The nascent period of the hand centres has not been accurately measured ... but its most active epoch being from the fourth to the fifteenth year, after which these centres in the large majority of persons become somewhat fixed and stubborn. Hence it can be understood that boys and girls whose hands have been altogether untrained up to the fifteenth year are practically incapable of high manual efficiency ever afterwards. "The small muscles of the eye, ear, larynx, tongue, and hand have much higher and more extensive intellectual relations than the large muscles of the trunk and limbs. If you would attain to the full intellectual stature of which you are capable, do not, I would say, neglect the physical education of the hand."
He also said,
"It is plain that the highest functional activity of these motor centres is a thing to be aimed at with a view to general mental power as well as with a view to muscular expertness; and as the hand centres hold a prominent place among the motor centres, and are in relation with an organ which in prehension, in touch, and in a thousand different combinations of movement, adds enormously to our intellectual resources, thoughts, and sentiments, it is plain that the highest possible functional activity of these hand centres is of paramount importance not less to mental grasp than to industrial success."
See Action Clarifies Thought on this subject. Crichton-Browne continues:
"Depend upon it that much of the confusion of thought, awkwardness, bashfulness, stutterings, stupidity, and irresolution which we encounter in the world, and even in highly educated men and women, is dependent on defective or misdirected muscular training, and that the thoughtful and diligent cultivation of this is conducive to breadth of mind as well as to breadth of shoulders."
At some point in the current round of study of the human brain, they will begin to connect growth of various capacities in the brain with developmental activity through the muscularity of making while the making's good. We know that our capacity for learning with greatest ease is while we are young.

Today in the wood shop, I put hinges on boxes and and my apprentice applied Danish oil as you can see at left.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:49 PM

    Dear Doug

    I read this article in a doctor's waiting room, thought it would interest you.
    William Miller