Friday, April 12, 2013

Pedagogy of place...

The term pedagogy of place, mentioned in the video embedded in yesterday's post has particular significance for the future of education. As educators on the national level try to make every school the same, and force the imposition of standards, the standards themselves are a liability for the future of our nation and culture.

Many readers may recall that Sloyd was not, despite its detractors, a monolith of models, in that it was clearly stated again and again, that learning was to start with the interests of the child and exercised in support his or her relationship to family and community. Educators throughout the world were encouraged to adapt model series to meet the interests of the children and unique communities in which Sloyd was taught.

A pedagogy of place would lead each school in directions that best fit the children in their natural and cultural environments. A community like my own, which is full of artists would of necessity if it were true to itself and its place in human culture adopt a curriculum in which arts were at the center of education. A farming community (did you see the earlier post on farm school?) would use farming as the tool to help children become deeply engaged in learning. A school in a community with a deep tradition in fishing, and the boat building arts would make use of those arts.

The most obvious thing about modern public education is that we squander our most important available resources: The interests of the child, and the mentors available in their communities.  We have one of the most expensive and ineffective systems of public education in the world. By constructing artificial learning environments that actually isolate and disengage children from real life, we leave them disinterested and disengaged at the altar of learning. But that can be fixed. Engage children in doing real things.

Today I have an all day board meeting with the Clear Spring School, and then tomorrow members of the Oakland Art Museum will arrive for a shop tour. Some of my finished tea boxes are shown in the photo above.

Make, fix and create...

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