Sunday, June 02, 2013

Throop University

I had trouble sleeping last night, as I was thinking about more box designs, stimulated by my interaction with students... Just as my students could hardly wait to get home to their shops and try the new things they have learned, I am in the same boat.

Tim Holton sent me a .pdf copy of the first catalog from Throop University in Pasadena, in which Calvin Woodward was quoted as follows:
Dr. Woodward says: "A manual training school is not a school for the training of carpenters, blacksmiths, machinists and mechanical engineers. In a manual training school, properly so-called, no attempt is made to cultivate dexterity at the expense of thought. No mere slight-of-hand is aimed at, nor is muscular exercise of itself held to be of educational value. An exercise, whether with tools or with books, is valuable only in proportion to the demand it makes upon the mind for intelligent, thoughtful work. In the school shop the stage of mechanical habit is never reached. The only habit actually acquired is that of thinking. No blow is struck, no line drawn, no motion regulated from muscular habit. The quality of every act springs from the conscious will, accompanied by a definite act of judgment."
Would it not be a wonderful thing if all book learning was also an exercise in conscious application of will? Could a reintroduction of manual arts be the repair necessary for a renewal of American education? Sad to say, things are not moving in that direction. Can you imagine an education that led to action in which what children learned was not measured by artificial means, but instead was measured through their direct contributions to family and community?

I am flying back to Arkansas today, leaving my truck and tools and display boxes so that I can return and teach the week of June 10-14. My upcoming class is full with 18 students signed up.

Make, fix and create...

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