Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Day two of ESSA box making...

I finished day two of box making at ESSA. The students are all learning at their own pace. We talked just a bit this morning about how the brain works, and how we learn, and we discussed the design spiral, which intertwined with growth in technique leads to creative expression. This is a small class, which is allowing me to step off into student interests more deeply than I am able to venture with a large number of students. So today I spent just a bit of time cutting dovetails.

Otto Salomon talked about the arrangement of the model series used in Sloyd as follows:
"In choosing a series of models the best plan is undoubtedly to consider local conditions and endeavor to make it exactly representative of articles which can be used in the homes of the pupils. By this means interest in the instruction given is better aroused and maintained, not only in the pupils, but—and this is quite important―in the parents, and thus the bond between the school and the home is strengthened."

My students each have come to class with different agendas. One has a radial arm saw and no table saw, so the use of the table saw is somewhat foreign. Three others would rather find other ways than the table saw to make their cuts. We are adjusting my box making class so we are using other tools and other techniques. The best plan is as Salomon describes. Adjust the lessons to meet the interests of the students. Then "proceed gradually from the more easy to the more difficult, from the simple to the complex, and from the known to the unknown."

I am lucky to have a broad experience in wood working so that I can shift gears and provide the lessons most necessary to my student's growth, and enjoyment. If I were to try to force my students to learn just as we do children in school, they would tolerate little more than a few minutes of it. So why would we think what we do in schooling is practical for kids?

Make, fix and create...

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