Sunday, July 07, 2013

the wandering mind...

sawing dovetails by hand
I am getting ready for my box making class with the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. I have only 5 students in this class including my apprentice Greg who will also serve as my assistant and help me to watch over student safety.

Today I will take boxes and materials , and tools to school to supplement what's available in my school wood shop. This class will be like all my other hands-on box making classes. We will explore our own creativity, and the outcome of the class will be influenced by the student's own design efforts.

If I'm lucky, I'll make a few boxes, too, for the pleasure of their making.

I think it can be instructive for each of us to reflect on how we learn, and to be watchful of our own processes of thought as we do so. For example, I've discovered that my own mind wanders when folks are talking to me. If you've not noticed the same yourself, it can only be that you weren't watching.The wandering mind is essential for learning. When something is stated by another person, the listener must find some meaningful recollection in his or her own experience with which to connect what has been just said. That connection is the hinge upon which all retention and future learning is based.

Educational Sloyd used that hinge through adherence to the proposed sequences: Move from the known to the unknown, from the easy to more difficult, from the simple to the complex, and from the concrete to the abstract. And that all was to start with the interests of the child.

If you honestly reflect upon your own learning experiences and observe the workings of your own mind, you will discover the truth that was offered by Salomon in 19th century Educational Sloyd.

The wandering mind, is not just useful for learning  but also for creating. Should it be any surprise to us that as we engage children in schooling their creativity plummets? That as they sit in mind-numbing classes their creativity diminishes measurable year by year?

My box making classes attempt to reverse that process.

New dovetail marking template in use
The photo at left shows sawing hand-cut dovetails for a box. The photo at left shows my new dovetail marking template in use. Mark the center line of the pin and the scale allows you to widen or narrow the width of the pin on either side of that mark.

Make, fix and create...

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