|At Zarrow Center, Tulsa|
The effort to put the hands to work in schooling to solve real problems in the education of scientists and engineers (and everyone else) is not in any way a new thing. Calvin Woodward tried to explain the intellectual values of woodworking in his book The Manual Training School, 1887 and offered the following quote:
"Unintelligent memorizing is at best a most questionable educational method. For one, I utterly disbelieve in it. It never did me any thing but harm; and learning by heart the Greek grammar did me harm, ---a great deal of harm. While I was doing it, the observing and reflective powers lay dormant; indeed, they were systematically suppressed; their exercise was resented as a sort of impertinence. We boys stood up and repeated long rules, and yet longer lists of exceptions to them; and it was drilled into us that we were not there to reason, but to rattle off something written on the blackboard of our minds. The faculties we had in common with the raven were thus cultivated at the expense of that apprehension and reason which, Shakespeare tells us, makes man like the angels and God. And so, looking back from this standpoint of thirty years later, and thinking of the game which has now been lost or won, I silently listen to that talk bout 'the severe intellectual training,' in which a parrot-line memorizing did its best to degrade boys to the level of learned dogs." --Charles Francis AdamsWhat I think you can see is missing from STEM is the richness of the past. When those who thrust themselves onto the stage of modern education do so in the ignorance of the past, and with an inflated sense of their own place in the the present moment, some important things are lost, one being the extensive, rich and persuasive language of those who dealt with similar issues before us.
Also, when we begin to understand that what we face is a long term problem that arises again and again, we might look at deeper underlying cause, which I think comes from a a misunderstanding of the role of the hands in the conceptualizing of ideas and in the origins of human intelligence. The hands are the source of human wisdom in that they have allowed us to make. To allow boys to make in school and at home is to lift them above the level of learned dogs.
Make, fix and create...
|My work in a museum like setting.|