Saturday, December 28, 2013

the chief agent in developing the mind...

Boxes hinged and awaiting linings
Yesterday I spent time assembling boxes and installing hinges, and magnets and preparing boxes to be photographed for beauty shots in the new book. The following is from James Langston Hughes on the origins of the manual training movement, as described in Froebel's Educational Laws for All Teachers.
Manual Training. — Froebel was the founder of the rational system of manual training. The world did not at first understand his views in regard to manual training. The most advanced schools have yet barely reached his advanced ideals. The utilitarian aspect of manual training has dwarfed the conceptions of educators until recent years in studying the subject. This view did not influence Froebel. He knew that what is philosophically true must be at the same time most practical. He placed manual training on an educational instead of an economic or industrial basis. He made the hand the chief agent in developing the mind. The use of material things to represent or express the original conceptions of the child affords the best possible opportunities for developing the child's creative power and executive ability, for co-ordinating its brain, and for revealing to it the fact that it has power to mould and use the material world around it. For all these ideals in regard to manual training we are indebted to Froebel. He valued the inner results of manual training in the child more than the outer material products.
Froebel was not necessarily the first to propose the hand as the agent of the mind, nor was he the first to propose the educational value of the manual arts. But he was of enormous influence in the development of Educational Sloyd and the recognition that manual arts developed the whole child, including his critical thinking capacity.

Yesterday on the radio, I listened to an interview with Carl Sagan (now deceased) about his interest in science and how to pass that interest along to new generations. He stated that schools have become largely irrelevant to the advancement of science. Learning science from books doesn't work half so well as from a laboratory, and besides, the vested interests are not interested at all in the development of critical thinking skills. Students having critical thinking skills might challenge the status quo.

 It is without doubt the time for concerned parents and citizens to take educational matters into their own hands. And what I mean by that is not that parents should buy their children the latest in electronic devices that do all their children's creative and critical thinking for them.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:14 PM

    No direct link to the post above but well to your general line of thougth.
    I just received for Christmas (the french edition of) "The new Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. Without entering in an endless debate of what dépends of the right or left brain, it seems education now tends to develop only the left part of the brain. If you didn't already read this book, you (probably) would like its foreword, introduction and first chapter.
    (I still have to read what follows)
    Best whishes for 2014.