Thursday, September 11, 2014

show me, then let me do it...

From Wooden Boat, Sept/Oct 2014
If anyone has doubts as to how people learn best, whether by being told or by being shown, I would be surprised, and yet we still make schooling primarily an act of being told.

This article, Signing, Singing, Speaking: How Language Evolved should clarify the issue. I think it unlikely that a single thing... gesture or singing, as a thing in isolation would be the sole foundation for the development of our language capacity. Even the matter of singing, without the rhythm established by the hands, would lack emotional depth, and it is a mistake to take human behavior apart in such an analytical manner, as we then miss the reality present in the whole of us.

Another article on NPR, This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Music makes the point that brain scanning is revealing the benefits of music on the development of language capacity. Educational policy makers would like learning to be simple. Shove it in like it's coal and the kids are bins of varying capacities. But children are multi-dimensional and reliant on a full range of senses that we ignore for the sake of false efficiency.

The most recent issue of Wooden Boat Magazine,  (Sept/October 2014) has an article about the Thames Waterman's Stroke, a distinctly efficient means of rowing a small craft through water. The article provides the history of it and makes a sincere attempt to teach it. This particular stroke was developed, and passed on, by demonstration generation to generation, through hands-on experience.  It was brought to the US where it influenced the stroke used by universities to propel racing sculls. The article in Wooden Boat makes a good read, and the photos would provide an oarsman a foundation for experimentation, but without the experimentation, the process of rowing cannot become experiential. Even with the best of illustrations and sifting though carefully composed text, it cannot be learned without doing. Music and nearly all else are the same.

And yet "educational" policy makers are content in American education to leave off the experience needed to actually teach, and for the students to actually learn.

My 5th through 11th grade students are all working on drafting and will begin learning sketchup soon. After a brief introduction to mechanical drawing, they want to make their own T-squares. Those we will begin today.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Maybe we just need to build that Whitehall, and show rather than tell...