Thursday, December 25, 2014

A dedication...

Primary School handwork, 1914
I acquired an old book by Ella Victoria Dobbs, 1866-1952 at the suggestion of a friend, but the smell of mold is too much for me to read without it being treated first. The title is appealing, Primary Handwork,1914 and the author's dedication is priceless:
"Dedicated to the little children of America with the wish that all heir school days may be happy days."
Ella Dobbs, had become a one room country school teacher in Nebraska in 1885 and then obtained a teaching position in Pasadena, California in 1895. She enrolled as a student of Sloyd at Throop Polytechnic and became a faculty member in 1902. She was strongly influenced by Educational Sloyd and John Dewey and gained an advanced degree at Teacher's College in New York City, back in the day when universities were interested in such things as the manual arts in primary education. It is a shame that they are no longer interested in that direction for in order to best learn, children must do. In order to learn in a most effective manner, activity must be self directed as much as is possible. She states,
"The terms "self-activity" and self-expression" must not be confounded with the idea of letting the children do as they please in any random and purposeless fashion. If one were to start out to escort a group of children to a certain hilltop, it is quite probable that some of them would run part of the way. Others would walk in twos and threes, and these would change about. They would halt to look at things that attracted their attention. The leader would halt them to observe some interesting point which they might otherwise miss. Should any of them wander from the right path the leader would call them back, and any frail child would be helped over the hard places. Yet with all this freedom the group might move steadily forward and reach the hilltop in due time.

All progress up the hill of knowledge should follow a similar plan. The teacher should have a very definite idea of the end to be attained. The children should work with a purpose, and that purpose should be of such immediate interest to them that they would be anxious to attain it. They would work earnestly, and discipline would settle itself.
It is important even in these days that teachers think about such things. To read the book without the musty smell, go to Google Play, type in Ella Dobbs, and request to read Primary Handwork. It's free.

A friend introduced me to a new word, mechatronics, which refers to a combined field of mechanics and electronic technology. There are jobs abounding for those with skills at this point of integration.

 Have a happy self-directed and expressive holiday. We have cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. This is one of the only sunny days we've had in the whole month of December. May the season bring you creativity and the joy that comes with it.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:16 AM

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for you and yours..Doug you can read "Primary Handwork" 1914 by Dobbs here no smell least the aromas from the kitchen...