Saturday, December 20, 2014
development of form
If you think of progressive education as a relay, Comenius handed off to Rousseau, Rousseau to Pestalozzi, Pestalozzi to Froebel, Froebel to Cygnaeus and Salomon (running side by side) and then Salomon to Dewey (even though they never actually met.) As has always been the case, most runners think only of themselves and their part in the race, and may be inclined to disparage the contributions of those who handed off to them. Maria Montessori, for instance, was critical of the performance of Froebel, even though her method was not independent from the foundation he laid in the invention of Kindergarten. Education as to form, was one of the important differences perceived by N. Christian Jacobsen between Danish Sloyd and Swedish Sloyd.
Swedish Sloyd, as taught by Salomon was deeply rooted in the progressive tradition launched by Comenius, in which children were to learn from experience, and adults responsible for their learning would take advantage of their greatest resource... the natural inclination of the child to follow their own interests in learning. To ignore those interests, in the view of Comenius would be o lay obstacles in the path of effective teaching.
The letters (in the view of most progressive educators) could wait until after the child had been guided to make intellectual sense of their own perceptions. And so for Salomon, and as he tried to reinforce through his lectures in 5 languages, Educational Sloyd was about the development of the whole child, and was part of a philosophical lineage of progressive education. And it was extremely important to him that his students (teachers) understood their own positions in the development of education. He knew that at some point, time would march past him, just as time had eclipsed Pestalozzi, and that educational sloyd was but a "casting mold" from which an even more modern and progressive system of education would emerge. It may be of interest to readers that Salomon kept a stone from Pestalozzi's gravesite on his desk as a reminder of his role in an historic progression. It may seem egotistical to some that I have stones from Salomon's gravesite on my own desk.
Some might wonder why it is important to understand the history of manual arts training. The purpose for me, is that we re-establish the lineage of education. Two points form a straight line, but if you do not know which point came first, you have no true sense of direction. Readers might discern a relationship between Pestalozzi's alphabet of forms and Froebel's gifts.
We had the Clear Spring School holiday program last night, and I marched for Save the Ozarks in the Christmas parade. It was amazing to hear the cheers of our community as we passed by, and to know that in our opposition to the power line, we do not stand alone. Now it is time to settle in for the holidays. I submitted a proposal to Taunton Press for yet another box making book, and plan this week to develop more chapters of the book on Making Froebel's Gifts.
Make, fix and create...