Wednesday, December 17, 2014

shape to fit, or fit to shape...

Gift number 7 with obtuse angle and two equal sides.
Today, I worked on Gift number 7, its variations and the chapter that will include it. Swedish Sloyd and Finnish Sloyd were both intended as means to extend the Kindergarten principles into the upper grades, whereas other forms of manual arts training were more directly concerned with supplying bodies to industry. To give a child some experience with various tools might make their transition to employment easier for them and for their potential employer. To give a child the capacity to shape his or her own destiny was a more noble inclination.

There has been a controversy since the earliest days of education, whether the purpose of schooling was to shape the child to fit societal norms, or whether it was to fit (prepare) the child to participate in the shaping of human culture. The concern with form was to begin in Kindergarten and the whole of the child's education was to be "formative."

Barbara, in the translation of I Sløjdsagen Et Inlæg is challenged as are all translators  in that a single word may have many meanings or interpretations. In the example above of instance, the word fit, my be active or passive. Benjamin B. Hoffman attended Salomon's teacher training in Nääs and used the term "formal education," meaning "formative education" as was used by Salomon. "Formal education" in the US has a whole different meaning, and the idea of "formative" has been brushed aside in the name of economic efficiency.

Hoffman and Salomon both meant "forming" the child's character as a whole person, capable of fitting into society, but also acting strongly within it. Dewey's progressive education was of similar purpose. Jacobsen noted that Danish education remained "one-sided," missing the mark of addressing the whole child.

I think my readers might enjoy going back to Kindergarten and spending a day doing what I just did... playing with gift number 7. Don't you think gift number 7 offers some lovely opportunities?

Make, fix and create...

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