Tuesday, January 20, 2015

warp and weft, classroom and community...

In a tribal setting, or in a small community, people learn to have a particular expertise. For example, as a resident of Eureka Springs, my focus has been on wood working and education. Earlier in my life, I was the go-to guy if you wanted to have a door made, or a piece of furniture made for your home. The image I held dear was that of the small town craftsman in a community of craftsmen with each having areas of special expertise upon which the whole of community was reliant.

I have written before about linsey-woolsey, a coarse homespun fabric made of linen and wool. The linen provides the strength of the material, and wool provides the warmth of it, and communities are like fabric.You may have heard the phrase, "the fabric of the community." Some folks are woven deeply into the warp and weft. Some are placed like patches on the surface, poorly integrated and will be sloughed off in time. Some never reach a point of integration, for some reason or another. I can give specific examples if you like.

Part of the challenge of education is helping kids to know how they fit in. Learning in Depth is a program that helps children identify their own areas of interest and expertise. For instance one of my students was interested in dinosaurs from pre-school on. At public elementary school his teacher called his mom and told her, "I'm trying to get Wilson to stop drawing dinosaurs all the time." So the mother pulled him out of school to study at home. The stupidity of squelching the child's natural interests and inclinations would have been a grave mistake. When Wilson was looking for a university, he visited at Yale, and attended a lecture on dinosaurs. He learned that he already knew more than was being offered in the class.

Please enjoy the video above. The boy points out something that we should all remember. Crafting is research and a form of exploration through which expertise is developed.

Make, fix and create...

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