Tuesday, March 31, 2015

teaching is easy or hard

Teaching is easy or hard, depending on the circumstances. The structure of public education makes it overly difficult for both students and teachers. For instance, a perfect learning scenario would make use of the student's natural inclinations. So, activity would be called for. Activity makes messes of things, so in large groups is ill advised and unmanageable. Students enjoy engagement with each other. So group work would be called for. But group work is noisy and it's easy for groups to get off track, so in large classes, groups are unmanageable and ill advised. Students need to have their individual intelligences recognized and encouraged by their teachers, but the structure inherent in classroom learning rarely leaves the teacher with time enough to engage each student in the individualized manner required. That third point is the most tragic result of overloaded classrooms. Students do not receive the individualized recognition their intelligence deserves or their growth requires.
Making envelopes and wall pockets in paper Sloyd
Today at Clear Spring School I had my primary and middle school classes. I asked both classes to help me with paper Sloyd. For a Wisdom of the Hands fundraiser on May 1, I want to have a large bouquet of pinwheels to serve as the centerpiece in place of flowers, and for guests to carry home. So, I will do a few simple exercises in paper Sloyd and then ask my students to help make pinwheels. We've done them in the past.

It seems these days, I'm getting too little time in the wood shop, though yesterday I did manage to begin sanding business card holders and to assemble and begin sanding a few boxes. Today, after school and before a meeting, I'll attempt to sand more and hope to get the Danish oil finish applied.

I learned that Professor Matti Bergström died last summer (2014) at age 92. He was the one who came up with the concept of finger blindness which I have described earlier in the blog. He wrote of the electrical interconnections between the inner world of the brain, and the outer world of all things and of the mind's efforts to find order within chaos.
The value, significance of all this begins to become apparent: we evolve in order to unite the world we live in into a wholeness. ...This is why the unifying force, the collective principle ... assumes ever greater importance in our lives. It becomes apparent in our thirst for peace, accord, and harmony, goodness, a social and religious paradise, love of our fellow humans and nature and an ensouling of nature. ...Even in our science we wish more and more to be rid of one-sided analysis, divisiveness and disjointed knowledge to create instead a method of research that tends toward synthesis and holism, wholeness and cohesion, where values can coexist without battling each other. We increasingly want the selective forces to serve the collective.
My students were excited to make useful things from folded paper. In fact their enthusiasm was as great as is usual when making things from wood. My middle school students, too, wanted to make pinwheels even though most of them had made them in their earlier years at CSS. I had planned to have 30-40 pinwheels for the event, and I already have about 15 made thanks to my students. Please let me assure you that in wood shop each student receives the attention he or she may need to further his or her growth.

Today I asked my middle school students to each write something about wood shop. One wrote that she likes wood shop"Because you can make useful stuff and its fun." It is actually easy teaching wood shop because the students enjoy it so much. I don't have classroom management problems except when I have to tell students it's time to finish up and leave class.

Make, fix and create...

No comments:

Post a Comment