Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Three things.

If you watch children at play, you will notice two things, which leads to a third observation. First, they want to be doing things and they learn by doing so. Secondly, they want to be socially engaged with each other. So this brings us to John Dewey, who noticed that schools should not be a means of extracting children from society, but should utilize the natural processes of society in microcosm, to build student success.

When a child makes something in wood shop, it is not only to please his teacher, but to demonstrate important things to his or her peers, to receive their commendations and to please him or her self.

In other words, a classroom setting in which children are enabled to engage in group work, or a classroom in which children are allowed to engage in individualized activities that engage the attention of peers in a positive way, offer an ideal setting for learning. One-on-one tutoring is not as effective as group work, nor will lecture in large classes reach an optimal learning efficiency.

Human culture must arise anew within each generation. It is not enough that we provide a structure through which adult values are imposed. Get the ball rolling through activities that foster the growth of creativity and craftsmanship. You may then witness as children adopt human values on their own and shape human culture within their generation.

Yesterday in the wood shop, I had asked my students to help me by making pinwheels for an upcoming fundraising event. They made some, working together, then launched themselves into experimentation, taping sheets of cardstock together to make larger pinwheels. Then they asked if they could go outside to test them. I said yes. Interestingly, the very large pinwheels would not work if the students ran fast, as they would compress flat against the stick, but if they walked very slowly, they turned in the slightest breath of wind.
No one will therefore doubt that one boy sharpens the genius of another boy more than any one else can. – Comenius
That simple statement should explain the value of group work in schooling. As two girls were making large pinwheels, another began using the same technique of taping paper together to make a large gift for her teacher.

Today, I had my home school students in box making class as you can see in the photo above. Also, I've sanded boxes and have applied a first coat of Danish oil.

Make, fix and create...

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