Sunday, July 19, 2015
in the days of horses...
In any case, my cousin's father grew up in New York City and told of using sticks to roll iron hoops through the streets. He and his friends would go everywhere without parentally imposed limits and see how far they could keep their hoops rolling. The iron hoops were discarded from broken wooden barrels. My cousin-in-law asked his father, "Why the sticks?" "Why not just roll them by hand?" And his father reminded, "There were horses." Is it not true that we learn best and remember most from the experiences in which we have applied ourselves? You may also have wondered why one would roll a hoop with a stick. And yet the answer would be most obvious to those who had done so.
The point is that rolling a hoop with a stick can take you into all kinds of experiences that children today would never be allowed to have. They are given technological devices that keep them sheltered from reality, and ignorant of real life. What they learn most often comes only through the information provided through the device. And yet, if left to their own devices, children might come up with ways to set themselves apart and make greater meaning in their lives as shown in the photo above.
Even the notion that woodworking must be taught, is part of the problem. Folks think that in order for children to do woodworking, someone must teach them to do so, or that in order to teach children to do woodworking they must go through lessons of some kind and be provided a curriculum.
Yes, there is a right way to hold a knife, and there are things that must be remembered in order to be safe. But there is actually nothing standing in your way but to commence with things. The boy with a bike was in Trondheim in the very early 1900's.
So, what's wrong with American schooling these days? A student of mine addressed this issue years ago. He said told me that he "hated learning." The truth was that he hated being taught. Being taught usually involves being required to feign interest in subjects in which you have little interest, and it involves surrendering your life to boredom enforced under the control of others. Being taught is to exist in a framework of subjugation. Learning on the other hand, is liberation. The fundamental principle of Educational Sloyd is to start with the interests of the child.
Make, fix, create, and inspire others to do the same.