Wednesday, August 05, 2015

an illusion upon which the school system rests...

In my woodshop, I've continued to work on Japanese puzzle boxes. With a few more steps, I'll be able to test them and see that they work. I've been gluing and shaping the last remaining parts, and the complexity of making these, tells me that the Japanese must have greatly simplified and refined their processes in order to sell their boxes at such a low price.

The first time you do something, there are inefficiencies involved. The second time, some unnecessary steps will be eliminated.In this case, these are my first and having been interrupted by teaching and by travel, they have taken far longer than I expected.

The image at the top shows the sliding lids having been cut to size. The image at left shows the dovetail slide having been milled into an end section and glued to the slider that allows the end to slide down and out of the way for the lid to be removed.
“A second major illusion on which the school system rests is that most learning is the result of teaching. Teaching, it is true, may contribute to certain kinds of learning under certain circumstances. But most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school, and in school only insofar as school, in a few rich countries, has become their place of confinement during an increasing part of their lives.” –– Ivan Illich, Deschooling.
I ask that each of my readers ask themselves about their own learning experiences, about how much has been learned in school vs. the amount out of school. I also ask my readers to examine the depth of that learning. If we arrive at the conclusion that more is learned outside of schooling and at greater depth, then we must also seek the efficiencies of real life learning, and avoid confinement of children in situations we know to be least efficient for attaining our goals.

Woodshop and the manual arts were a source of educational enthusiasm because they provided the opportunity to do real things directly related to the interests of the students.

Make, fix and create...

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