“In schools we create artificial learning environments for our children that they know to be contrived and undeserving of their full attention and engagement… Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract, and distant, and the passions for learning will not be engaged.” –this blog as quoted in Shop Class as Soulcraft.
One of Educational Sloyd's principles was that of moving from the concrete to the abstract. The mistake educators have made is that of abandoning concrete work in schools to enter a realm of endless abstraction. The relationship between the concrete and abstract is more like a dance than a vector. Students never outgrow the need to be concretely engaged in learning. When we forget concrete learning, we drive children into abstraction. Some leave schools as trouble youth.
Getting an idea across to kids is more effective if I have a concrete model of what I want them to make. Their own creativity is spurred by examples of things they can make. Learning music is more effective if you hold an instrument. Learning botany is more effective if you hold a leaf and hug a tree. Learning chemistry is more effective if you work in a lab. Learning history is more efficient and effective in the long run if students actually visit historic sites.
Yesterday the Pope stood at ground zero in New York City and asked the world to pray or him. But we put children at desks as though that will answer to the needs we all share of their growth into mature human beings. Perhaps we should pray also for ourselves that we might come to a clearer understanding of the roles we must all play in the education of new generations.
The idea of education is too much that of managing children in a cost effective manner, rather than that of mentoring them toward our collective success.
Freidrich Froebel had offered this motto. "Come let us live with our children."
This blog is intended to suggest the way we may best do that.
Make, fix, create, and guide others toward learning likewise.