Thursday, October 29, 2015

does it make a sound?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear, does it make a sound? You know the question. I heard it posed three times yesterday.  Or maybe that was just twice. But when philosophers go off the deep end,  people can talk about it for years. The stupidity of the question is the presumption that if a thing's not been measured by man, it may not have any basis in reality. Tell that to the billions of years of planetary evolution upon which our own evolution stands. The same stupidity has infected education through the assumption that if learning has not been measured in standardized testing, no valid learning has taken place. And yet, we know students learned in schools and learned better in schools for years before our educational policy makers became obsessed by the test.

Today, the kids at Clear Spring School are excited. Prior to the fall break we have our harvest party in which students dress in pioneer fashion and develop games for the entertainment of each other. Ian and Lily, for instance, plan to have a magic act in which they will saw Ana in half using a large carpenter's saw from wood shop. These are not the kinds of activities that you can measure. What did he or she learn from that? You want me to be precise, or can we just flow as though schooling is a part of natural life in which children learn, play and grow just as human evolution has evolved from every tree that fell in every forest whether or not the sound was recorded and thence forgotten by human ears?

For some policy makers and administrators to have children's lives reduced to statistical data that they can manipulate to increase funding makes sense. Fortunately we seem prepared at long last to escape such foolishness. N. Christian Jacobsen talked in his book and lectures about finding the ideal teaching circumstance and placed emphasis on the necessity that schooling take place within a social setting.
For the child needs the influence of many, besides the closest person or people involved in bringing him up, and is affected by his whole environment, both living and inanimate nature which has and must have an influence on his development. Given that the child is created by and shall be educated for life within community, it requires among other things, to be put into social relation with peers during this education.
The Clear Spring School is much more than a school in which lessons are administered and measured. It is a social setting in which children learn and grow in relation to each other and to caring adults. Of course similar things can be said about most schooling. But if a tree falls in the forest, it does make a sound and have impact on all the life that surrounds it, whether it's been heard by man and thus measured or not.

I am making gradual progress in my boxes. The photo above is of cutting the angled tops of pencil boxes.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning likewise.

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