Monday, October 12, 2015


In my wood shop, I've been making inlay in preparation for making boxes. The following is from an earlier blog post (2009):

Friedrich Adolph Wilhelm Diesterweg was not specifically an advocate for manual training, but was one of the philosophical influences that Cygnaeus drew upon in the formation of the Finnish Folk Schools. Diesterweg was a prolific writer, with his most notable works being on the role of the Volksshcule (folk school) in the promotion of democracy. As with Friedrich Froebel's Kindergartens, the Kaiser shut his schools down, too. Progressive education and an intelligent populace are inconsistent with the aims of militarism and authoritarianism.

In Diesterweg's writings you can find expressed many of the key concepts that were adopted in Educational Sloyd. The following were some of Diesterweg's instructions to teachers:
Teach naturally! Organize instruction according to the natural developmental stages of the children. Start teaching from the pupil's point of view and direct his progress steadily, firmly and thoroughly. Do not teach anything for which the pupil is not yet ready and do not teach anything with which he is already familiar. Teach in a lively manner. Proceed from the familiar to the unusual, from the simple to the complex, from the easy to the difficult, from the known to the unknown. Do not teach in an academic way (in other words, the lecture-type teaching methods used in higher educational institutions), but simply! Always remember that you are aiming at the abstract (increasing the intellectual capacity) and the material (provision of the curriculum) at the same time.
 You will see in the quote from Diesterweg, Salomon's reliance upon his writings for the Theory of Educational Sloyd. In that specific quote you can find the 5 principles of Educational Sloyd.  Start with the interests of the child, move from the known to the unknown, from the easy to the more difficult, from the simple to the complex, and from the concrete to the abstract.

Diesterweg has been attributed as author for the command, "Learn to do by doing," a phrase that simplified what Comenius had said in the 17th century.
Artisans do not detain their apprentices with theories, but set them to do practical work at an early stage; thus they learn to forge by forging, to carve by carving, to paint by painting, and to dance by dancing. In schools, therefore, let the students learn to write by writing, to talk by talking, to sing by singing, and to reason by reasoning. In this way schools will become workshops humming with work, and students whose efforts prove successful will experience the truth of the proverb; "We give form to ourselves and to our materials at the same time."
Today in wood shop at Clear Spring School, students will continue making bows and arrows. Lower elementary school students will make African masks, and middle school students will begin making cherry cutting boards in the shape of Arkansas.

Make, fix create, and encourage others to learn likewise.

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