Thursday, November 26, 2015

regard for the value of the student's work...

Yesterday one of my students added a leather handle to her bow. As she began personalizing it further by wood burning her design logo on the front side, she informed me that the bow was the most beautiful thing she'd made in wood shop and that she was more proud of it than of anything she'd made to date. I could tell by her enthusiasm when the project was first introduced that this would be the case.

Making things and then making one's own marks to further personalize the things one's made are natural to the learning process. When work matters to the student and the student takes the work seriously, the signs of that are the student's interest in making the work clearly reflect his or her own personality. With that in mind, I am careful to demonstrate on wood other than the piece upon which the student works.

For the sake of comparison, I am reminded of my time in high school freshman English class. My teacher would grade and correct my writing assignments, each written carefully in cursive, and return them to me emblazoned with her red ink pointing out the errors in punctuation, and with no comment as to the intelligence and originality of my thoughts. I did not realize that I was supposed to take her comments and redo the assignments with her corrections in place. In my mind, she had simply desecrated my work and insulted my intelligence. And having been insulted, I simply threw the papers away as I left class. At the end of the semester, Mrs. Adamson informed me that I was failing and would not pass if I did not return my corrected versions of the papers, all of which I had thrown away. My only choice was to redo all the assignments, and to go through the process of correction, ugly red ink and all. And the point here is that student work should be respected, though it routinely is not. If you don't get it, read yesterday's post, the property sense.

This being Thanksgiving Day in the US, I will be busy making pies and will spend just a bit of time with lessons for my great niece Olivia in wood shop. As she is in Kindergarten in Florida, and as kindergarten is no longer what it once was, I hope to experiment just a bit with paper weaving, and peaswork.

Counting blessings and feeling thankful are important elements in the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. And I have many things to be thankful for. Among these are the opportunity for creative endeavors and friends interested in sharing my journey. Happy Thanksgiving.  We've 29 making days before Christmas. Make this a giving season in which the greatest gift is to yourself: dexterity of mind and hand.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the gift of learning likewise.

1 comment:

  1. OK Doug, you stumped me with peas work.

    I Googled it and found lots of 19th century scanned documents and understand it is a Froebel thing :)

    Wikipedia suggests that I request someone to write an article. Consider this my request!