Saturday, January 02, 2016

A teacher's guide

In the 1800's the political and religious elite in various Scandinavian countries had become alarmed  by the loss of agency within communities. The old things that peasant craftsmen had made for themselves for hundreds of years were being displaced by the import of cheap, well made manufactured goods. And so traditional hand-crafts were dying. Along with the loss of crafts, communities were being altered in their basic character. According to Gustaf Larsson's account, instead of making beautiful and useful things, they turned their attention to making (and consuming) brandy.

And so the introduction of Educational Sloyd was not only to increase the industrial capacity, but also to sustain Scandinavian culture, develop an ethos of craftsmanship, foster the growth of character and intelligence, and to enrich the lives of the people.

To bring Sloyd training to every school in Sweden required building a school in which teachers could be trained, so Otto Salomon, with the financial support of his rich uncle August Abrahamson, started the Sloyd teacher training school at Nääs. Then as Sloyd Training became popular in Sweden and other Scandinavian countires, students from all over the world began attending summer classes at Nääs.

It is a long story I've told many times before. The image above is one of the plates from Otto Salomon's Teachers Hand-Book Slöjd. In that book, he told what it takes to be a teacher of Sloyd, gives an overview of the teaching method, describes the tools required, the selection of appropriate woods, and goes step by step through the exercises upon which the model series were organized. The book is free at google play.

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

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