Saturday, January 09, 2016


My Wisdom of the Hands program was mentioned in an article in Independent School Magazine, the quarterly publication of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Clear Spring School is a member of the NAIS through our regional affiliate, ISACS, Independent Schools of the Central States, the association of independent schools that grants our accreditation.  The issue of Independent School that contains the article is Winter, 2016, and I was alerted to the article by readers who had found their way to the blog by reading it.

In any case, the article is by clinical psychologist Wendy Mogel who asks, "Is Anxiety in Young Boys the New Normal." In this blog, I have brought up many times the damage we do to young boys in what has become traditional schooling. The article states, "Boys long to run errands, patrol distant fields, hunt in the bush... and if denied this opportunity trouble awaits." Comenius had said nearly the same thing in the 17th century and the most effective educational policymakers have spent the better part of three centuries ignoring what can be easily observed without a PhD in education.  John Amos Comenius, was considered the father of modern pedagogy (the science of education) and observed:
Boys ever delight in being occupied in something for the youthful blood does not allow them to be at rest. Now as this is very useful, it ought not to be restrained, but provision made that they may always have something to do. Let them be like ants, continually occupied in doing something, carrying, drawing, construction and transporting, provided always that whatever they do be done prudently. They ought to be assisted by showing them the forms of all things, even of playthings; for they cannot yet be occupied in real work, and we should play with them.
The most important point buried in Comenius' quote is the phrase, "now as this is very useful, it ought not be restrained." And the point is that our best leverage on boys learning is to make use of their most natural inclinations. There's a saying that you can't push a rope, but you sure as hell can pull one to very great effect. By ignoring the nature of boys, we create education that is destructive, ineffective and least efficient. But if we were to use their natural inclinations to our best advantage, schooling would become both efficient and undamaging.

What Mogel's article alerts members of the NAIS to is the fact, that our current model of schooling is not only ineffective as suggested by Comenius, it is destructive. And how would I know about that? I was one of those young men in an earlier time, who feeling squelched by schooling, left for school each day having hurled up my breakfast and with knots gnawing where nourishing food should have been. My own experience in the subject is "first hand." I made it through my own crisis in schooling with the help of a doctors visit to assure there was nothing physically wrong, and the counseling and support of my mother, a professional kindergarten teacher.

I could point my readers to a dozen of my blog posts on this subject. One can be found here, My Daughter Loves School. The odd thing is that educators have become more reliant on statistical modelling and standardized tests than on what they could see before their very eyes were they to look, and I find this to be disconcerting. Educational policy makers would rather sustain environments in which children must be drugged to cope, than attempt to modify a system that is torturous, ineffective and corrupt.

At school, I have been shaping guitar necks. In my home workshop, I have been applying Danish oil to boxes.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others, please, the opportunity to learn likewise.

No comments:

Post a Comment