Thursday, March 24, 2016

one more day

I have one more day of class in Portland as my box making students finish their work. On Saturday, I fly back to Arkansas and prepare for classes at the Clear Spring School.

Froebel believed that "to become conscious of self is the first business of the child and the whole business of man." What if we as teachers, parents, guardians and promoters of wisdom and growth were to see children in their full dimensions, not as mere children, but as growing into membership of family, community, state and nation, and more? Assisting that unfolding of consciousness is the most important goal of education.

The following is from Susan E. Blow who founded the first public school kindergarten in the US.
The greatest mistakes in education are rooted in the failure to recognize and conform to the different stages of natural development. Educational theorists are constantly pointing out this error; educational practice is constantly repeating it. Notwithstanding all that has been said and written, we still make knowledge our idol, and continue to fill the child's mind with foreign material, under the gratuitous assumption that at a later age he will be able, through some magic transubstantiation, to make it a vital part of his own thought. This is like loading his stomach with food which he can not digest, under the delusive hope that he may be able to digest it when he is a man. It is forcing the mind to move painfully forward under a heavy weight, instead of running, leaping and flying under the incitement of its own energy and the allurement of its own perceived ideal. The attempt to force a premature activity of reason can result only in repulsion of his sympathies and the stultification of his —Susan Blow, Symbolic Education.
There have been a number of articles recently about how desperately misinformed people are, how little they know about science, geography, and/or any other subject. They have a huge number of deeply held opinions about everything, nonetheless. Much of what we see in the media regarding moronic political discourse, anger toward academia and science, the calling of names like leftist and socialist, the fixation in the media with characters like balloon boy, Joe the plumber and Sarah Palin are the direct consequences of the schooling that Susan E. Blow describes. Her words were written in 1894. Can it be that by neglecting the education of our children's hands, we are turning their minds to mush? There is a direct one-to-one correlation between the decline of the manual arts in education and the rapid rise of the American pinhead.

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

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