Sunday, March 06, 2016

the "sub-normal child"

It was always easier to get educators and policy makers to see the value of manual arts for the "sub-normal child." Smart kids on the other hand, are expected to escape into a more surreal  or esoteric realm. The following is from Robert Keable Row, The Educational Meaning of the Manual Arts and Industries:
As regards intellect, the most obvious symptom of feeble-mindedness is the lack of the power of attention. Now, it has been frequently observed that some form of manual occupation, the manipulation of materials to some definite end, is the best means of developing the power of attention in the sub-normal child. When a child can be led through some manual work in which he takes an interest, to regular oft-repeated experiences of this kind, day in and day out, he cannot fail to give attention and to develop a power and a habit of attention that carries over to other interests and activities. The reason is that the sensori-motor experiences give a body of images, related and associated, which become the raw material of constructive imagination, conception, judgment, and reason. From the point of view of his intellectual development, therefore, the best that can be done for the sub-normal child is to give him extensive training in various motor activities, including manual arts and industries. If the work provided appeals to him as worth while for its own sake so much the better. But if he seems indifferent to all projects some indirect interest should be appealed to.

Here again the probable future of the individual emphasizes the value of this kind of training, for, if the sub-normal child is ever to become independent, self-reliant, and self-sustaining it will probably be through some form of manual activity. – Robert Keable Row.
It has been more of a challenge to get educators and policy makers to understand the role of the manual arts in the cultivation of intelligence among those who are assumed to have higher than normal capacities. These policy makers appear to have made the false assumption that the hands, work with the hands, and learning through the hands is unnecessary, and is to be escaped as students journey into abstraction. But if they were to try to do real things with their hands they might learn a few things about the intelligence required to do so, and the value of it. Please watch John Cleese's hands as he explains.

Some smart people would be enormously discouraged each day by the  number of things they cannot do, were they not liberated from their sense of ineptitude by their assumption that those things are beneath them and are only to be done by those who are of lesser intellect. On the other hand, those things done by hand can be of enormous benefit. I heard yesterday of a woman who was trapped in her auto following a wreck. The EMT attempting to check on her well being her found her calmed by her crochet.

I hope that this blog offers sufficient reason for those persons to reconsider the absurdity of their position. We each learn best and to greatest lasting effect, when we learn by doing real things, and reality is best assessed, hands-on.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the opportunity to learn like-wise.

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