Friday, October 21, 2016

on teaching and learning...

Anaxagoras: Man is the wisest of all animals.
Yesterday I had a conversation with a man who builds some of the world's finest wood lathes, and we talked about how difficult it can be to explain (and teach) things for which we have (as yet developed) no words. We would each be hard pressed if we were to have to explain ourselves so that others could completely understand what we do, why we do it, and the guiding principles upon which what we do is based. It is far easier to let our inner guidance act upon our feelings and sense of self to simply create.

But reflection is a good thing. It is important that we think about what we do, as a means of clarifying our own intent. A friend of mine had joined a writer's group, and it was explained to her (as encouragement for her to join), that the value of writing was not just the writing itself, and what might emerge from it, but that writing gives insight into what we feel, what we know, and who we are.

I urge that, too, upon you. It is worth writing, if for no other reason than to better know who we are.

Yesterday I did the inevitable quarterly work at my desk that's a requirement of being in business. I also applied Danish oil to boxes, touched base with a few old friends from my teaching world, like Alan Lacer and Bob Flexner, both of whom I know from Marc Adams School. I heard from a teacher in the Boston area, that based on what I shared with him, all his woodworking students are instructed "that their brains are in their fingertips."

The illustration above is of Greek philosopher Anaxagoras who said, "Man is the wisest of all animals because he has hands." So what is the proper relationship between teaching and learning? We learn when we do things.The teacher's role is to ask students to reflect upon what they've done.

Make, fix, create. Encourage others to love learning likewise.

1 comment:

  1. There is a wonderful book about adult teaching by Eric Sotto called When Teaching Becomes Learning.