|Anaxagoras. The world is in our hands|
In some ways, 2016 was good for me. I had three books come out. I have been in good health, and have had the opportunity to do some lovely woodwork.
2017 promises to also be good on the personal front. I have one more book coming out, teaching to do, and family and friends to share my interests and my life.
Forbes has a great article on why we need to bring vocational training back to schools. The article points out the history of failed understanding about the role of manual arts in school. It was thought that every one needed the manual arts, then those classes became the dumping grounds for the lower class and when that didn't work out so well the powers that be decided that all children should be pushed to college whether they were ready to go, needing to go, wanting to go, or not. In order to attain that ridiculous goal, they removed all the wonderful things from schooling that students loved and that allowed them to choose meaningful learning for themselves and to become self-directed at it..
The simple point is that abstract learning only works for very few students, and the largest number of them need (desperately need) the opportunity to do real things. Students need diverse ways to measure and mark their success, and to differentiate themselves from their peers. An academics only approach allows only certain students of a particular type to gain success.
Because the all-kids-go-to-college model won in the quest to make education as cheap and uniformly boring as possible, standardized testing became the only means to measure student, teacher and school success, once again, building a layer of abstraction between students and their finding true passion for learning.
When students do real things, whether in history, social studies, music, the sciences, and the arts, they are drawn into real life.
Several years back, I had written a note to Matthew Crawford about the dangers of abstraction in schooling. He used that quote as the opening lines in his first book, Shop Class as Soulcraft, and then as the closing argument in his third book, The World Outside Your Head.
“In schools we create artificial learning environments for our children that they know to be contrived and undeserving of their full attention and engagement… Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract, and distant, and the passions for learning will not be engaged.”If we want students to succeed in school and in life, schools must offer them REAL things to succeed at.
Happy New Year to all.
Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others find passion learning likewise.