Thursday, May 18, 2017

purposeful repetition

I repeat myself for three reasons.
  1. Readers of the blog are constantly changing. 
  2. The same exact points remain pertinent. 
  3. By repeating myself, I have hope that my message is refined to the point that it cannot be ignored. 
It's a lot like making boxes. Your first won't have the same level of refinement as your second, and by the thousandth time repeating myself, I hope to be crystal clear.
I was talking with a robotics teacher yesterday, and we know that robotics are all the buzz. Kids and parents are excited about the subject. It's new and exciting. But he's found his students have no idea of how to use a screwdriver. They've held complex objects their whole lives but without ever having developed the necessary skill or curiosity to take something apart.

So here we go again with the principles of educational Sloyd one-more-time (it will not be the last).
  • Start with the interests of the child
  • Move from the known to the unknown
  • From the easy to the more difficult
  • From the simple to the complex
  • From the concrete to the abstract.
These days all things have become screwed up in reverse order. Parents put technologies in their children's hands that they have no way to understand. Children can manipulate what an iPhone shows on its screen, but have no idea what exists at its heart, and no way to control its actual impact on their lives except as consumers constantly in search of newer and more of the same old thing.

This may sound like I'm attacking technology. I am not. If you read the principles of educational Sloyd and understand them, they came to us one hundred years before Jerome Bruner developed his concept of "scaffolding." We throw children willy-nilly into advanced technologies without providing the scaffolding for them to become masters of it.

So, is there a place for wood working and woodworking education in the world of the iPad and fingers sliding over glass? I call for all hands on deck. We need whole persons to inhabit and protect our lovely planet. We need whole persons to make lovely and useful things that continue to express the heights of our humanity. Do we need more robots working mindlessly, or do we need thoughtful human beings to whom we may entrust the sacredness of life?

Make, fix, and create.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:44 AM

    Dear Doug,
    you don't just repeat it for yourself. I need the reminder on a regularly basis, too.
    On the other hand: You can find new aspects of such principals every time you look at any actual subject. Every one of us has its own. Sure.

    On of mine is:
    I have never translated it into German, so far.
    Although that should make it easier for me to remember.
    This is my German version of the Principles of Educational Sloyd:

    Prinzipien der persönlichkeitsbildenden, handwerk-orientierten Erziehung:
    Setze bei den Interessen des Kindes an.
    Arbeite dich vor vom Bekannten zum Unbekannten,
    vom Leichten zum Schwierigen,
    vom Überschaubaren zum Komplexen,
    vom Konkreten zum Abstrakten.