Sunday, October 01, 2017

a link

A reader  (Dwight) sent me a link  ( to an article about toy making and Educational Sloyd, and when I followed it, I found that it carried me to the Journal  published of the Crafticulation Conference in Helsinki, 2009. I was at the Crafticulation Conference in Helsinki, and presented my own paper on Tools, Hands and the Expansion of Intellect. That paper is included in the download, along with many others for those who may have some interest in Sloyd.

Educational Sloyd is not practiced in Scandinavia as it was in the 19th century. There has been exploration and refinement and it is much more focused on creative engagement than it once was. So when people ask whether my woodworking program at Clear Spring School is "Sloyd", it depends on which century you are looking at. My purpose has never been to exactly replicate the Educational Sloyd from 1876. In Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, as well as Estonia and Latvia, an interest in Sloyd and its development has been sustained for almost a century and a half.

Otto Salomon saw his own particular work as a "casting mold" that would be broken so that other forms would evolve from it.

So here we are. 2017. What can we learn about education from Educational Sloyd? One thing for sure. They still have it in the Scandinavian countries. In the US, manual arts have been largely abandoned, particularly in the lower grade levels. Standardized testing does not measure either hand skills or creativity, so in the American teach-to-the-test obsession, there's too little time in school for the arts, particularly those requiring the use of tools.

The volume produced by the Crafticulation Conference and published by Nordfo shows that Educational Sloyd is a still rich field of study. The guiding principles described by Otto Salomon still are valid, and should guide the whole of education at all grade levels:
  • 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, and 
  • From the concrete to the abstract.
So where do the hands fit in? If a child sees something that interests him or her, the first inclination is to touch. The hands are our most effective tools of exploration, making known to us that which had been unknown. The development of hand skills provides a model for all learning as we move from the easy to more difficult. The ability to touch and manipulate makes simple those things that appear complex, and the hands provide the bridge between the concrete and abstract. In other words, the theory of Educational Sloyd provides a foundation for educational development that should not be ignored.

The photo shows the use of a Sloyd knife.

Make, fix, create, and help others to discover learning lifewise.

No comments:

Post a Comment