Sunday, June 03, 2018

Orbis Pictus

I had a brief blacksmithing lesson at ESSA yesterday morning and today I take the hammer in hand and beat hot steel.

The image is of a blacksmith at work from Comenius' book Orbis Pictus, in which he developed instruction using illustrations. The book is a marvel from the 17th century, that can be found on Google Play. Search for Comenius Orbis Pictus and download it  for free.

I have been attracted to the ideals of the village blacksmith, the village carpenter, the village potter, the village weaver, and the village whatever, as a complete village would have all of the above and many more, each one fulfilling an important role in village life. These ideals represent a time in which each assisted others in the construction of community. Orbis Pictus portrays many traditional craftsmen at work. Comenius offered the following counsel to the educators of his time.
"The ground of this business is, that sensual (sensuous) objects be rightly presented to the senses for fear that they not be received. I say, and say it again aloud, that this is the foundation of all the rest; because we can neither act nor speak wisely, unless we first rightly understand all the things which are to be done and whereof we have to speak. Now there is nothing in the understanding which was not before in the senses. And therefore to exercise the senses well about the right perceiving of the differences of things will be to lay the grounds for wisdom and all wise discourse, and all discreet actions in one's course of life, which, because it is commonly neglected in schools, and the things that are to be learned are offered to scholars without their being understood or being rightly presented to the senses, it cometh to pass that the work of teaching and learning goeth heavily onward and offereth little benefit."
Comenius was considered the father of modern education, but even in this day, schools attempt to teach things that they fail to present to the full range of senses. By failing to use the senses in education, policy makers create an atmosphere in which even those things that are veritably true are not to be trusted.

As a teen and through college, my father owned a small hardware store in Valley, Nebraska. I would work there on weekends and during the week in summer months. We had a daily stream of tradesmen looking for things they needed for their work. One of my favorites ran a car wrecking business in Kings Lake, Nebraska and would come in smelling of motor oil and covered with grease, but with a smile I can remember even to this day. Folks from their fields of employment were not embarrassed by coming to town appearing as they did. I learned from them that working for a living and showing your work on what you wear is a  mark of having been of service to your fellow man.

Some have prejudices that will not allow them to stretch far in their acceptance of others. But man is made noble by being of service to others, even when he gets dirty in the process. The soil on hands and clothing that comes from an honest day's toil should be regarded with particular favor and wisdom gained by those who've done real things should be considered.

Make, fix, and create.... Plan in schooling for students to do real things.

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