Friday, February 01, 2019

using the engineering mind

The photo shows a student's cat house he designed in wood shop. It took some figuring out. First he learned that it is very difficult to direct nails into the edge of very thin wood. So thicker wood was needed for the sides. Then various modifications were necessary thus requiring an examination of the uses of various saws.

This was but one of several different projects happening all at the same time in wood shop on Wednesday. The kids like it very best when they are allowed to experiment and come up with projects of their own design.

I had been challenged on twitter by someone who had misunderstood my point in response to a post from another party, concerning school emphasis on children being "ready to learn."
"All children are 'ready to learn.' The question is 'ready to learn what?' They are always ready to learn things that interest them. Too many schools have lost the ambition to interest kids."
I was asked on twitter, "Why limit kids to what interests them? Seems like a low bar." Days later I found the time to respond.
I did not suggest that we limit kids to what interests them. Diesterweg came up with the following that then became Salomon's theory of Educational Sloyd. Start with the interests of the child. Move from the easy to the more difficult, from the known to the unknown, from the simple to the complex and from the concrete to the abstract. Jerome Bruner called this "scaffolding." But it all starts with the interests of the child.
The reason my students love days in which they are allowed to experiment and come up with projects on their own is that their individual interests are met, and their own intrinsic motivations. Isn't that when we learn best? Adults and students alike?

Make, fix and create. Offer others the opportunity to learn likewise.

No comments:

Post a Comment