Sunday, December 31, 2006

grandiloquence n. -"a pompous or lofty manner of speaking or writing."

Many students in schools and universities have effective radar for sorting academic bull s--- from knowledge that comes from direct experience. They know when a teacher is speaking from experience, or merely attempting to express ideas learned 2nd hand from a book. You may have feelings of your own about this. Would you rather listen to someone who has experience in the subject matter, or one who simply recites information he or she has gathered from books? Is there a difference? Do you think it might be a difference noticed by children in a classroom? In my observation, one leads to interest, the other to boredom and disinterest.

I have noticed that in my own efforts to communicate, the areas that range furthest from my direct experience are the most difficult to explain in simple and direct language. When I need to resort to the use of educational jargon to explain a concept, I know that I am beginning to wander beyond the boundaries of personal experience and risk losing the interest of those with whom I would like to share my ideas.

It is tragic that so much of education is the presentation of ideas 2nd hand, third hand, or even totally removed from experience. If students are bored in today's classrooms, it may have a lot to do with our basic ideas about the role of teachers in our schools. Shouldn't they be the ones able to share knowledge earned and made credible through experience?

The photo above is from my new book,Basic Box Making. It is made with a leather hinge based on a children's toy called a "jacob's ladder." The rabbett joint corners are locked with dowels. A DVD of the same title as shown in the image at left will also be available. It ilustrates a wide range of basic box making techniques based on my 30 years of box making experience. Both are scheduled for a January 30, 2007 release date. Happy New Year! This is my last post of 2006! May the coming year bring great things to you.

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