Saturday, January 13, 2007

There are very clear differences between an academic and a craftsman. While academics can spend their whole lives processing written material, a craftsman has to take what he or she has learned and make something practical of it...something directly useful to others. I don't intend this as a criticism of academia... at some point, after academic knowledge is laid on the table, every scholar hopes to see the object of his or her work put to use, benefitting people's lives or building a course of study for others to follow.

We know a lot about the hands and how they directly impact our intellectual and cultural development. The story of our hands is told well in Frank Wilson's book, The Hand, and in a new book by Chip Walter, Thumbs, Toes and Tears. There's lots of research going on that confirms the hand's integral role in the development of intelligence. It is important for many of us to be aware of this research, but knowledge that doesn't lead to action is empty, null and void.

My own background as a craftsman and how-to writer makes me concerned with practical applications that lead to results that can be shared with others working where the rubber meets the families, classrooms and workshops. The real meaning of this blog, and the Wisdom of the Hands program at Clear Spring School isn't to accumulate information, but to encourage others to do something to engage our hands and our children's hands in learning. For the next few days, I want to share some concrete steps. Please tune in.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:20 PM

    Maybe those differences between the academic and the craftsman are what have inspired me to try to do both, and to try to learn to do them both better. My craft work doesn't make me a living, partly because I can't give it the time it would need to do that. My academic work doesn't satisfy my physical/creative urges the way working with wood does. So, to finish, your comments weren't taken as a criticism of academia.