Monday, August 13, 2007

Joe Barry sent me the following with the OK to share:

You're right about the retention. When I tell people I was a shop teacher they light up and tell me all about their school experiences in shop. If I'm at their home they will drag out their projects. It says something about the emotional attachment people have that they would hold onto a footstool, bowl, or bookshelf for 30+ years and through several moves worth of culling out "junk". How many of us are still able to put our hands on our junior year's book report on Moby Dick? I had a kid run up to me on the subway platform at Park Street in Boston call out my name and hug me several years after I left teaching. This is not acceptable behavior in the big city! I didn't know who this teenage girl was until I saw her parents behind her and then made the connection with the 8-year old that I had known.

Thanks, Joe for sharing your thoughts.

My mother had the same "problem" after retiring as a kindergarten teacher. She would go to the grocery store and be hugged by gigantic black men, brought nearly to tears remembering their time in kindergarten, over 20 years before.

Charles Henry Ham draws the connection between kindergarten and shop class in his discussions of the ideal school, MIND AND HAND: MANUAL TRAINING THE CHIEF FACTOR IN EDUCATION. Kindergarten at its best, and wood shop have at their core, the object lessons promoted by Pestalozzi and Froebel, establishing an environment that fosters the imagination and engages the emotions in the learning process. Some progressive educators advocate an "object-rich" "jungle-like" environment as being the ideal.

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