Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today in the Clear Spring wood shop I introduced the 5th and 6th grade students to David Pye's theory in explanation of the value of hand crafted work, "Certainty vs. Risk." I've explained this earlier in the blog and you can find out more by using the Google blog search function above left. Type in "David Pye" or "Certainty."

All that talk about "risk" made the students ask if they could carve writing pens as a break from cutting joints for boxes. So we got out the knives and passed out the walnut pen blanks. I am pleased to say that no band-aids were required. When I spoke at the CODA conference, someone from the audience asked, "Do the children ever injure themselves with those knives?" My answer that brought a round of laughter from the audience, "Not twice."

A great deal of useful perspective is offered in David Pye's philosophy of craftsmanship, Certainty vs. Risk. As Rob Knight and I were discussing before he left for home this morning, kids fall from trees and break arms, and yet climbing trees is an important part of childhood and a wise parent encourages both safety and challenge to safety, taking risks, developing both skill and courage. And the stupidity and failure of our age is to see the value of one and not the other. The photo above is 6th grade student Kurtis, carving a walnut pen.

1 comment:

  1. There seems to be more focus these days on keeping children clean and untouched by any thing that could harm them. Certainly there is a difference between protecting them from the harm other people can do to them, and the cuts and bruises that come with life's activities. I have a few scars from linoleum carving when I was younger. I finally learned to keep my hands behind the tool. I think it is just great that your students are having these hands-on learning experiences. It used to be kids learned these skills from grandpa or dad. But I don't hear of many kids spending time with dad building stuff in the garage anymore.