Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Today in the woodshop, the 1st through 4th grade students made paper pinwheels following the directions given in Ednah Anne Rich's book, Paper Sloyd. We had questions come up in both classes about students paying attention and listening when new things are introduced.

When I was in Saratoga Springs for Showcase and made my presentation on the Wisdom of the Hands program, one of the members of the audience asked if I have statistical evidence of the effectiveness of my program. I don't. The ironic thing and deeply disturbing thing, is that we have a mountain of evidence that what our society is doing with our children is completely wrong, completely contrary to the best practices suggested by scientific study. Screen time on TV or computer, has a significant damaging effect on a child's ability to pay attention, to listen and follow directions. A report on yesterday's news offered evidence that teenagers who had televisions in their rooms had lower grades, were less social, and were less physically fit. So we have a mountain of significant evidence that we choose to ignore and then fail to act on the obvious and pressing need to provide creative opportunities for our children.

Much or our current stupidity arose when schools were designed to follow the model of modern manufacturing. Isolate upper class students so their hands are stilled and their learning is unrelated to physical reality. Put the rest in mind-numbing activities guaranteed to diminish interest, confidence and experience in intellectual pursuits. The formula is ideal for creating a society of complaisant consumption and mindless destruction of resources.

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