Thursday, September 24, 2009

science and the arts

Writing a blog is kind of a challenge. I know I don't really need to write everyday. I could let things slide, and you my dear readers could go mining into the over 1800 posts from days past. There are a number of things worth mining for and I've made it easy by providing links

The topic of is pure gold. Educational Sloyd was built upon the theoretical foundation of Froebel's Kindergarten, so it illustrated a very clear and distinct method based on the seamless connection between hand and mind... that each is reliant on the exploration and discoveries of the other. Search also for Froebel whose doctrine of self-activity is something that should interest all teachers.

The intersection between the arts and science were clearly illustrated through Froebel's "gifts" and "occupations." According to Froebel, education was a two way street. Knowledge was received by students through the exploration and manipulation of "gifts" which were objects designed for intellectual stimulation. And knowledge wasn't complete until it could be expressed through occupations... the making of things. As described by Charles A. Bennett in the History of Manual and Industrial Education up to 1870
The gifts were playthings consisting of typical geometric forms which were intended to give the children "new universal aspects of the external world." These were given to the child to be played with, built with, but without change in their forms. The occupations consisted of material, like clay or paper, which could be readily changed in form to suit the whim or fancy of the little builder. The gifts stood for law; the occupations for freedom.
The following is from Froebel's the Education of Man: "The gift invites only arranging activities; The occupation invites also controlling modifying, transforming, creating activities. The gift leads to discovery; the occupation, to invention. The gift gives insight; the occupation, power." Can you see how the manipulation of materials is the means through which we formulate our scientific understanding of physical reality, and also the means through which we shape it to fit our needs and create beauty? Can you see how the hands themselves are the means through which we awaken educational interest and human power? Froebel was the educator that placed crafts at the very center of education. And now we have schools in which arts, crafts and music and even recess are completely abandoned so they can place greater emphasis on "standards."

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