Monday, March 01, 2010

the relationship between manual arts and science

In the early days of manual arts training, it was argued that an hour in wood shop was equal in intellectual development to an hour spent in conventional academic lessons, though I suspect the intellectual development would be far greater for those in wood shop actively involved vs. those bored sleeping their way through classes. And so it is all relative.

But where school consists of laboratories and wood shops, students have a far greater opportunity of developing intellect. The following is from Herbert Spencer, 1883:
"No extent of acquaintance with the meanings of words can give the power of forming correct inferences respecting causes and effects. The constant habit of drawing conclusions from data, and then of verifying those conclusions by observation and experiment can alone give the power of judging correctly."
Crafts present the child's first opportunities to explore the material world, as to material properties, and as to cause and effect in the use of tools to manipulate form. The simple tools of the craftsman provide profound learning opportunities that we'd best not ignore.

Today in the Clear Spring School wood shop, 7th, 8th and 9th grade students will continue book binding, and the 10th, 11th and 12th grade students will work on independent projects. The book binders are designing and making covers as shown in the photo above.

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