Sunday, November 06, 2011

TMI ? or Sloyd...

At left,you can see some of my new boxes just after the finish has been applied.

In learning, there needs to be a balance between information and experience self-gained. This was one of the challenges faced by Salomon and others in the development of educational Sloyd. How would they lay out the progression of models to gain the most educational effect? There could have been so many models that each would lead seamlessly into the next, with each informing what to do in the next model, by making only the smallest of changes in each. But what we find in an examination of the various model series is that they did not. The models present plenty of opportunities for head scratching, and for asking the professor of Sloyd, "What do I do now?" or "How can I make this cut?" And there were spaces in learning left to the child's imagination and experimentation, allowing the student to develop his or her own problem solving capacity.  And the relationship developed thus between student and professor of Sloyd was so strong that in Sweden today many old Sloyd professors  are still remembered by their students with great fondness.

The model shown at left is from John D. Sutcliffe's book Hand-Craft Slöjd published in 1890, and if you can imagine a 13 or 14 year old boy carving this scoop, you can also imagine the amount of intelligence and skill that children had at that time and do not have today. We fill our children's brains with too much information, and their minds with too little challenge in the way of real problem solving, and their hands with too little skill. Sure, they can move their fingers quickly on tiny keypads, but can their hands do anything else?

We present to them a world in which ease of use is the mantra to guide in the acquisition of new stuff.

How about having schools in which the purpose is to do difficult things, to develop the hand and mind for real problem solving and service to others? A finished scoop is shown in the photo below, taken when I was visiting the original school at Nääs, Sweden. Thousands of pounds of original Sloyd models were burned at the school during a clean up years ago. Fortunately a few of the original models were saved at the last minute.
Make, fix and create...


  1. Thank you for your excerpts on Sloyd. You have certainly got me thinking as I home school my boys.

    Best wishes
    Jen in Oz

  2. do you have a list of all the sloyd books published. Trying to download them all.

    Trying to put together a Sloyd website.


  3. Do you have a list of all the sloyd books published. Looking to build a website about Sloyd.