Saturday, February 04, 2012

two articles from Ed Week

Many educators have reached the conclusion that students still need to learn handwriting according to this article from Education Week, Summit to Make Case for Teaching Handwriting
Doubt about the continued worth of handwriting skill is "similar to what happened with math as calculators and computers came into vogue," said Daniel A. Domenech, the executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, which co-sponsored the gathering with Zaner-Bloser, a Columbus, Ohio, company that produces a handwriting curriculum. "People wondered whether students needed to learn how to do math. The answer in both cases is absolutely yes. Writing is not obsolete."
Another article, States Mulling Creativity Indexes for Schools, tells us that educators are finally awakening to the failure of schools under the stratagem of no child left behind teach to foster creativity. Will their strategy to put creativity in place be to add another level of testing? We all hope not.
"We're tapping into a very clear need, as expressed particularly by employers, to reincorporate into the curriculum and school experience many opportunities for young people to develop creativity-oriented skills," said Massachusetts Sen. Stan Rosenberg, a Democrat and the lead sponsor of his chamber's 2010 bill calling for the index.

The Massachusetts legislation calls for an index that would "rate every public school on teaching, encouraging, and fostering creativity in students" and be based "in part on the creative opportunities in each school."

It cites as examples arts education, debate clubs, science fairs, filmmaking, and independent research.
There is a simple strategy for improving schools that incorporates both handwriting and creativity. I call it the strategic implementation of the hands.

On a related subject, I have been reading Doug Harper's book, Working Knowledge which explores modern work by examining the working life of Willie, a working mechanic with a family heritage in blacksmithing. Harper's is a useful view of what work was, and it has become through changes in technology. Willie's shop is as much multi-generational social center and school as repair place, with the hands of all (including customers) being engaged in learning and creative problem solving. And that is the key to education, the word "engaged." Working with the hands results in direct engagement. Working with the mind alone results in detachment. What kind of school do we want for our kids?

Make, fix and create...

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