Sunday, January 20, 2013

back to tact..

Rubber bands are best clamps.
 Otto Salomon in the Theory of Educational Sloyd had stressed that Sloyd was to be taught by trained teachers, not craftsmen. His experience had been that craftsmen would step in and from impatience try to do too much of the student's work for him or her. He worried that craftsmen, not trained to understand child development would be insensitive toward the specific developmental needs of each child. He was worried that they would be overly critical of student's work... that they might apply their own standards without allowing for the natural patterns of growth within each child. A trained teacher, on the other hand, would address the child and his or her work, as a teacher first, and recognize and encourage growth. A trained teacher, feeling a sense of responsibility first to the growth of the child, would hold back and allow the child to learn from his or her own mistakes... a thing more difficult for a trained craftsman whose status is often attained through his or her own efforts to surpass the deficiencies apparent in other folk's finished work.

Salomon on Educational tact:
"It is ever with him as his guide, philosopher and friend—friend to the children as well as to himself.

"This tact is the measure not only of how much he shall demand from the children, but of how much he shall tell them, and how much he shall not tell. The best teacher is the one who gives the best supervision and at the same time the least teaching." If the teacher tell too much independence is undermined, and the children not only consider it the proper thing to have everything explained to them , but that it is a right to which they can lay claim; and accordingly suspend operations until they receive due attention, so that the work becomes a mere matter of diction, and thoughtfulness is extinguished; but, on the other hand, if the teacher tell too little, the children are unable to do their work."
Of course these simple things are only a part of what educational tact implies. An additional reason why teachers would be the best to impart Sloyd education to children rather than craftsmen was that educational Sloyd offered an underlying philosophy that teachers needed at that time and and would still find useful to this day. Rather than teaching craftsmen to become teachers of Sloyd, by teaching teachers to become teachers of Sloyd, Salomon and his school at Nääs could offer  greater impact to the overall educational environment, by reshaping teacher's understanding of teaching itself. If all teachers understood the benefits of hands-on learning and personalized instruction to all students, education would never be the same again.

Veneering the insides of lids.
Sadly, that was the part of Educational Sloyd that seems to have been left on the European continent. Here in the US, Sloyd is remembered (if at all) as the rival to the Russian system of manual training, and the educational philosophy contained within it has been largely forgotten. Whether or not it will be remembered or understood is in your hands as well as mine.

In my wood shop, I've started an additional set of smaller veneered boxes. I cut the miters yesterday and today I assembled the sides and began veneering the insides of the lids.

Make, fix and create...

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