Saturday, January 11, 2014

beyond words...

We have poetry because words can at best only wrestle with reality... not grasp it by the throat and force it to the ground as can the hands. Words adjoined without rhythm to convey the warmth of human emotion are simply technical jargon, devoid of feeling. The following (something more) is from the Normal Child and Primary Education, Arnold Gesell and Beatrice Chandler Gesell, 1912:
There are tactile-ethical values in nature study and handwork: the tactile attitudes of tenderness and protection which a boy feels for fragile birds' eggs carefully stored, perhaps with a caress, in cotton; the perfect polishing of a wood surface; the respect for the fiber and individual resistant qualities of material; the rounding of edges and corners for comfort and beauty; the obedience to lines, drawings, and so forth; the accuracy and truthfulness in fitting edges; the general submission to the laws of nature whenever a piece of raw material is attacked. We can suggest rather than demonstrate the important bearings of all this.

See how a child will stroke a smooth surface with half awesome delight. What does it mean? It means that life is more than words. In due time, of course, the child should be able to speak and spell a declarative sentence, stating that the sensation felt exquisite. Sometime he may even discuss whether "rapturous" is a better adjective. But, after all, the adjective is but a tag or a symbol. The sensation itself is unutterable. Character is made up of attitudes, appreciations; and verbal images, although very essential to abstract thinking, are idle and void unless they are born of concrete contact.
And thus was discussed the nature of real schooling, based upon actual observations of how children learn and grow, and upon our own human natures and the rhythms of real life. Can folks not see the difference between what is proposed and the artificial realities in which we try to engage kids.
The photo at the top is intended to illustrate the principle of proportion, showing the relationship between the size of the intended contents and the proportions of the box. As you can see in the photo at left, I'm working on my last lid for an article on making lift off lids, giving readers 4 distinct choices. Words can only say what words can say. Can you see that words and images are more powerful than words alone, and that perhaps words and actual experiences are more powerful still? But that's not where things are going in American education.

Make, fix and create... And teach others to do so.

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