Wednesday, February 19, 2014

can it be...

Angled lids on angled boxes
The boxes at left are new ones I'm finishing for gallery sales in the spring. The angled lift lids will be textured and colored with layers of milk paint. The following is from William James, as he attempted to describe what education is for.
“In our foregoing talk we were led to frame a very simple conception of what an education means. In the last analysis it consists in the organizing of resources in the human being, of powers of conduct which shall fit him to his social and physical world. An 'uneducated' person is one who is nonplussed by all but the most habitual situations. On the contrary, one who is educated is able practically to extricate himself, by means of the examples with which his memory is stored and of the abstract conceptions which he has acquired, from circumstances in which he never was placed before. Education, in short, cannot be better described than by calling it the organization of acquired habits of conduct and tendencies to behavior.” -- William James, Talks To Teachers On Psychology; And To Students On Some Of Life's Ideals, 1899.
Can it be that all the problems we now have with education result from having forgotten what education is for in the first place? In his lecture, James went on to describe how his students present in the lecture hall were modeling a kind of conduct or behavior as they listened intently to his words and envisioned ways in which their understanding of educational philosophy might serve them in the classroom.

If we understood that the purpose of education was not to impart knowledge, but to shape conduct and behavior, we would not have dumped woodworking education, music, art  and laboratory science from the curriculum in schools. It's nice to know a few things about science that can be found so neatly organized in textbooks, but would it not be better to have learned to conduct oneself as a scientist might in one's own investigations? Aspects of behavior are the essence of what people are incline to call character, and are demonstrated, not measured. and as long as we have schools that rely on measurement to prove their success, there will be no real education taking place except that which comes happenstance.

In our local AEP/SWEPCO power line debacle, the Arkansas Public Service Commission has left standing the judge's approval of a route that begins in Arkansas, travels across a 25 mile long swath of Missouri, and then dips down back into Arkansas. At this point it appears that SWEPCO has authority to build two power lines from nowhere to nowhere until they get regulatory approval from the state of Missouri. We can expect them the be complete jerks and begin condemnation proceedings.

Today in the school wood shop, our lower elementary school students will continue making dinosaurs, and our middle school students will begin carving masks related to their studies of indian stories, and inspired by a visit to a local museum.

Make, fix, create. Help others to do so, too.

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