Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Froebel's Gifts...

If you don't like how it turns out, return it to the woodpile.
We are at the close of the school year and I'll be wrapping things up, cleaning the school shop and getting ready for summer classes. By inter-library loan, I've received a book by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith called Froebel's Gifts. It is available as a free download from Google Play.
Every child brings with him into the world the natural disposition to see correctly what is before him, or, in other words, the truth. If things are shown to him in their connection, his soul perceives them thus as a conception. But if, as often happens, things are brought before his mind singly, or piecemeal, and in fragments, then the natural disposition to see correctly is perverted to the opposite, and the healthy mind is perplexed. - Friedrich Froebel
If we understand how to see and to thence learn, the matter of belief becomes of little importance because we become directly involved in physical reality rather than in some abstraction of reality compiled and superimposed on our own thoughts by those who would control us. So naturally, schools, left in the hands of educational policy makers have become places for complaisance and indoctrination in which many students are bored and disinterested.

It is puzzling that through schooling children are made to dislike learning, when the state of learning is most natural and fundamental to human growth and development.

One of the best things about a wood shop is the opportunity to learn and express learning in its most direct manner. For instance, after making wooden boxes for almost 40 years, I can still find new things to learn, and new ways to express myself. The chunk boxes shown above are my latest examples. And if schools were to each arrive at an understanding of the role the hands play in learning, the need or school woodshops would be obvious.

Make, fix and create...

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