Wednesday, November 25, 2015

the property sense...

Yesterday my student who had broken two bows as they were being made came to wood shop  early to begin crafting his third. When students want to accomplish real things, they make time for it even when it means missing a part of their lunch hour recess. While he was at work on his bow, I made a very tiny bow and arrow inspired by the efforts of one of my students. My very tiny bow and arrow, as silly as it may seem, has inspired a number of students to ask if they can make one, too. The desire to possess interesting objects can lead students forward in learning skill.

In my home work shop, I finished a few boxes  and cut miters for nearly 30 more. What will I do with so many boxes? I find joy in the making of them and that should be reason enough to carry forth. I have the power to disperse them as I see fit.

Felix Adler suggested another reason to support manual arts training for all students:
"––namely, that it develops the property sense. What  after all, apart from artificial social convention is the foundation of the right of property? On what basis does it rest? I have a proprietary right to my own thoughts. I have a right to follow my tastes in the adornment of my person and my house. I have a right to the whole sphere of my individuality, my selfhood; and I have a right in things so far as I use them to express my personality. The child that has made a wooden box has put a part of himself into the making of that box––his thought, his patience, his skill, his toil––and therefore the child feels that that box is in a certain sense his own. And as only those who have the sense of ownership are likely to respect the right of ownership in others, we may by manual training cultivate the property sense of the child; and this, in the case of the delinquent child, it will be admitted, is no small advantage."–Felix Adler 1888
With the making of things comes the possession of the object made, and also the possession of the skill required in making it. Desire and anticipation of owning an object can lead students onward. As students apply themselves to skill building tasks with the intention of laying claim to objects desired, they also lay a strong claim upon aspects of self that will serve them well in all things.

Make, fix, create and assist others to learn likewise.

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