Sunday, February 28, 2016

hands-on for what?

It was too beautiful for words here yesterday. As wonderful as that can be, it is also troubling as this is supposed to be winter and not yet spring. We should have had many more very cold days but have had few of them, and while there are those who deny the validity of science by refusing to accept that global warming is  real, or that it is man-made, or that we should do something about it, the weather we have and the stupidity of those who deny it suggests that all learning must be made hands-on in order that our society might escape ignorance.

So, it being as beautiful as it was, I spent part of the morning out of doors applying a final coat of Danish oil to production boxes, and then spent the afternoon in the wood shop with the doors open to fresh air.

Rousseau had said, put a young man in a wood shop, he'll become a philosopher while thinking himself only a craftsman, and in my case (and in the case of so many others), I guess its true. While my hands do routine tasks (like oiling boxes) that require only part of my attention, I think about the state of education and what I need to tell my readers (or myself) about life and learning. I came up with a brief list of occupations that require hands-on learning and you are welcome to use the comments section below to suggest others to add to my list.
  1. Surgeon
  2. Contractor
  3. Chemist
  4. Carpenter
  5. Plumber
  6. Inventor
  7. Chef
  8. Entrepreneur
  9. Home maker
  10. Designer
  11. Artist
  12. Musician
  13. Playwright
  14. Actor
  15. Teacher
  16. Doctor
  17. Engineer
  18. Craftsman
  19. Electrician
  20. Mechanic
  21. Dentist
I can go on. Are there any in the list who are not necessary to the quality of life we enjoy? Are there any in this list who are unnecessary to our economy? And now I'll go on to list a few that you may have assumed are unrelated to hands-on learning, but even these, for the sake of society at large would best be educated hands-on.
  1. Philosopher (Did I not just prove that philosophy and the hands are related?)
  2. Poet (Where do you think poets get their metaphors if not from the hands?)
  3. Composer (Where did he get his knowledge of instruments?)
  4. Pastor or Priest (How do you relate to your parishioners if you are literally out of touch?)
  5. Political pundit (Don't we wish more of them were less out of touch?)
  6. Politician (Don't we wish more of them were less out of touch?)
  7. Scientist (Are you kidding? Can you imagine a real scientist who is not deeply engaged in learning through his or her hands?)
  8. Lawyer (I've met many who have woodworking as their hobby.)
  9. Accountant (see Lawyer.)
  10. Human resources manager. (Don't we wish THEY, too, were more in touch?)
A reader in a comment below, had asked about Finger-Blindness as described by Finnish brain researcher Matti Bergström who passed away in the summer of 2015. This post, Fitting oneself to the whole of the social order may help to explain where Bergström fits into progressive educational thought.

Richard Bazeley sent this link to an interview with Guy Claxton on the subject of embodied cognition. Embodied cognition is a field of science that I've written about many times in the blog, so you can find more on it by using the search function at upper left.

My symposium for educators in Portland, Oregon now has 18 students registered, but there is still room for a few more. Also, I've hands-on classes arranged in box making and making a small cabinet. You can register on-line here.

Make, fix, create, and extend the love of learning likewise.

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