Friday, February 19, 2016

offering a quiet influence...

My own mentor in Sloyd
Yesterday in the CSS wood shop I got a couple box guitars strung up to play and so I'm looking forward to passing them along into the music program at Clear Spring School. Today I'll make a brief presentation at our staff meeting, as an introduction and overview of the contributions of Educational Sloyd. Over the years we've had staff changes, and while I am regularly and deeply immersed in my own reflections and study, other staff members have other concerns and cope with the day to day management issues that come with being members of the teaching community.

The point of my own teaching is not that Sloyd should be preserved or re-imagined to serve in the same manner it served in schools in the 1890's, but that we reflect upon its precepts. The knife, in particular is a tool of mental acuity, the starting point in Swedish Sloyd , and so, today at the staff meeting, I will supply knives, and thin pieces of wood that can be used to make specific cuts. I checked with the head of school to make certain that wood chips on the floor of his office will be of no concern.

Otto Salomon had picked up a stone from Pestalozzi's gravesite that he kept on his desk as a reminder of his methods and contributions. I picked up a stone at the gravesite shared by Otto Salomon and his uncle August Abrahamson. And so we carry things forward with their quiet influence, hoping that others may make the best of what we offer. Salomon had said the following about Sloyd in his own closing days, knowing that what he had launched would carry forth, and that the best objective was not to find a method that could be put in place by morons without regard for the teacher's temperament, but to find and shape and mold teachers with what he called "tact."
"May it die and may it rest in peace! I will not be found among the mourners. I have long ago lost my belief in systems within the Art of Education, and believe now only in personalities."
On Salomon's grave the inscription reads, Den gode är en makt även i graven.or "the good is a power even in the grave." Let's hope that may be the case.

The photo above is my own mentor in the history of Sloyd, Hans Thorbjörnsson. My thanks to Knud for the quote from Salomon. The words on the gravesite were recorded by me on my journey to Nääs.

A Swedish word of interest here is undervisning. It means to teach. It's root words are under meaning the same in English as in Svenske, and visning which means to view. A third Swedish word must is implied in the case of instruction... tillsammans. It's one of my favorite words and means "together." So together, let's fix things. Tillsammans, låt oss fixa saker.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the opportunity to learn likewise.

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