Thursday, April 28, 2016

kids learn through all their senses...

My daughter asked me to compile a few extra resources having to do with hands-on learning, so here goes:
The following is from Susan Blow's book Symbolic Education, 1894 which I should note came well before Piaget described the steps in the development of intellect and well before studies of the brain provided a handle on learning that most current educational models ignore.
The greatest mistakes in education are rooted in the failure to recognize and conform to the different stages of natural development. Educational theorists are constantly pointing out this error; educational practice is constantly repeating it. Notwithstanding all that has been said and written, we still make knowledge our idol, and continue to fill the child's mind with foreign material, under the gratuitous assumption that at a later age he will be able, through some magic transubstantiation, to make it a vital part of his own thought. This is like loading his stomach with food which he can not digest, under the delusive hope that he may be able to digest it when he is a man. It is forcing the mind to move painfully forward under a heavy weight, instead of running, leaping, and flying under the incitement of its own energy and the allurement of its own perceived ideal.

Thus to load the young mind is a grievous sin; but we commit a yet more heinous offense when we insist upon the exercise of faculties whose normal development belongs to a later age. The child is sympathetic, perceptive, and imaginative, but he is incapable of sustained observation and repelled by analysis and logical inference. The very flowers he loves so dearly become mere instruments of mental torture when we constantly insist upon his analyzing and classifying them. The attempt to force a premature activity of reason can result only in the repulsion of his sympathies and the stultification of his mind.

But glaring as are our sins of commission, they pale before our sins of omission; for, while we are forcing upon the child's mind knowledge which has no roots in his experience, or calling on him to exercise still dormant powers, we refuse any aid to his spontaneous struggle to do and learn and be that which his stage of development demands. We paralyze the spirit of investigation by indifference to the child's questions, clip the wings of imagination by not responding to his poetic fancies, kill artistic effort by scorning its crude results, and freeze sympathy by coldness to its appeal. Thus remaining an alien to the child's life and forcing upon the child a life that is foreign to him, we sow in weak natures the seeds of formalism and hypocrisy, and so antagonize the strong natures that we tempt them to become intellectual and moral outlaws.

Susan Blow introduced Kindergarten to St. Louis public schools in about 1878 or so.

The following is from Barbara Clark's book, Growing up Gifted:
Although the growth of the metaphoric, holistic mind is available throughout our life— and when used, can be shown to result in higher feelings of self-confidence, self-esteem, and compassion; a wider exploration of traditional content and skills; and higher levels of creative invention — current teaching strategies, environments, and curricula neglect its use. Allowed at the beginning stages of the young child's learning experiences, the acceptance of this mind style disappears as we progress in school.
In other words, the experts know what's needed to reform education, and the policy makers continue to ignore best policy just as they did when Susan Blow was writing about Kindergarten. Kids of all ages and adults, too, need to be engaged in the use of all their senses. We learn best and to greatest lasting effect when we do real things, hands-on.

In the meantime, I've worked out a new way to hold guitar necks firmly as I rasp and sand them to final shape. One end goes in the vise or can be clamped with a large "c" clamp to the workbench or table top. The other end is supported by a long piece of wood, held to the peg head with another clamp. Having adequate support makes the process easier, more accurate and faster, too.

Having adequate hands-on support also assists in the process of educating both children and adults. We learn more easily, more quickly and to greater lasting effect when we learn through the engagement of all the senses.

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

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