Tuesday, June 14, 2016

boy with saw.

If you give a child a tool, give a real one. This image is from Gustaf Larsson's book Educational Sloyd and Whittling, published in 1906 and available from several online sources. The saw and various tools are smaller versions of the ones used by real carpenters, but were finely made to do real work.

I am reminded of a woman I met at a conference who had bought woodworking tools for her grandson, only to learn that her daughter-in-law refused to allow them in the house. The child was not to be trusted with real tools. He might damage the furniture or might injure himself,  or make a mess, and yet this would be the same boy who at a later age is given a car and text messaging device and is expected to become mature enough to do real work.

What can you say? In English you might say stupid. In Norwegian, you might say dum. In Swedish the same. In any case, and wherever you might be, to refuse children the opportunity to do real things with real tools is a fearful thing with real consequences...  They might be left dum.

So, are there any educational advantages inherent in the old tools like those shown above, vs. the more modern computer driven tools in which the skill and intelligence are embodied in the machine and not in the body and mind of the child? Does that question answer itself, or what!

I have been a slave to my desk the past couple days, supplying my editors with missing materials and scanning lovely photos from very old books.

Make, fix, create, and offer to others the joy of learning likewise.

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