Wednesday, June 08, 2016

summer reading...

a box from a reader in Thailand
Most of the school year those manual arts teachers who remain, and whose jobs have not been eliminated, have little or no time to read the kinds of materials that would help them to explain the reason why manual arts training is essential for all kids. As my daughter had asked for just such a list, which she also has not had time to read, I offer the following a second time:  Here goes:
Several years ago I ran across a study that compared hands-on learning with lecture based learning, and then I misplaced my link to it without remembering I had posted it to the blog in December 2006. It is an important study as it directly compares hands-on learning with classroom instruction based on lecture and illustration. The results were a no-brainer, as any one with actual experience with their own hands-on learning would know. The study by Korwin and Jones: Do Hands-On, Technology-Based Activities Enhance Learning by Reinforcing Cognitive Knowledge and Retention? The conclusion reads:
The results of this research have significant implications for general education and specifically technology education. The results suggest that hands-on activities enhance cognitive learning. Previous studies neglected to address psychomotor effects on cognitive growth, even when many educational theorists, like Dewey, supported learning using psychomotor experiences. The results also suggest that technology education has a strong basis in learning theory in its use of hands-on activities to relate technological concepts. This is done in part by improving short and long term memory retention of in- formation through greater use of visual, auditory, tactile, and motor memory storage areas of the brain. — Korwin and Jones
A more recent study found that Not only are lectures boring, they are ineffective, too. 
“This is a really important article—the impression I get is that it’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data,” says Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard University who has campaigned against stale lecturing techniques for 27 years and was not involved in the work. “It’s good to see such a cohesive picture emerge from their meta-analysis—an abundance of proof that lecturing is outmoded, outdated, and inefficient.”
It is extremely unlikely that such research will change anything. Schooling is much more about the pretense that society cares about kids, and much less about bringing forth holistic values through education. At the beginning of the 18th century Comenius had described accurately how children learn. Nothing has changed. The children still learn in the same manner. The experts describe how children learn, and the policy makers go ahead with their own plans regardless.

Still, it is important to be able to explain the importance of what we do in the hopes that some will understand.

The box in the photo above, I did not make. Instead, maker, Werapong in Thailand had watched my videos and learned what he needed to know. He asked about blade recommendations for a box maker who can't afford everything. The Freud 10 in. combination blade works quite well for both crosscut and rip sawing, and has a square top cut, making it good for miter keys like those used in the box shown above.

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

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