Wednesday, June 15, 2016

a course of study

The following is from the course of study set for Chicago Manual Training Schools in 1899-1900.
No set of models can express the manual training idea, nor can any definite course of work be applicable to all of the diverse conditions to be met in one city or even in one school, consequently the courses shown are arranged merely as a base from which to work.

Considering that the development of the child morally and mentally is the object of education, then the acquisition of skill, which heretofore has been the dominant feature in manual training, will become incidental, and the exercise of the faculties in self-expression will become the basis for our teaching. Not that the training for skill is to be neglected, but it should not be fostered at the expense of the child's broad understanding of nature and nature's laws.

A closer relation between the work in the shops and the work of the grade teacher is desired in order to give life to the work of the shops, which should be considered as school laboratories where the work of the class-room is to be more fully developed. The special teachers of manual training should keep in constant touch with the progress of the grades, and should, as far as possible, plan to have each lesson express in some way the work which is being carried on in the class-room.
Today I am driving to Indiana for 9 days of class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.

I want to call my reader's attention to a program sponsored by Thea Foundation in Little Rock. In their Arts Reconstruction Program they are training teachers from 6 central Arkansas schools at the University of Arkansas to do such things as paper making, photo transfer from iPhones and book binding.These are skills that they hope teachers will use in their classrooms. The idea behind the program is that:
When students are encouraged to participate in the arts, whether it’s playing an instrument, drawing a picture or learning a dance routine, they not only discover a healthy method of self-expression that builds their confidence and sense of well-being, they become genuinely excited about going to school. Children who are enrolled in arts classes or attend schools where the arts are incorporated into lectures in all subjects are more likely to feel satisfaction at school and less likely to have disciplinary issues.
It is a real challenge to teach teachers who've never done anything in the arts to then teach kids who've never had the opportunity to do real things. The name "Arts Reconstruction" fits, and it's just what every teacher needs. A similar crisis in education existed in the 1880's when American educators suddenly began to realize that schools should begin preparing students for reality outside the classroom, and they also began to realize that student attention and behavior inside the classroom would be improved if the children were not expected to dwell completely upon abstraction that was irrelevant to their own lives. The guiding principle of both Kindergarten and Educational Sloyd was to start with the interests of the child. As we drifted further from that principle, education in America began to suffer for it.

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

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