Wednesday, June 15, 2016

what a teacher is to watch for.

The following is from Gustaf Larsson's Elementary Sloyd and Whittling, and provides some insight into the purposes of educational woodworking:
There is often a vague idea as to what is meant by the educational value of manual training. I would suggest, to make this subject clear, that, while the children are at work, the following questions should be satisfactorily answered by supervisors, teachers, or visitors:
  • First. Are the child’s positions and movements while working such as are likely to be injurious or beneficial to his physical development? 
  • Second. Is he doing his own thinking, unprompted and uninterrupted by the teacher?
  • Third. Is his work so carried on that self-respect is developed rather than vanity?
  • Fourth. Is he learning to recognize and to love excellence of workmanship, as shown by becoming more and more critical of himself and his own achievements.
  • Fifth. Is he learning to recognize good form and to avoid unsuitable decoration?  
  • Sixth. Is he getting some training in good citizenship by working with others?  
  • Seventh. Does the finished product represent the child’s own effort, and is the workmanship good; or was the problem too difficult? 
These same guidelines would serve any teacher well, particularly in those cases where a student is expected to learn by doing real things. These rules could be applied equally in the wood shop, music studio and science laboratory. In the theory of Educational Sloyd, instruction and the design of models were to be arranged so that the child would proceed in the natural order of learning (as we all do):
  • From the known to the unknown, 
  • From the easy to the more difficult, 
  • From the simple to the complex 
  • And from the concrete to the abstract. 
With these principles in mind, woodworking projects were designed and selected so that the child’s work, intelligence and skill would proceed accordingly. But with one caveat. As in accordance with the philosophy of Friedrich Frobel, the interest of the child must always be considered. Gustaf Larsson warned in Elementary Sloyd and Whittling, “Although the models and the directions here outlined have been planned with great care, it must be understood that they are not recommended as a fixed and unalterable plan of work. Teachers should always change the methods and models in the interest of general improvement or adapt them for special needs.” Among, and perhaps foremost among the special needs that were to be considered, was the interest of the child.

I am packing for my classes in Indiana. I am also moving my work from one downtown Eureka Springs Gallery to another. As of today, my boxes can be found at the Jewel Box, 40 Spring St. Eureka Springs, AR.

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

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