Tuesday, February 28, 2017

dark knowledge

There are some forms of knowledge that can be imparted verbally through instruction. And there are some forms that can be demonstrated. But here we will make no assumptions that what is seen is understood in the full sense of the word.

Yesterday we had a new student visiting wood shop hoping to attend Clear Spring School for the balance of the year. But her family must move first.

I asked my students what project they would recommend that could be done in a day, so that the new student would have something to take home. They all insisted that work on the lathe would do.

One student volunteered to help her to get started. That was also a learning opportunity, for once you have done something, to watch others try the same thing makes what you've already done make more sense. It provides the opportunity for reflection. They say that if you really want to learn something, try teaching it to another. It's true.

Watching over 4 lathes working at once can make one nervous. But in my case, I know what to look and listen for. Long hair and loose clothing must be constrained. Sleeves should be rolled up. The face mask should be used even when just sanding, and hand position on the tools should be carefully checked. Most of the balance of the teacher's work is simply watching, listening and checking in.

You can tell from the sounds of the student's work whether the tool is sharp and whether they are applying too much force. So this is one area of teaching tool work where the teacher had best have his or her own experience in the work. I cannot exactly describe the sounds to listen for, but I can tell you to listen, and to use all your senses, even and most particularly those that cannot be put in words. When you have gotten reasonably good yourself on the lathe, you will know the sounds that are made when things are going right. All else is warning.

Yesterday the editorial process on my box guitar book began with emails from Kerri, asking me to resend particular files that have been misplaced or not immediately at hand. Making sure that she has all that she needs for the next steps will be my plan for the day.

In the illustration above, and for convenience I divided the dark and light into two halves. What we do and know and and share verbally describe is actually a far smaller portion than half.

Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others learn likewise

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