Sunday, March 19, 2017

the country boy...

Milton Bradley wrote the following as part of his introduction to Knife Work in the School-Room, 1891:
Manual training is no new thing in our every-day American life. In the country districts fifty years ago the children had nine months of manual training of the best kind, because of the tasks required of them on the farm and in the shop and the kitchen. They also averaged three months of mental training, during which time they learned rapidly, in spite of the lack of ability on the part of their teachers. They had too much manual training and were hungry for the mental, consequently it did not hurt them to study night and day, through the two or three months that they were in school.
These days there are many proponents of year round schooling. In their view 9 months of academic work is not giving the students enough mental training to measure up. Can further numbing of student's mental faculties bring the results these educators hope for? While in the early days of American education 3 months of academic work was more than enough? The point is that children need to do real things to balance and make alive to them the work they do in academic subjects. For those with trained hands, this idea may not be so hard to grasp. But there are educational policy makers who've not acquired the wisdom that training of the hands provides.

From the time that manual arts were first introduced, proponents of academic studies have claimed, "there's no time for that." They've traditionally failed to understand the relationship between doing real things in real life and the readiness to grasp academic content. One kind of exercise prepares the mind for the other.

In addition to working on boxes in my wood shop, I'm working on my presentations for woodworkers showcase, and researching tool acquisitions for the new wood shop at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.

Make, fix and create...

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