Monday, May 01, 2017

A successful event...

Yesterday we held a successful Wisdom of the Hands Fundraising event. Two of my students helped adults do woodworking, and the photo shows one helping his dad. I took parts for making super heroes and letter holders and adults made both. Some adults were too shy to do the making, but all were impressed by my teaching staff.

I sent an email to Patrik Sheinin at the University of Helsinki asking if he would help me with a research project. In the past I asked if he could secure evidence that Educational Sloyd played some distinct and measurable role in the Finnish Educational Success Story.  Patrik at that time  in addition to being dean of the University of Helsinki School of Social Sciences was head of the international PISA study. I have come to the conclusion that my research request was too narrow in scope, and research into the value of hands-on learning would hit pay dirt. I hope to hear back.

What we do here at our small school is quite large in that other schools, too should engage their students hands-on. If educators have not noticed the role of the hands in their own learning, I suggest they pay attention.

As I told our guests at yesterday's events, the hands are more than useful tool.  They are the symbol of the skilled and totally engaged man. When the first mate calls for all hands on deck, he's not asking for desk slouchers and shirkers of work. And when the superintendent asks that all teachers and students hands be engaged in learning, we might thus save the ship.

An article in the Washington Post asks, Is there really a link between test scores and America’s economic future? It notes:
In every standardized achievement test whose scores we use to judge the quality of the education received by our children, family income strongly and significantly influences the mean scores obtained.
In other words, addressing family poverty would be one issue that the conservatives in Washington refuse to address. Diane Ravitch notes yet another charter school chain being under federal investigation. The administrator for 9 schools in the district was being paid nearly half a million a year... as much as the superintendent of the whole Los Angeles Public School system. It is unfortunate that the charter school system has offered a model through which businessmen are attempting to cash in and take advantage of the poor.

In the meantime, putting the hands to work in learning is what we all know works. Let's do it.

Make, fix, create and increase opportunities for others to learn likewise.


  1. Having worked with immigrants for many years, the one part of the income determinant for academic success that doesn't add up is how well so many of those recent immigrants are doing. They don't speak English too well yet, but they value education and will try very hard to succeed.

  2. Their parents are less likely to be lax, and more likely to be supportive of the values of getting good grades. Many young people are raised with a sense of entitlement, that serves them poorly. Most emigrants do not live with that handicap.