Tuesday, March 26, 2019

"an utterly defective grip?"

The following passage is from J. A. Hobson's book, John Ruskin Social Reformer, 1898, available on google books.
 "Educational reformers from Xenophon to Froebel have emphasized the natural union of "head and hand" as the first principle of education. Not merely is dexterity of hand and eye a useful accomplishment, while the foolish and immoral contempt which "gentility" affects for manual work is scotched in childhood; the direct intellectual gain is still more important. Children who draw their intellectual pabulum from books alone, and whose experience embodies no regular and systematic experience of the nature of matter in relation to human service, the qualities of useful substances, and the tools and modes of work by which these substances can be wrought into serviceable forms, grow up to manhood and womanhood and pass on through life with an utterly defective grip on the earth on which they live and the material environment of life."
My thanks to Tim Holton for sending the link to a book that has great relevance to the Wisdom of the Hands. John Ruskin believed as I do that all children, regardless of class or future occupation, should be exposed to the creative, useful art, through manual training in school. It prepares each to be of greater service to self and humanity.

Yesterday in woodshop my students grades 1-4 were given "free day" in which they could do anything they wanted. Free day allows them to work at the level of skill they are most ready for, and to progress at their own pace. The warrior dog shown with moveable legs is from the video game Minecraft and made by a second grade boy.

One of my students came back after class, during recess to explain that he really needs more time in wood shop. He explained that he loves it and his parents think he's really good at it. I explained that all the other subjects are also important, and will make his time in wood shop even more useful to him.

Make, fix and create... Allow children to learn likewise.

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