Sunday, February 09, 2020

4 things

Diane Ravitch, an educator whose writings I follow has an editorial in this week's Time Magazine, offering her prescription for  improving American schools. The prescription is simple, fix our nation's poverty, and reduce class sizes. Abolish our fixation with standardized testing... a fixation that's never fixed anything despite pouring billions into the standardized testing industry and despite disrupting children's learning by testing and teaching to the test.

The fourth thing I'll offer on my own. When education is abstract, unrelated and irrelevant to the lives of children, they sit numbly through lessons. That may be what some educators want. Numb children are more
manageable. Of course the down side is that they're numb.

The alternative that we practice at the Clear Spring School is to use education to offer a grounding in doing real things. In the woodshop we are engaged in the use of real tools, using real materials, making real things. And that can serve as a model for transformation.The following quote from this blog served as the opening line for Matthew Crawford's Book Shop Class as Soulcraft and to frame his discussion in the closing chapter in one of his more recent books.
In Schools we create artificial learning environments for our children that they know to be contrived and undeserving of their full attention and engagement… Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract, and distant, and the passions for learning will not be engaged. --Wisdom of the Hands blog post of October 16, 2006
Children deserve to become fully engaged in their educations. Others might try it and will see that it works.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning lifewise


  1. Doug,

    Two of our grandchildren have been fortunate to be able to attend a Waldorf school and I know exactly what a child can be given in that sort of environment. Now we have to strive for a restructuring of our culture and economic system so that all children can have similar opportunities! With all the obscene wealth floating around in this country the argument that,"We can't afford it",is a lie.