Saturday, February 08, 2020

standing on shoulders broader than our own

A very dear reader suggested that in my last post I was bragging while I thought I was making a point that not all that needs to be taught in schools will be something measurable by degrees or academic attainment. I do not want to disparage those who work hard to attain academic credentials, but do suggest that they are made richer by engagement in the real world, a thing often ignored in the halls of university training. There's the abstract and the concrete, and we know that learning must, in order to be most effective, move from the concrete to the abstract and not the other way around.

Yesterday I took part in a panel at the Arkansas Arts Council to select the next Arkansas Living Treasure from a field of 8 or nine nominees. Taking part in such panels is part of the responsibility I have for having received the award in in 2009.

The award is for excellence in the practice of traditional crafts, and for pushing those traditions into the future. It's not enough to be good at what you do. You must also demonstrate your commitment to education. As I told a friend, no craftsman is an island unto himself. We most often stand upon shoulders broader than our own, and have a responsibility after being lifted, to lift those around us.

Last Wednesday we were missing some students due to bad weather, and so with a reduced class size, I invited our 4th and 5th grade teacher to assist a third grade student as he made his first efforts to turn on the lathe. Chris had been one of my students years ago, and it felt special to have him re-engaged at the lathe. We do stand on the shoulders of others, and while we may brag on occasion, it is truly best to acknowledge that whatever we do or have done there are certain things we must not forget.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.

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