Wednesday, September 01, 2021

anchored by experience

There are reasons that Educational Sloyd should be important, even to the educators of today. In Salomon’s Theory of Educational Sloyd he laid out basic principles of education that extend far beyond the realm of the manual arts. And while it would be unlikely that those engaged in academic style teaching would accept that they might have something to learn about learning from manual arts education, the principles are as universal as they are concise. They are: 

  • Start with the interests of the child. 
  • Move incrementally from the known to the unknown,
  • And from the easy to the more difficult. 
  • Move from the simple to the more complex 
  • and always from the concrete to the abstract. 

Educational psychologist Jerome Bruner without offering such detail and a hundred years later called this “scaffolding.” Each new learning event if properly "scaffolded" is anchored by prior experience. It is in the failure to connect between the concrete and abstract that our greatest educational failings lie, and this is not only apparent in first grade, but in University training as well. 

Where each new learning event is properly anchored it becomes part of what we call "a body of knowledge." A body of knowledge is more than disconnected facts. And it serves to propel students toward lifelong learning and service to others.

I'm busy planning my twentieth year of teaching at the Clear Spring School and will spend some time looking back on what we've done and learned.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

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