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Lesson Plans


Idle Fingers

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Bob Beeching (robprod)
Fri, 3 Sep 1999 14:23:52 -0700


IDLE FINGERS

"I only draw with software" is the line description under a New Yorker
cartoon showing a young boy watching a girl drawing with a felt-tip marker.
When one thinks about it, how much of a school day relies on "hand
production" beyond writing and computing?

>From Rousseau, Dewey, Piaget, Vyotsky, to Egan, "dull pedagogues took the
forms of knowledge that made up the curriculum, organized them into what
seemed the best logical order, then beat them into the students" has not
changed appreciably in this century. "Sarason says that education can
succeed only when it understands that 'every human being is born with the
potential to be creative and artistic.'"

As we begin a new school year, we must ask ourselves how much of what is
presented in the classroom involves a student's "hands" and "interest"? Much
of what goes on under the label of "disciplinary action" can be laid at the
door of student disinterest. For example, ten year-olds are more interested
in the statistics found in the Guinness Book of Records, than they are in
any history text, because the book deals with romanticism and realities of
this age group. Those teachers who incorporate the learning of "myths"
within the curriculum find storytelling is a much more dramatic and powerful
an agent of cultural transmission than is any textbook ritual.

This is not so much a unique personal observation as it is a restatement of
a demonstrable fact that children learn far more from doing than they do
from reading, writing, and talking. Reading, writing, and talking should be
incorporated after the fact of doing.

When children are allowed to draw, paint, and to construct their visions of
their environments - their hopes, fantasies, and desires - they are in a far
better position to describe these events in words, not the other way round.
"When we impose adult values upon children; that we must shape the young to
the current norms and conventions of adult society; that we must teach them
the knowledge that their thinking conforms with what is real and true about
the world, we tend to forget what it was like when we first began to learn -
anything.

We all can benefit from a review of John Dewey's "Art as Experience" where
he lays out the understanding of the nature of the artistic impulse and its
relations to both ordinary life and human activity.

Parts excerpted from neurologist, Frank Wilson's book on "THE HAND."

_______________________________________________rb


  • Reply: Woody Duncan: "Re: Idle Fingers"