Bob Beeching wrote:
> 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 -
> 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."