Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hands On

I'm following an online discussion about the value of "vo-tech". Much of the conversation is about how not everyone was meant to go to college, and that we are short-changing students by not giving them more options. I agree. However, I also think that all children benefit from hands-on learning.

I want a variety of hands on educational experiences available for kids at all academic levels. We often cut off bright kids from experiential learning because we assume they are just great big brains that are carried from class to class by subservient bodies. 

Can you tell I care about this?

I'm sharing the following post, written by my husband, HCPSS teacher Richard McCready, about the why and how of hands-on learning. It was written in 2011 for his blog, mustechalley. 

Making Sawdust

The best creativity lesson I ever had was from a wood shop teacher! I was lucky enough to spend six years teaching in the next classroom to this amazing educator, and I am eternally grateful for the lessons I learned from him.

At the beginning of every school year, the kids would "make sawdust" for a week. He gave them some wood tools and a stack of scrap wood, and for a week they ran to class each day to nail, chisel, drill, hammer, pound, saw, gouge and obliterate that wood. All the time through that week the teacher high-fived and fist-bumped them as more and more wood got destroyed and more sawdust piled up on the floor. By the end of the week, the place was covered in sawdust and the weirdest assortment of misshapen wood pieces. In week two, the teacher then went on to begin the process of turning these kids into woodworkers. It was only then that he began to have them listen to him as he explained how the tools worked, and went over the rules of safety that were necessary in the shop.......and by that stage, even though it was mandated that he give these talks in his curriculum, the children had already learned it all just by play......sheer unadulterated joyous play! 

For each and every day for six years when I taught in the next classroom beside this guy, the children would run to class because they knew it was fun and safe to create, and they would always bring me their birds and boats and cars which they lovingly built and carved and painted, so that I could see their creations, and they became lifelong lovers of the art of creation with wood. Every day, I hope that my students love to create as much as they love to play, and love to play as much as they love to create.

-- Richard A. McCready, November 2011

Learning to take direction
Pride in work

These are all essential elements for the learning, growth, and joy which make for the kind of quality of life that should be open to everyone.

Should we bring back Vo-Tech? Should we bring back life balance? Should we bring back valuing our five senses and the value of bodies connected to brains? 

What will become of us if we don't?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.