Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 37
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    105

    Default Educational Sloyd?

    I am curious about woodworking education in Australia. Here in the US, most schools have dropped it. We have "no child left behind." Which means that means that schools teach whatever is needed to pass the test, but have eliminated the arts and crafts formerly associated with learning to be competent human beings.

    Educational Sloyd was a Swedish system of woodworking education that was promoted throughout the world, including the US and UK, and I am wondering if there is any remembrance of it in Australian schools and the woodworking community?

    I have been actively engaged in researching it here in the US and have visited in Sweden to attend a conference and visit the original home of Sloyd near Gothenburg.

    The point of sloyd that I have found significant was that it clearly recognized the relationship between the use of the hands and the development of intelligence. And it provided a clear rationale for engaging children in creative hands-on exploration instead of sitting with hands folded in classrooms, bored to death, learning to be little more than complaisant consumers of foreign made electronic apparati.

    If any of you have any clear knowledge, remembrance or experience in Sloyd education, I would love to hear about it. I have published 4 articles in Woodwork magazine about Sloyd and have 2 more coming out in the next issue.

    very best wishes,

    Doug
    Where neither skill nor craftsmanship are present, can it be called art?

    http://dougstowe.com
    http://wisdomofhands.blogspot.com
    http://boxmaking101.com/Site/Welcome.html

  2. # ADS
    Google Adsense Advertisement
    Join Date
    Always
    Location
    Advertising world
    Posts
    Many





     
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Up North
    Posts
    1,802

    Default

    As a kid in Denmark it was very actively encouraged ( it is spelled sløjd in Danish)).
    Not just in schools but in after school and day care centres. We even had after school classes and, oh boy, was the waiting list long.
    As a young school leaver I was working in a full day kindergarten and we even taught the littlies from 3 years onwards to do all sorts of craft.
    My earliest recollection of my learning woodcraft, is sitting at the workbench with a coping/fret saw and a jig clamped to the edge of the bench. It was a rectangular piece of 10 mm plywood with a wide V groove ending in a 10 mm round hole. We actually did a lot of fretworking in cleaned up shin bones from cattle that we had to resaw ourselves.
    I still have the little letter opener I made, about 100mm long, with the handle cut out like a horse's head and a flowing mane. I think I was about 5 or 6 years old when I made it. It even has a little sheath made in red patent leather and white lacing.
    If nothing else,, it taught us to concentrate on what we were doing and a lot of pride in the finished result.
    What a pity those things are considered unneccessary skills these days.
    You have just given me a very pleasant trip down Memory Lane.
    Thank you
    Wolffie
    Every day is better than yesterday

    Cheers
    SAISAY

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    1,153

    Default

    Doug

    I was educated here in Australia in the private system and while we had a token woodworking and metalworking course in our school while well equipped it was clearly looked at as something for the "limited" student and in my case was told that I possessed no aptitude for woodwork whatsoever and was moved forcibly to the metalworking class.
    I am aware of the Sloyd system but only from my later interest and investigation into the arts and crafts.

    The whole "no child left behind" concept is a particularly stupid one and amounts to a forced intellectual socialism where the whole thing is dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Socially it seems to me the USA has far more regard for the skills and abilities of its artists and craftspeople that we do over here. For a county that prides itself on being "classless" we have some very definite divisions of class socially if not legally.
    We have not quiet gone down that path here yet but our school system fails at helping both the very bright and the more challenged students. Homogeneity is the unstated goal of education in this country and they are doing a fine job of it too!
    I fitted into both catagories depending how you looked at it on the one hand I tested very high on the IQ scale and on the other when I didnt perform as expected I was put into either low or remedial classes. In fact they just about convinced me I was stupid.

    Ross
    Ross
    "All government in essence," says Emerson, "is tyranny." It matters not whether it is government by divine right or majority rule. In every instance its aim is the absolute subordination of the individual.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Westleigh, Sydney
    Age
    70
    Posts
    8,312

    Default

    Doug, I remember my grandfather telling me about sloyd which he did at school in the 1880-90s. From what he said, it seemed like a sort of freehand woodwork.
    IIRC, one of my cheap carving tools is called a sloyd knife, sort of like a blade at an angle to the handle.
    Visit my website
    Website
    Facebook

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dundowran Beach
    Age
    69
    Posts
    19,521

    Thumbs up Manual arts and all else that is good.

    One of my great joys at "junior" high school - no, thre of my great joys- were woodwork, meatalwork and tech. drawing. I was luck to be in the position to do all three because our income level at home precluded my attendance at the fully fledged high school some 9 miles away. I only carried tech. drawing to the leaving certificate.

    I am eternally grateful for the grounding I was given and the great teachers I had who encouraged me at every turn. There is not one skill I learnt that I have not employed at least several times since leaving school.

    A couple of years after I started high school the Wyndham scheme was introduced in NSW. It effectively put an extra year at the beginning of HS and was designed to allow students to sample subjects in that year before deciding on their path through the remainder of HS. I felt it was agood system but over the years its intent and integrity were eroded. The same old hairy chestnut of manual arts being for the less gifted or able reared its ugly head more and more.

    Even today there seems to a disdainful view by many of these subjects.to the extent that many classes are disrupted by bored students and those who are there for good and proper reason don't get a fair go. Refer to posts by my feathered friend, Funky Chicken, to confirm this. I applaud our young forumites for their dedication and persistence in persuing their goals, and the teachers who support them.


    It also appears that there is a drift towards allowing schools to decide whetther or not they will place due emphasis on manual arts subjects. Some schools I know of in Victoria have MAD (Make And Do ) programs for their students at senior level.
    I know in my field - Special Education- some principals have cut manual arts type programs from the shool's syllabus. This is a move I deplore.

    As a result of muddled thinking and program implementation many young people entering apprenticeships have a poor grounding in basic hand skills. This shows in the standard of workmanship that has now become acceptable in some apprenticeship training.

    It will be interesting to see how the new thinking on approaches to schooling and transition to work via schemes such as school based apprenticeships will pan out.

    I could go on but I might begin to sound like a sour old curmudgeon. Anyway its' food for thought.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Buderim, Qld
    Posts
    65

    Default

    Doug

    In Melbourne, Victoria in the mid 1950s, in what were called 'Central schools' (which comprised year 7 and year 8 classes and fed into academically oriented high schools, although most of the high schools, which were rapidly increasing in numbers at this time, also taught years 7 & 8) boys were taught woodwork and girls needlework. The woodwork classes were called sloyd, but if I remember correctly, not so much by the teachers, as by the pupils. I, and probably all my classmates, thought this was just schoolboy slang.

    From what I have learnt later about the sloyd movement, we were given a somewhat degenerate form, at least at my school. Although we did learn some basic woodworking techniques which stood me in good stead later in life, we were taught by somewhat obsessive martinets, and the underlying philosophy of sloyd, which was very sound, did not really seem present. Our school did not have the wooodworking workshops, and we had to make our own way to another school, a couple of miles away, for the classes. These were for half a day, either once a week or a fortnight. (On reconsideration, woodwork may only have been taught in year 7.)

    Victoria also had a very good system of technical schools, which covered classes from years 7 to 10, and which taught woodwork and metalwork, technical drawing, etc. At that time, technical schools were mainly for children who intended to go into the trades, although it was possible to switch between the technical and high school systems.

    My high school (Melbourne High) did offer woodwork classes in years 9 and I think 10, but only a small percentage of boys took it, and they tended to be those who did not intend to go on to university.

    I expect that you would find that there are a number of academic theses on sloyd and technical education in Australia. Many years ago, one of Australia's literary intellectuals, Stephen Murray-Smith, did his Ph.D on the history of technical education, either in Victoria or Australia.

    I, and no doubt many other forum members, would be interested in your writings about sloyd. Could you post the details on the forum (or better still, links to the articles) so we can read them?

    Best of luck with your endeavours,

    Ron

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tallahassee FL USA
    Age
    75
    Posts
    4,578

    Default

    Ever so slightly off topic of your original enquiry, Doug, but you've strummed a resonant chord with me. You're closer to the educational regime, so some of my interpretations may be off base.

    It seems a lot of manual arts have been dropped because of liability issues, although some schools may (I hope) have found a way around it. Education nowadays seems to be based on the theory that all should attend college. College programs are thus dumbed down to accommodate this theory, and a college degree is now required to operate a tow truck. (OK, I admit this is hyperbole.) In older times, an IQ of about 120 was considered minimum for survival in college. Considering that, by definition IQ of 100 is average, and some higher IQs have no taste for such collegiate rigor, about half of students are ill-served by current theories. And neither industry nor the professions benefit.

    Some community colleges and technical institutes may offer classes, but much of the "hi-tech" work seems little more than administrivia.

    There may be hope, though. A recent book, entitled "The Craftsman," by Richard Sennett, ISBN 978-0-300-11909-1, offers the notion that a desire to do a job well for its own sake confers value in any field of endeavour across the entire spectrum of work. I've read only the first few pages, but one review asserts "The loss of craftsmanship - and of a society that values it - has impoverished us in ways we have long forgotten but Sennett helps us understand." Less than US$30 almost anywhere.

    And, to come full circle, even administrivia can be executed with finesse I suppose.

    Joe
    Of course truth is stranger than fiction.
    Fiction has to make sense. - Mark Twain

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    105

    Default remembrances

    I want to thank all of you for sharing your remembrances and observations about sloyd. Here in the US, it had been nearly completely forgotten to the point that the only token of it was the knife sold in the Woodcraft Catalog. Obviously it did find its way to Australia as well.

    Can a person post a .pdf file to this forum? Or, I may have to load articles to my website where they can be downloaded. Since they are copyrighted materials from magazines, I need to be careful how they are handled.

    I was put in the "college prep" or academic track when I was in high school, and went to college to be prepared for law school. A friend (the only true craftsman I knew) helped me to restore an antique Ford, and observed, "I don't know why you would study to be a lawyer when your brains are so clearly in your hands." That observation turned my life on a dime, and as a practicing craftsman I have had thousands of opportunities to see how the use of the hands is so integral to functional intelligence, and have led me to the conclusion that much of the stupidity rampant in the world is derived from the denigration of the hand and hand work in human life.

    Socrates, and Greeks even before him believed that hand work of any kind was to be avoided by citizens as it was degrading of intellect and social class. Even the wives of citizens were thought diminished by knitting or sewing. Can you believe such crap?

    So anyway, I will figure out a way to share some articles and if you are interested, check out my blog, Wisdom of the Hands where I share a world view that is a bit different because it comes from thinking with the full engagement and recognition of skilled hands. The blog address is below.
    Where neither skill nor craftsmanship are present, can it be called art?

    http://dougstowe.com
    http://wisdomofhands.blogspot.com
    http://boxmaking101.com/Site/Welcome.html

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Avoca Victoria
    Age
    74
    Posts
    10,502

    Default

    Yes Doug,
    pdf files can be attached to a post.
    Up to about 393k.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tallahassee FL USA
    Age
    75
    Posts
    4,578

    Default

    You beat me to it, Noel.

    When you post a reply, or initiate a thread, scroll down to the "Manage Attachments" field. PDF is one of the available formats, and maximum sizes of each format should be displayed. FAQs from the menu bar can also provide insight. Copyrighted material must have a legitimate trail of authorization. Links can be entered in text of messages, the same as in your signature. No copyright problems there, but links to obscene material will be deleted, sometimes with an entire thread if in the moderators' judgment.

    Joe
    Of course truth is stranger than fiction.
    Fiction has to make sense. - Mark Twain

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Avoca Victoria
    Age
    74
    Posts
    10,502

    Default

    Gee Joe,
    Couldn't have said it better myself!!
    Thanks Mate.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    19,608

    Default

    I teach science at a university and have observed a gradual decline in hand skills of high school students. This often limits what they can do in projects and ultimately in real world jobs. We even used to teach some of that ourselves but budget cuts, shorter semesters, and space problems means all our labs and workshops are completely minimalized or closed down.

    I just love the mature age ex boilermaker Astronomy student who started to whip up a Radio Astronomy antennae from weldmesh in the staff car park in the rain on a friday afternoon and had it collecting data by Saturday morning. Or the ex-telstra techo who is doing a PhD. As part of his PhD project he joins an international experimental team of scientists that come from all over the world to go into the desert to make some very sensitive measurements. One of the senior guys damages some vital piece of electrons and ex-telstra tech breaks open and fixes a multilayered daughter board in the middle of the desert at 3am to rescue the whole exercise. Or the PhD student who goes into the workshop and mills and turns his own PVC housings for a hyperspectral spectrometer because his budget of $1500 couldn't quite purchase the $50k commercial equivalent. We have a heap more - these guys are GOLD!

    Cheers
    Please note: All advice provided by me should be checked by a qualified professional.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    105

    Default Beginning Sloyd

    Some of my articles have too large of file sizes so can't be posted until I find a way to reduced them. This .pdf should not be reproduced without crediting the publisher, Woodwork Magazine in the US.

    The idea of this article was to demonstrate the use of Sloyd in the Clear Spring School, and the project was done at the 1st and 2nd grade level. Our woodworking program at Clear Spring is not intended to duplicate Sloyd from the 1890's, but to prove to usefulness of hands-on education for all children, not just those not going to college. Woodworking is a favorite activity for all children at Clear Spring School, from pre-school through high school.

    I am glad there is some interest. I'll post a few other articles later on, but give a break between so you don't get bored with my obsessive concerns.

    Doug
    Where neither skill nor craftsmanship are present, can it be called art?

    http://dougstowe.com
    http://wisdomofhands.blogspot.com
    http://boxmaking101.com/Site/Welcome.html

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Avoca Victoria
    Age
    74
    Posts
    10,502

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    I teach science at a university and have observed a gradual decline in hand skills of high school students. This often limits what they can do in projects and ultimately in real world jobs. We even used to teach some of that ourselves but budget cuts, shorter semesters, and space problems means all our labs and workshops are completely minimalized or closed down.

    I just love the mature age ex boilermaker Astronomy student who started to whip up a Radio Astronomy antennae from weldmesh in the staff car park in the rain on a friday afternoon and had it collecting data by Saturday morning. Or the ex-telstra techo who is doing a PhD. As part of his PhD project he joins an international experimental team of scientists that come from all over the world to go into the desert to make some very sensitive measurements. One of the senior guys damages some vital piece of electrons and ex-telstra tech breaks open and fixes a multilayered daughter board in the middle of the desert at 3am to rescue the whole exercise. Or the PhD student who goes into the workshop and mills and turns his own PVC housings for a hyperspectral spectrometer because his budget of $1500 couldn't quite purchase the $50k commercial equivalent. We have a heap more - these guys are GOLD!

    Cheers
    Love 'em

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Avoca Victoria
    Age
    74
    Posts
    10,502

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DougStowe View Post
    Some of my articles have too large of file sizes so can't be posted until I find a way to reduced them.
    Doug

    Doug,
    you can do a "Part 1 Part 2" type of post if you can split your pdf file into two parts.
    I've done it by "print to pdf" pages 1 to whatever" and then "print to pdf" the rest of the file for the second post.
    Cumbersome, but it works.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 2nd Apr 2007, 02:04 PM
  2. An educational toy - a balance beam
    By Rocker in forum WOODWORK PICS
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 15th Aug 2005, 09:20 PM
  3. Educational Joke
    By Barry_White in forum WOODIES JOKES
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 25th Sep 2004, 10:32 AM
  4. educational wood video
    By SDeacon in forum ANNOUNCEMENTS
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 7th Feb 2000, 11:04 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •