Crafting Gentleness

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Teaching and craft

The practice of a craft now includes the teaching of it for so many craftsmen that we need to look at this teaching more carefully, as part of our study of craft. In the field of education teaching is often regarded as a craft in itself and I wonder if perhaps thinking of teaching in this way, as a separate entity from the material it deals with, isn’t either a symptom or even a cause of the poor quality of much of modern education. Because teaching, the relationship between teacher, student, and material, is so difficult to understand, there is a tendency to simplify the problem by separating education itself from the field in which the education takes place. This separation has the effect of cutting teacher off from a natural cycle: to receive/take in, to produce/express, to give back/transmit. When we regard education as a thing apart, we lead inevitably to the partial truth that "those who can’t do, teach."

(Carla Needleman, The Work of Craft, 1993, 2nd ed, p. 113)


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