[Comment is Free] A crafty way to educate children

If you’ve had a look at my Writing page, then you’ve probably noticed that I have a bit of a thing for crafts. And now Comment is Free at the Guardian has provided me with a platform to declare my love of making stuff, and my hope that more schools will give their pupils the opportunity to learn practical skills:

The idea that an education should train your hands as well as your head has been consistently chipped away at over the last 30 years. Up until 1975, UK secondary schools offered pupils training in home economics and textiles (for the girls) and woodwork and metalwork (for the boys). The Sex Discrimination Act banned gender-specific classes and helped to undermine the stringent channelling of children into “domestic” or “labouring” futures, but it also – as Joanna Turney explains in a recent book – forced schools to compress craft education into nothing more than a set of “taster classes”.

To find out what I think about craft and class, the domestic in drag, and how compulsory metalwork can be a progressive force (YES IT CAN) – read the rest of the article…

Text © Sarah Ditum, 2009

One thought on “[Comment is Free] A crafty way to educate children

  1. Interesting reading. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the neglect of practical skills training. As a science teacher I have found as the years progress that there seems to be a fall in the quality of the fine motor skills of my students. This is a great shame. Mine is a subject in which I can use my curriculum to engage the most unwilling and uncooperative of learners – ‘Are we doing practical today, Miss?’ – and for many the practical subjects are the only ones in which they can really excel. Many see the purely academic pursuits as unwinnable, and so rather than face failure choose not to take part. For these students in particular practical, craft-based lessons provide not only valuable life skills but offer the chance to experience success. I certainly wish I could provide more such opportunities.

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