The Case for Working With Your Hands – NYTimes.com

There is good reason to suppose that responsibility has to be installed in the foundation of your mental equipment — at the level of perception and habit. There is an ethic of paying attention that develops in the trades through hard experience. It inflects your perception of the world and your habitual responses to it. This is due to the immediate feedback you get from material objects and to the fact that the work is typically situated in face-to-face interactions between tradesman and customer.

An economy that is more entrepreneurial, less managerial, would be less subject to the kind of distortions that occur when corporate managers’ compensation is tied to the short-term profit of distant shareholders. For most entrepreneurs, profit is at once a more capacious and a more concrete thing than this. It is a calculation in which the intrinsic satisfactions of work count — not least, the exercise of your own powers of reason.

via The Case for Working With Your Hands – NYTimes.com.

It’s a brilliant article, and it suggests two things at once.  First, that students in school should learn how to work with wood, with metal, and yes, with plastic.  It should be as natural to our students and to us as working with words and grammar in the classroom.

But second, that we should in fact teach students to work with sketchbook and pencil and colored pens.  The process of drawing what we see, and what we want to see, is as critical a part of an education as building things, and interacting with real people. We need plumbers and motorcycle repairmen, yes.  We need artists and sculptors, and weavers, and potters, and basket-weavers.  And those people work with their hands, too.

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