I’ve been researching the role of crafting on the learning process recently. There is a mountain of how-to information on crafting, but most of it on how-to-do things; the questions of why and what are the impacts are aren’t as common. Since crafting is one of the seven core elements of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School process, and working with the hands to make useful items is a large part of our immersion programs, I’ve been studying to expand our curriculum to include more about the impact of crafting on learning.
I’m currently reading Frank R. Wilson’s book The Hand; How it’s use shapes the brain, language, and human culture, from which I pulled this quotation on page 7:
I would argue that any theory of human intelligence which ignores the interdependence of hand and brain function, the historic origins of that relationship, or the impact of that history on developmental dynamics in modern humans, is grossly misleading and sterile.
The hand is certainly discounted in modern education. But at what cost to the learner? I believe strongly that know-how, or being able to do accomplish practical tasks, is equally as important as, and a foundation of, abstract thinking.