I have a question, and am eager to hear as many responses as possible.
I was asked to give a talk on “The Value of Handwork” recently to students at Evergreen College. Their teacher, Dr. Hirsh Diamant, is familiar with Waldorf Education, both as a scholar and as a parent and grandparent. His undergraduate course is “The Child and Art”, and he has a large class of around 50 students.
I had heard from various sources that there would likely be a number of neuro-diverse students in the class. Indeed, as we were working on finger crochet and ‘mind the gap’ braiding, and having talked about the rhythmic, repetitive movements of traditional handwork, and how they boost serotonin levels, several students asked in various ways “What about just enjoying the process, why does it have to be USED for something?”
As a teacher, I’ve always wanted to set a reasonable goal, then be sure to find ways for the students to reach it. If I’m making a hat, and the hat is not made, then there is something askew (dishonest?) about saying I’ve been making a hat.
What do you think? How does that work in a class setting? How do you juggle the needs of an individual who might just need to repeat, and repeat, and self-soothe through simple handwork, and the needs of a class to move along?
I’m headed back for Part 2 on October 22, I’d be grateful to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments!