Measuring educational potentiality of crafts

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Measuring educational potentiality of crafts

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Measuring Educational Potentiality of Crafts

PREFACE The importance of crafts has been widely recognised in any progressive system of education and yet their suitability or educational value remains unexplored in a strictly scientific manner. In Basic education craft occupies an important place as a meeting-point of the natural and social environment in which the child grows. The teaching of and through crafts. is a most significant feature of Basic education, and as such systematic and scientific study of the problem of selecting crafts acquires a special importance. Crafts such as spinning and weaving, clay modelling and pottery, gardening and agricul_. ture, leather work and metal w~rk are among those that are considered suitable for being taught in Basic schools. It is · necessary, howefer, to consider their suitability more scientifically: to what extent each of these crafts may be expected to arouse and sustain the interest of school children; the extent to which academic knowledge can be imparted through each of them; the extent to which each craft could be spread over the various grades in their gradually increasing difficulty and complexity etc. It is also necessary to find out which crafts are suitable for bemg introduced in urban areas. These and related considerations demand the development of certain factors for the selection of crafts in Basic schools. Several such factors could be considered, but it seems obvious that educational potentiality is an important factor to be kept in view. There is, therefore, a great need to take up investigations to measure educational potentiality of crafts. An investigation was undertaken at the National Institute of Basic Education for measuring educational potentiality of some commonly practised crafts. The investigation was carried out in three stages, and the memeographed interim report of two stages was sent out to prominent educationists and psychologists for comments. I take this opportunity of expressing our gratitude to all those who encouraged us with their kind IM Bdu.-t

(ii) words and offered valuable comments and suggestions. We should be grateful to receive critical reviews of this final report.

It may perhaps be necessary to point out the limitations of the study. The present investigation was based mainly on the opinions of various categories of persons. The line of approach has been judgemental, and as such, the study is prone to criticism. However, the careful selection of 'the sample and cross checkings by different methods have perhaps helped in achieving reliability of the observations. Moreover, the high degree of agreement among the different categories of respondents, as is clear from the last secti~n, indicates that the results shown here are fairly reliable. This limitation of approach has been mainly due to two reasons: firstly, there has not yet been any work in this line, and the present investigation had to be of an exploratory nature. Secondly, the paucity of staff and lack of facilities for practical field work on the par• of the National Institute of Basic Education, did not permit a more detailed and long-drawn investigation. And yet the nature of the problem was such that the investigation could not be postponed. The present investigation may, therefore, be taken to be an exploratory one. It is hoped that it has paved way for more systematic and thorough research work. It may also be pointed out that the crafts taken up in this

investigation are the most commonly practised crafts'. Since the study utilised rating schedules, new crafts could not be included in the study.

. National Institute of Basic Education New Delhi-14.



,..,. Preface


I lntroductien ti

Crafts in Education


Ill The Problem


IV Defining Educational Potentialitr


V The Procedure VI



Determlnln1 factors Con1titutin1 Ed11Catlonal Potentlallt1


Praparln1 th• Final List


VIII Dat•rminln1 Wel1hta1•• for th• Factor• IX



Ratln1 Some Cratts on Educational Potentiality

X Summary R•lor•nc••·




• I INTRODUCftON Craft bas been acclaimed as the pivotal activity in the programme . of Basic education. Ever since the beginning of Basic education various ·cra1u have been introduced in the Basic schools in the different parts of the coµntry. The criteria for selecting crafts for Basic institutiom are discussed in the literature on Basic education. But there has practically been no effort towards the analysis of the various crafts and their contribution to the child,s education. While selecting a craft for a Basic institution many factors or criteria have to be kept in view. In addition to the craft being basic to the economic life of the community, it should be capable of providing a good and effective medium of education, for as Mahatma Gandhi said "The .core of my suggestion is that the handicrafts are to be taught not merely for productive work but for developing the intellect of the pupils" (2, p. 8). It is for this reason that the educational possibilities of the various crafts should be explored. In some way this work is being done by various Basic institutions through the practice of the different crafts. Yet there seems to be a great need of starting work in this field. 1be work of systematically exploring the educational possibilities of crafts is quite new. There seems to be little work done in this direction even in the advanced countties where educational research bu laken long strides. Since fresh ground has to be broken, the wort bas to be done in the exploratory way and should be followed suit by timilar exploratory attempts.

II CRAFrS IN EDUCATION Crafts have acquired great importance in the educational progThough crafts were being practised rammes during recent times. ever since the beginning of human existence, their value for the child's education was recognised by the modern age only with the development of modem psycholo~. It is being increasingly realised that crafts provide suitable media for the development of the child through opportunities of self-expression, discipline and contact with raw materials, tools and social realities. The importance of craft work in the formal education of the child was realised in the West in the 19th century and it was in a Swedish school that handicraft was introduced as a subje.ct in 1872. Since then the importance of craft has gained more and more attention, a brief reference to which can be found elsewhere (12). It has been established on the basis of scientific studies that craft and other productive work (manual work) has a distinct contribution to make towards the development of human brain. 'I)e observation of Saunders, a leading psychologist, are worth noting in this respect. "The progressively higher development of the brain depends upon establishing connections between the motor and sensory centres, the practice of manual work aiding so effectively in developing these highly specialised complex centres that it leads finally to brilliant intelligence and a well-balanced mind. Progressive manual work for children from four to fifteen 'is thus not time lost but constitutes, on the contrary, the true and only procedure for normal development, since it opens up indeed the only road which Nature herself attempts to lead the child." (quoted in 14, p.184). The teaching of crafts gained importance because of the realisation of the need of 'training the senses'. "Until we are prepared to encourage the development of the se~es as much as we now do the intellect, the mental activity of imagination as much as we now do memory ... until then, our talk of educating the whoJe man is eyewash" (15, p.13). Craft work gives the child opportunities of using his hands and other sense organs as a result of which he gains rich experience. The educational importance of craft work was discussed well in an earlier publication ( 1) . As Gandhiji said, "My point is not that the start should be made with crafts and the rest should come in as auxiliaries. On the contrary, I have said that the whole of general education shouJd come thro' the crafts and simultaneously with their progress." (5, p. 12). Various aims have been mentioned to be associated with the place of crafts in education. The report of the International Bureau of Education on the teaching of handicrafts mentions that "Practically 2

3 every country replyin$ to the enquiry agrees that the prime aim of handicrafts may be given in terms of their educational value. The subject is accorded an essential part in the forming of character and the education of the will. It demands attention, concentration, perseverance, accuracy and method, and creates habits of orderlinCS6, neatness, precision and foresightn ( 19, p.12). In addition, the report. shows that handicrafts are introduced for developing 'Wholeness of personality, team spirit, respect for manual work, awareness of ~auty, satisfaction of creative urge etc. . · In one of the latest reviews of the educational situation in U.S.S.R. a Soviet educationist while pointing - out the spots where improvement is needed has remarked "In classes 1 to 7 the time allocated for practical .work and agriculture must be increased" (10, p.39). On the basis of the reports received from various schools and teachers, the same author observes, "The participation_ of the pupils in productive work whether in industry or agriculture, has a tremendous effect 011 strengthening discipline and stimulates interest in the studies,. (10, p.42). As Mahatma Gandhi observed, "Literacy itself is no education. I would therefore begin the child's education by teaching it a useful handicraft and enabling it to produce from the moment it begins its training." (5, p.4). Any amount of evidence for the educational significance of crafts could be given. However, the importance of crafts in Basic education is even more, since craft occupies a central place in this system of education and is used as a basis of correlation of knowledge. "Let us now cry a halt and concentrate on educating the child properly through manual work, not as a side activity, but as the prime means of intellectual training", said Mahatma Gandhi (3, p.257). His famous declaration: "My plan to impart primary education through the medium of village handicrafts like spinning and carding etc., is thus conceived as the spear-head of a silent social revolution fraught with the most far-reaching consequences" (3, p.259), indicates the importance of the experiment. The essence of Basic education can be summarised in the words of Mahatma Gandhi : "It means a new educational technique where progressive self-reliance in all respects of . a healthy and balanced life--«nomic, physical, social, moral and cultural-forms the medium of education; and the necessary knowledge of subject matter is given, habits and attitudes formed, and faculties developed, through this process" (2, p.10). In Basic educa· tion "Productive work should not only fom;i a part of the school curriculum-·its craft side-but should also inspire the method of teaching all other subjects" ( 6, p. 94). The principle of using craft and productive work as the medium of education is being increasingly given importance in other countrim also. The report of International Bureau of Education has indicated that crafts "are highly valued as a means of presenting the content of other subjects in a concrete form" (18, p.15). A circular of Argentcnian Ministry of Education which stresses the importance of craft as "an . instrument of illustration and demonstration for all

4 subP." is quite interesting. The following words from a recent publication indicate how the importance of crafts and productne wOrk: is being realised now. "How far should practical work, and tbe mformational subjects too, for that matter, be treated as a vehicle for teaching the basic tool subjects ? But there is no reason at all why Ibey should not accept the importance of the approach to these skills through their practical subjects, and having accepted it, be on the watch 19 use every opportunity for putting it into effect. Now the craft becomes the focus and the informational material · is related to it" (5, p. S8-S9).



As briefly outlined above, craft occupies a central place in the

scheme of Basic education for its importance as the basis of correlation and for its value as a medium of creative and productive work. Every school has to make provision for some crafts which can be utilised for these purposes. A school has, therefore, to face the problem of the selection of crafts to be adopted. The problem of selection is governed by several factors. The craft chosen, for example, has to be related to the community; it should form the economic basis of the life of the community. The most important consideration in this regard is the educational possibilities which are afforded by the craft to be selected. The craft has to serve the education of the child and should, therefore, be full of such possibilities. The importance of the selection of crafts on the basis of their educational potentially is being realised because of the gradual expansion of Basic education in urban areas. More importance will be given to the consideration of educational potentiality while selecting a craft for urban schools than to any other factor. The problem of selection of crafts for urban schools is growing in importance and has to be met effectively. The necessity of considering educational potentiality of crafts has been pointed out by Basic education experts themselves. Zakir Hussain Committee concretised this theory by working out syllabii-rotating the curriculum round three centres : the child's social environment, his physical environment and a basic craft. The craft has seen as the natural meeting place of both the physical and the social environment: man was viewed as having conquered nature in and through work. Suggestions were made in the report for relating a considerable amount of mathematics, social studies, science and language arts to craft activities. Two basic considerations were made prerequisite to selection of these activities : first, that the craft be rich in educative possibilities, and second, that the craft be a means towards enriching important human activities and interests. The objective was "not primarily the production of craftsmen able to practise some craft mechanically, but rather the exploitation for education purposes of the resources implicit in craft work." (6, p. 122). The conference has also warned: ''There is an obvious danger that in the working of this ~heme the economic aspect may be str~ed at the sacrifice of the cultural and educational objectives" (6, p.97). Mahatma Gandhi has stressed the importance of crafts in education as they "would promote the real, disciplined development of the mind resulting in conservation of the intellectual energy and indirectly also the spiritual" ( 8, p.44). He stressed: "The core of my suggestion is that handicrafts are to be taught, not merely for productive work, but for developing the intellect of the pupils" (2, p.8). The educative possibilities and their exploitation have been discussed at various places