Tinkering

In a recent column, Michael Barone reflects on the changing world of work, observing that  ”Today’s young people can’t expect to join large organizations and in effect ride escalators for the rest of their careers.”   The dynamics of technological and economic change will increasingly demand that people create their own careers.

A pressing question, then, is whether a generation trained in the models of schooling that prevail today will have the creativity and personal resilience necessary for a life trajectory where the escalators offer long and short rides and also go down as well as up.

We should be paying more attention to interesting alternatives such as The Tinkering School, founded by Gever Tulley in 2005.  The Tinkering School was created “in order to learn how children become competent and to explore the notion that kids can build anything, and through building, learn anything. The foundation of Tinkering School is putting power-tools in the hands of 8 year-olds; using real tools and real materials to build big projects.”

My 12-year old would love to attend, but the summer programs everywhere around the country are already full!  We’ll try to be earlier in line next year, but hopefully this market will expand!

Additional worthwhile reading:

Science fiction author David Brin recently published The Tinkerers, a graphic novel that echoes the theme.

Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft is another essential read, emphasizing how doing things with our hands also does things for our heads.

In a little different vein, but with a message that aligns well, is Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods.