Sigh. Tomorrow I return to work after two full weeks of Winter Break. The week was a leisurely one but not altogether unproductive. I relished the time I spent playing with my paper, scissors and glue. There is something distinctly therapeutic and relaxing about using these simple materials and tools to form a creation that is so different from its beginnings.
When I began my teaching career, lo those many years ago, I taught preschool and early elementary students. One of most important skills students needed to master was to develop the hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity to cut along dotted line and then glue their masterpiece into a designated area on the paper. Most four and five year olds could spend an hour just happily cutting away until they were left with a glorious pile of construction paper confetti. I think they must have felt a bit empowered to change the shape of something into whatever form they desired. The process was as important, if not more important than the product.
There's a lot to be said for process. I think that the love of process is what motivates us to learn, to create, to eventually produce something of intrinsic value. But too often people, and students in particular, are acknowledged only for what they produce; they are rarely, if ever, acknowledged for their process, or their love for it, after those golden early elementary years.
To instill a love of process is to foster a love of learning. To cut, to glue, to write, to read, to create, to discover, to explore....these are the processes that create life-long learners. Maybe this is my educational philosophy; cut paper as though there were no dotted lines...and love it for a life-time.