21 Reasons Why School Wood Shops are Important in the 21st Century

Doug Stowe (Wisdom of the Hands.com), Leroy Noyes, and Jack Grube (Pinkerton Academy and Founder of NEAWT - New England Association of Woodworking Teachers) developed the following list for NEAWT teachers in 2003.  

A quality woodworking program provides experiences far more important than those
typically associated with wood shop. Courses, like woodworking, where students use their
hands build confidence, strength of character, and problem solving capabilities useful in all
careers and in every educational experience. Furthermore, working with a natural material
in a creative manner assists students in connecting the relevance of other subject material
to their daily lives.

Woodworking education:

  1. Assists students in communicating and understanding ideas non-verbally, through sketches and technical drawings.
  2. Enhances the skills of spatial visualization required for geometry, trigonometry and algebra, thereby helping students to prepare for careers in engineering, architecture and science.
  3. Provides students with take-home, physical evidence of their mastery of skills.
  4. Instills a pride of accomplishment and self-esteem.
  5. Gives the student the opportunity to execute precise work and to produce useful products, and become “self-assessors” using measuring tools, squares, etc. and then the fit of things to self-assess the quality of their work.
  6. Trains the eye and hand to see accurately and to feel the sense of beauty in form.
  7. Inculcates the habits of attention, perseverance and patience.
  8. Offers opportunities for students to go where their hearts demand by selecting designs and projects that motivate them not only as a woodworker but also as a student.
  9. Provides opportunities for students to overcome setbacks that occur when working on real objects.
  10. Provides relevancy of other subject matter to their lives, thereby preparing them for a  lifetime of learning.
  11. Provides non-academic areas for demonstration of skills and pursuit of excellence.
  12. Provides a non-contrived opportunity for engagement of multiple intelligences.
  13. Provides an opportunity to engage physically and actively in learning exercises.
  14. Provides an opportunity for engagement and success even for those disinclined for academic involvement.
  15. Helps students gain confidence as real world problem solvers.
  16. Helps students gain confidence in tools use and learn safety considerations required for a career, lifetime of general home maintenance or a life-long hobby.
  17. Offers an appreciation for the values inherent in physical labor and the work contributions of others.
  18. Connects students to thousands of years of human creative endeavor.
  19. Provides a much-needed break from oppressive classroom routine.
  20. Helps students to better understand the sources and process of technological change, placing human development in historical context.
  21. Is a class that students enjoy!
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