Knowing how to read, write, count, draw, cook, tinker, use software, document, develop one's perceptions, estimations, work methods, communication skills, teamwork, develop one's strength, intelligence, resourcefulness, empathy, openness... the list of desirable skills to master can be long. In education, one wishes to approach a certain human ideal that varies according to civilizations but is normally oriented towards "living better."
I come from a time when we did not learn much of anything concrete in school. We read, studied and prayed. We didn't learn to criticize but to believe. We had already thought for ourselves. The useful things were not there; we learned them in the schoolyard or at home if we were lucky enough to have parents present, which was not often the case. Fortunately, there were the older brothers and sisters; we could make "fun chemistry" and cakes, climb trees and nail boards, put a patch on a piece of clothing, shoot a piece of film in 8 mn or fix a flat tire on our bike. Today school is frankly more interesting but not necessarily much more practical, the practicality is more on the "extracurricular" side.
Concrete skills make people more self-reliant, more confident and at the same time more reliable. Skilled people are able to cope with the indifference of the matter, to tolerate uncertainty, to find solutions more easily. The abilities of estimation, observation or organization are not developed so much in books or on parameterized games but in the field, in action. Simulations can certainly help and be an interesting step, but reality is not easily imitated. Murphy's Law occasionally reminds us of this. "If there is more than one way to do something and that way can lead to a catastrophe, you can be sure that, one day, someone will take it." Having hands-on experience is irreplaceable.
The appeal of daredevil activities is indicative of a need for concreteness in youth. In this age of tablets and phones, interesting skills to master still exist, some are even experiencing a resurgence of interest and new ones are emerging, not all of them digital.
Denys Lamontagne - [email protected]
Illustration DepositPhotos - HayDmitriy