Craftsmanship: kraf(t)smənˌSHip The quality of design and work shown in something made by hand

When I hear the word craftsmanship, my mind automatically drifts off to a simpler time where people were defined by a single trade. The noble carpenter, blacksmith, cobler, seamstress. Within these trades a person was defined by the quality of their work. An objective starndard existed to which the product they produce could be compared. As time has marched on and mechanized, mass-production has become the norm, the idea of craftsmanship has lost its place in society. Rare now is the job where a persons work can be judged against a concrete standard. Machines are the means of production and cannot be expected to do any differently than that which they are programmed to do.

Thankfully, the DIY and artisan movements are beginning to bend this trend. Once again consumers are seeking goods that have been made with care and consideration. Saddly, this desire for quality has not yet regained its place as a norm and is often not evident in the work of my students. Too often I see students working simply to complete a product as if it is another simple "to-do" on a list. Rather than a reflection of them as a person. There is no care or consideration for the quality of the final product. Or if there is, it is simply in pursuit of a grade. This year I hope to work hard against this mindset with my Disease and Society class. My desire is to slowly build a class full of students who take pride in their work just for the sake of producing an objectively good product. It will take time, but I believe that success is possible.

I dropped this idea on my Disease and Society class a couple of weeks ago. Their thoughts on craftsmanship and impediments to the practice were quite interesting. At this juncture I am going to step off to the side and give the floor to this week's weekly reporter. Sofia Ocegueda was responsible for reporting on the week's events in Lab 207. Here's what she had to say.

Sofia Writes:

This week in Disease and Society we welcome our teacher Mr. Kite into our classroom. After a full week of school without him, he is back as not only a teacher, but also a new father! On Monday our eyes widened as we saw our teacher finally receiving us with the “Question of the Day”. He then put us up to a challenge: create a project and present it all in one period. The topic? Public health careers. Each pair in our class came up with a poster exhibiting the qualities of various jobs, which lead to some new awareness of careers in this field.

We had been working on a project the past week, and to help us out, Mr. Kite started off by giving us a bit of insight to the idea of craftsmanship to help us work
toward outstanding projects throughout the semester. He made us list barriers that would inhibit craftsmanship from being demonstrated and similar reasons arose. Laziness, time and lack of motivation all were reoccurring in the discussion. With this activity, Mr. Kite envisioned us to work towards having pride in our work, producing quality products.

On Thursday our class presented the project we had all prepared for about two weeks. Each pair taught and discussed public health controversies such as having an
AIDS database or allowing physician assisted suicide.
And as the week ended, so did the work of this project. However, with every ending there’s a new beginning, or should I say project? Mr. Kite introduced our new
project, which consists of creating a museum display of a certain disease, built in with its own original podcast. This should be interesting… until next time, D&S student, out.