The guild’s October speaker, UMass psychology professor Sarah Kuhn, is a longtime knitter and crocheter, and an equally longtime out-of-the-box thinker. To her, yarn belongs in the classroom for all kinds of reasons — for modeling theoretical concepts, for demonstrating and testing physical properties, and, of course, for siphoning off the small amount of a student’s spare focusing ability that might otherwise lead the mind away from the subject matter. (Who here has not engaged in knitting as constructive fidgeting, after all? Note that this is not the first time focus has been the topic of a Common Cod discussion, 5 years ago Heather Ordover gave a talk about yarn crafts as cognitive anchoring.)
Sarah’s list of publications may be large and challenging to read for us laypeople, but her focus is on bringing immediacy and accessibility to learning. Whether that means training future music teachers by using Lego bricks, encouraging students to knit in class, or introducing engineering students to knitted fabric as an experimental medium, she speaks in terms of keeping students engaged and preventing them from becoming anxious or overwhelmed. Knitting, in her world, contributes to keeping alive a sense of openness and curiosity about how the world works, at many different levels.
You may not have known that plain old sticks and string could do THAT!