The Amazing Human Mind

R.I.P Ken Peek. You can relax now.

Maybe it’s right that we still struggle to know the full intricacies of the working of the human mind.

Guardian Article

Cyber Safety

Fed Booklet

This looks excellent. The US Federal Trade Commission has just released an excellent new booklet to advise parents and children ablout cyber safety.

If you follow the link above there’s a link on the webpage to download the booklet free in pdf format.

Let’s keep our children safe. incidentally, I believe there’s also a cyber safety workshop coming up at the Vasant Vihar campus soon.

Cursive Writing – Worth Doing or Out of Date?

This is an issue on which it seems to be almost impossible to achieve consensus of opinion whether you are discussing with parents or educators.

This article I came across today sums up quite neatly the issues and major arguments on both sides:

Cursive Article

Personally, i have to confess that i’m in the camp that says it’s too much ‘yesterday’ and that i would rather see children expressing their thoughts and ideas in writing creatively and with pleasure, rather than be worrying terribly about the appearance and the calligraphy of their writing.

However, it is at this point that i also have to confess that my views may be coloured by personal experience. Firstly, i have really ugly handwriting, but stopped getting hung up about it years ago. I blame a primary school teacher who tried to make an obviously left-handed child in to right-handed. By the time i got out of her class the damage was done. i loved to express myself in writing as a boy, to write long, imaginative stories or to express my views. however, if anyone made a fuss about how the writing appeared I would write the minimum necessary and clam up.

So, my own view is to allow children to develop a basic handwriting which is legible, enables them to write comfortably in a way that others can read, but not to focus on ‘process’ beyond that. instead, more focus can go in to the creative and expressive aspects of writing. However, i know there are many educators with strong and potentially legitimate arguments to the contrary who would disagree with me vehemently.

So, the jury is out, the debate goes on. Would be interested to get others’ experiences and views.

Sleep Deprivation Effects on Children

If there is one thing that has continually disturbed me since i came to India, it’s how late children go to bed. I couldn’t understand it when i was in a restaurant at 10.00pm at night and would see so many children still running around. As time has gone on I’ve come to know the full extent. Let’s not even talk about the number of children getting up and going to school (after their late nights) without eating any breakfast!

There is an increasing amount known these days about sleep deprivation and none of it is good. And, i’m not even just talking about the older students who perpetuate the silliness of their parents’ generation – somehow fooling themselves that staying up until some ungodly hour staring at a book is a great way to prepare for an examination the next day. The fact that we were stoopid enough to do it in our time does not mean it should be continued – each generation is supposed to learn something from the mistakes of their elders!!

My concern is probably more with the small children, little children who are simply not sleeping long enough and are therefore going through the early part of their lives in a severely sleep deprived state. There appears to be a strong connection scientifically proven between sleep deprivation and ADHD, where the two have the propensity to worsen each other (see articles below)

ASCD Article
Web4Health Article
Psych Central Article

Now, when we know all of this why would so many otherwise caring, devoted parents who want their children to excel in life consciously put their children at risk in this way? This is, I guess, a plea for more family discipline for the sake of our children. I’d love to hear more children tell me about regular bedtime routines that start early enough, include real quality time interacting with one or both parents, reviewing the day in a quiet peaceful manner, reading a story and off to sleep at a good time.

Sweet dreams, children ….. for a brighter future !!!!

The Beautiful Tree by James Tooley

My thanks to Amit Kaushik for referring me to this wonderful new book. It’s a fascinating and very human story of one man’s discovery that logic and what may be visible on the surface are not to be believed when it comes to the education delivered by ‘low-priced’ private schools in developing countries.

It has valuable lessons for the whole development sector. it’s certainly very unflattering when it comes to the western development agencies and how they spend their money.

Tooley is the consummate academic – drawing hypotheses, following them with hard-nosed detailed ground level research and drawing new conclusions from the findings. What emerges is a very different picture of the best ways to begin to bring quality education to all that should be considered very carefully by everyone in a position of authority in education systems.

Amazon review

Napoleon Hill on ‘Giving’

The one who tries to get something for nothing generally winds up getting nothing for something.

Those who think they can get by in life without providing the same amount of value for value received will eventually find themselves working harder than ever to deceive others and receiving very little in return. Life has a funny way of evening the score. In the long run, you will get in the same measure you give. Spend your time on productive, positive efforts; give generously of your time and talents, and you will stand out from the great multitudes whose primary goal in life seems to be to get something for nothing.

Who Needs Homework?

I’m sure this is going to arouse lots of interest both amongst parents and students.

A Canadian couple won a case against kids being given homework. Their argument: Homework makes kids tired!!

Ban homework

Now, on reading that i can imagine some will go in to shock, questioning why those Canadian parents would choose to do such a thing. Because, surely, everyone knows children have to do homework – and the more they do, the more they learn. Isn’t that the case?

Well, It’s not as simple as common perceptions might suggest. I’ve attached below a couple of fascinating and thought provoking articles from an American educator named Alfie Kohn. His writings are renowned for being somewhat controversial, mainly because they challenge a lot of things about education systems that people have tended to take for granted and to apply without ever testing their assumptions.

Please read through the articles and then share your thoughts – who knows, if people feel strongly enough on the issue we could see new school policy on homework:

Alfie Kohn on homework

Rethinking Homework

Alfie Kohn Study of Homework

%d bloggers like this: