things I get to do …

Alrighty … so the power of language is well documented (*never more enjoyably than in THIS EPISODE of the podcast “On Being”) and just lately I’ve been playing with “get to” instead of “have to”, or “should”.

I have to feed the calf.  I have to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I should weed my veggie garden.  I should write that essay.

I get to feed the calf.  I get to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I get to weed my veggie garden.  I get to write that essay.

Reminds me to have gratitude for the blessings that are wrapped up in those sentences.  Reminds me to look for the blessings.

Quick link dump, then.

Fab article here about the many and unexpected benefits of teaching kids philosophy in schools (YUM!!)  Even pro-business publications are making the case for it!

Parents want some life skills in schools, too, apparently.  Could we categorise philosophising as a life skill?  Man, teachers are going to be busy.

Good paper here, balanced and calm writing about adolescents and tech.  FLIP.   We gotta set some limits.

(OH MY GOODNESS it works here too.  Instead of “We have to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use …We get to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use.  Empowering.  Yeah!)

Anyway, This is a quote from that aforementioned paper:

The Pew Internet and American Life Project Foundation synthesized results from their survey of over 1000 technology stakeholders and critics in a report with the less-than-decisive, but I think ultimately accurate, title of “Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives”


Here is a list of scary things about the internet (with an outdated Halloween theme.  Sorry.)  And here is an article by a doctor from Harvard about what parents need to know (*Get to know!!) about children and mobile digital devices.  Kids and cellphones.  Y’know.

I read this some years ago, but it’s still great … and for some reason, this week it recrossed my path so, SHARE I shall.  Wild Play.  God, I loved the book Savage Park.

In other news, I was super proud of the kiwi doctor who has had self care put in the medical oath.  Is it called Hippocratic?

Finally, for joy’s sake:

Flower beards: I love them SO MUCH.

2 thoughts on “things I get to do …

  1. Hi Miriam.
    I have enjoyed your blog over the years, though my foggy brain from what feels like constant sleep deptivation since number 3 arrived 16 months ago means I’m not so up to date with your posts, nor this topic I’m emailing about.
    Please excuse me if you have talked about this, but is there any research to support the current Modern Learning Environments in NZ schools? My eldest is in a new entrant class with 50+ children. I am a primary teacher and was so looking forward to him blossoming but sadly he says he doesnt enjoy school. I can’t help but think there’s nothing special or connecting to him about sitting on the mat with 50 other kids every morning and then going through the routine of maths and reading and writing sessions. Being a typical child who happens to be a boy its a busy, sometimes noisy double classroom which sadly isn’t becoming an environment he loves.
    Anyway, can you point me the direction of any research supporting it, or not?
    Thanks heaps,

    • Kia Ora Penny,
      Thanks for stopping by. Apologies for tardy reply … life, eh! She keeps us on our toes. I’m sorry to hear your eldest boy is not enjoying school. I have to say: I don’t blame him. Some kids are going to cope with 50+ kids, but a GREAT MANY are not. Especially if you consider what we know about temperament research, and how we all fall along various continuums for such things as distractibility, sensitivity to external stimuli, etc. Could you fill out your tax returns in the middle of a busy café? I sure as heck could NOT, and therefore my heart breaks a little for all the children in this country who head out the door every day and into giant ‘carpeted barns’ (as one critic so elegantly describes modern learning environments).
      I have done some writing about this topic, and if you do get any time to do a trawl through ol’ posts on this blog you will find some cynical links from me about this subject. The dirty secret is that NOBODY can point you to much in the way of research to support the efficacy of this system, BECAUSE THERE ISN’T ANY.

      I’m not opposed to collaborative teaching – hell, I’m an early childhood teacher, we invented that shit! – but in ECE we have always known that group size is an indicator of quality just as important as ratio or teacher training. Although even ECE seems to have forgotten that lately! Mega-centres are normal now, we’d have rejected those puppies soundly a decade or two ago. Sigh.

      You are NOT ALONE in your displeasure. Please continue to wrap around your son, talk to your school, emphasise the need for retreat spaces, and places kids can be alone. LORD, I miss desks! This whole beanbag phenomenon is a boon for chiropractors … AND, dear mama, and this is tough, because we are already bloody busy with our families, with trying to placate our kids (my oldest is in a barn with THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY KIDS!!!!!!!! WTF?), and we are busy advocating at a school level for our children … but we MUST all keep advocating nationally. TELL your MP you are suspicious of the MLE! TELL our new government what your concerns are! We MUST demand change. I keep begging to be convinced that I’m wrong on this issue. I have friends and colleagues who are diggin’ the MLE and I ask them “please! Explain it to me!” and I remain thoroughly unconvinced of the merit thereof.

      Because putting young children in groups of 50+ is a nonsense. And teenagers in groups of 300+ is farcical.

      The cynics amongst us wonder whether this Modern Learning Experiment is simply a lazy reaction to the MOE’s directive to reduce the inequality between the children who are underperforming and those at the top of the heap. It is easier to dumb the clever kids down than it is to raise up the children who are struggling. Ugh.

      But take heart in the fact that this WILL NOT BREAK your son. He has an involved, caring, educated mother, and there is definitely research evidence to support the value of those traits. Keep his home life calm yet stimulating, predictable and loving. I’m keeping my kids going with their one-on-one music lessons as something of an antidote to the weirdness of group-think that seems to abound in the barns.

      hang in there

      x x x x

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