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Posts Tagged ‘kids

The tweet below would like you know that kids (also) read books while adults (also) read from screens.

This is news if you live under a rock or choose not to observe people around you.

The tweet also claims that “the tides have turned”, meaning that adults are doing what kids do and vice versa. No, the tides have not. They ebb and flow, and you see what you see depending where and when you are.

It is not unusual for adults to use their mobile devices as much as, or more than kids. If you live in the modern world, your daily commute on public transport will confirm this. There is also research to back this up.

Kids are still made to complete books lists as part of school or homework, regardless of whether such reading is meaningful or not. They are held to the standards of the past and prepared for their teacher’s history instead of their own futures.

Kids also still go to libraries to borrow books. They do so because they have inculcated good reading habits and do so for pleasure.

So back to the tweet: An anecdote is not data; a snapshot is not representative. It is meant to be funny, but it sends the wrong message. The tides have not turned. Instead they ebb and flow, and dynamic change is what matters.

I like watching videos where experts either explain difficult concepts to learners of different ages or just to kids. The video below is one of the latter.


Video source

Explaining to an adult how to create bioluminescent plants from firefly DNA is challenging, much less kids. The two content experts from MIT were not quite comfortable teaching kids and their attempts illuminate some concepts about how students learn and what an effective teacher looks like.

When one content expert tried simplifying the concept of transferring bioluminescence, she ran into some trouble.

Expert: “…we just ask them to give us some chemicals”.
One child: “Do you tell them?”

Expert: “We just borrow the light from the fireflies…”
Another child: “Do you mean like real borrow or do you just keep it?”

The expert was visibly stunned by the kids’ questions and their teacher intervened with timely and appropriate answers.

An effective teacher is not just knowledgeable in content, she should also be a child and learning expert. As information mushrooms and knowledge needs to be constantly negotiated and updated, being the latter type of expert is critical.

The other expert got the kids to participate in a hands-on activity where they simulated bioluminescence by mixing chemicals in small vials. Instead of hearing about bioluminescence, they tried and saw for themselves.

This is not about appealing to different “learning styles” — which is a myth anyway — but to teach and reinforce with multiple methods and modes. That said, kids generally learn best by what stems from natural curiosity, i.e., experiencing and asking.

The teacher as a child and learning expert asked a critical question at the end of the experiment: “What do you think this could help solve?” She did not provide answers to her learners, but got them to generate answers that required them to think actively about what they just experienced.

An issue that some Singaporeans keep revisiting is whether schools should start later so that children get enough sleep.
 

 
Just over a week ago, I reflected on how adults maintain the status quo (early starts) by focusing on what is NOT best for kids.

Yesterday, another adult wrote to a local rag to add more kerosene to the flame.

The writer’s rationale is that waking very early is good for kids because it instills discipline.

He is missing the point. The issue is not about discipline because there are many other ways to develop it — chores, exercise, self and time management strategies, for example.

The issue is that kids need to get enough sleep. Now this could mean that kids need to sleep early enough the night before and wake up late enough the day of school.

The current realities are that some kids here get so much homework and/or are subject to so much “enrichment” that they do not sleep early enough. If they live far away from school or take arranged transport, they cannot sleep in to compensate.

Insisting that discipline is a result of kids waking up early when their bodies are not sufficiently rested is 1) deflecting the issue, and 2) pretends to be about kids. Instead of using this flimsy excuse, proponents of this should read the research and impact of insufficient sleep and look into other ways of developing discipline.

This is something quote-worthy for parents and teachers alike.

To leave a better planet for our kids, we need to leave better kids for our planet..

This is a variation of a Googleable quote on the Internet.

What might be less easy to find is the wonderful photo shared under Creative Commons. I found it with the help of ImageCodr.
 

Most school leaders, curriculum planners, and teachers do not think to ask students about their education because they assume kids do not know any better.

Perhaps some kids do not. But that does not mean all of them have nothing worthwhile to say or cannot think outside themselves.

This was what one child wrote in a survey.

Kids may not do well in standardised tests because they do not have standardised minds (those that learn to think independently anyway).

And not all kids are selfish brats, as the video below illustrates.


Video source

If kids are unquestioning or selfish, it is because we have taught them so. We teach these lessons and values to them intentionally and unintentionally.

We underestimate kids at our peril. They are capable of more than we give them credit for. If we watch and listen to them closely, we might learn a thing or two about what it means to be decent human beings.


Video source

Kids say the darndest, funniest, and most insightful things. So why not ask them what they think social media is?

When I read this ST forum letter, I thought how one might change references to “the public” to “our learners” and the spirit of the letter would be mostly intact.

There would be one major difference though. While the public gave voice to their concerns, our learners are more passive.

But they are crying out for change. It’s just that not many of us are listening and taking action.


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