How School Kills Creativity

singapore-education-systemCreativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Why don’t we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says.

Click here to view video.


Why Are Boys Academic Misfits?

boy-in-schoolI have had several consultations with parents this semester about their boy not fitting into the classroom setting.  Some of these problems have been a teacher-pupil mismatch. Other problems have been maturity issues in the child. While other noted concerns are ADHD and learning disabilities.

In this TED talk, Ali Carr-Chellman pinpoints three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as well as entertain.

View TED Talk

Christmas Safety, Grandma’s Purse & Everyday Dangers

christmas-dangersAt this time of the year, we think of the holiday dangers rather than the same dangers that fill emergency rooms around the country each day.  Mistletoe and dangerous toys should certainly be on our list of concerns but do not forget about the most common types of injuries that occur year round  -— poisonings, chokings, falls and burns.

The single most dangerous item during the holidays may be grandma’s purse, where her medications may be left in places accessible to children. They may even be set out for her to remember to take them.  When our older relatives and friends travel, they may not think to place their pills out of the reach of children.  They pill case is placed on the night stand or bathroom counter rather than up high and away from little hands looking for candy.

Parents should be on the lookout for potential for mishaps in visits to homes that haven’t been “child-proofed.” Be vigilant and inspect homes for unblocked stairways and other hazards non-parents may have missed.

There are two common seasonal injuries — that’s when a child pulls over a Christmas tree or sees the candle burning and decides to play with fire. Trees should be securely fastened to the wall and toddlers should not be permitted close enough to a tree to tug on it. Candles should also be placed on fireproof plates and away from any low areas or counters that are easily climbed.

Other dangers to watch for include easy access to alcohol at holiday gatherings. During a large party, guests may leave half-imbibed cups around the house. Small children may wander the house sampling the drinks. Children often show up at ERs showing symptoms of alcohol poisoning.


Toddlers Understand Another Person’s Intentions

wittle_toddler_timsteph_by_batman_defeats_all-d6seyzfToddlers can judge a person’s intention. When one person tries to harm someone else but did not succeed, the youngsters were less likely to help that person at a later time.

But when they observed a person accidentally cause harm to another, they were more willing to help that person.

“It had been thought for a long time that it was at a later age, only around age 5 or 6, that children become conscious of other people’s intentions,” said Amrisha Vaish, one of the study’s authors and a developmental psychologist at the Max Planck Institute. “To help those who help others is actually a very sophisticated ability.”

The research appears in the journal Child Development.

And we all thought their little misbehaviors were innocent….

ART – Don’t Slight The Hand

stages2Writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development. Handwriting could be a good cognitive exercise for baby boomers working to keep their minds sharp as they age.

Recent research illustrates how writing by hand engages the brain in learning. During one study at Indiana University published this year, researchers invited children to man a “spaceship,” actually an MRI machine using a specialized scan called “functional” MRI that spots neural activity in the brain. The kids were shown letters before and after receiving different letter-learning instruction. In children who had practiced printing by hand, the neural activity was far more enhanced and “adult-like” than in those who had simply looked at letters.

“It seems there is something really important about manually manipulating and drawing out two-dimensional things we see all the time,” says Karin Harman James, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Indiana University who led the study.

Even in the digital age, people remain enthralled by handwriting for myriad reasons—the intimacy implied by a loved one’s script, or what the slant and shape of letters might reveal about personality.

So remember – the ancient art of writing is more than words – it is an artistic expression that aides expression.  There are even Apple apps for children to practice their writing skills such as “WritePad” and “abc PocketPhonics.”