We have spider babies!
Labels: Random stuff
a former primary headteacher in the Scottish BordersI formed an unfortunate stereotype in my head and I kept imagining a rather prim figure bemoaning the state of society and the feral underclass and the downfall of western civilisation. After all, a 2005 survey found that three quarters of pre-teens do not put their knives and forks together at the end of a meal (pg 33). Good heavens!
Thus 'the getting of literacy' creates enriched neural networks in children's brains, which may well be significant in the development of civilised behaviour. I don't think it's any coincidence that written language has proved a key element in all successful civilisations and that universal literacy appears essential to the success of democratic systems. (pg 201)
Teachers learn about childish wiles through wide experience, but most parents' experience of children is limited. (pg 292)I think I know what she's getting at, but I would have put it...differently. Perhaps it is only natural that an educationalist would not see the education system as part of the problem, or would argue that most of the problems lie primarily in the hands of parents to resolve. (Don't be fooled by this criticism though - there's lots in the book that is critical of educational systems that research shows do not work. And what doesn't work is early and competitive academics. I quite liked her idea of separating positive and real competition (such as that on the sports field) with that which is far too important not for everyone to be a winner (development of literacy, numeracy and a love of learning).
One important truth is that children - even very small children - are naturally manipulative. They have to be to ensure their survival - as the smallest and weakest of humans, they have to rely on psychology to make sure their needs are noticed. So they learn very early how to reward adults with smiles and punish them with screams, and as time goes on many become extremely adept at getting their own way.(pg 292). Golly. My baby is performing behaviourist psychology on me to get his own way! I find this a really odd way of looking at the world - it assumes that children are extremely empathic and aware of the world around them very early on, rather than simply being highly focused on their own needs (because that's all they are aware of at first) and expressing their needs the only way they know how. In order to do all this "rewarding" and "punishing" they would have to have quite a good ability to take the perspective of another - an advanced skill indeed and ironically enough, perhaps the key to detoxing a childhood.