Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Makes you think...

From this article in the most recent edition of London's Sunday Times:

So why are children now doing so badly? Possible explanations are numerous. Youngsters don’t get outside for hands-on play in mud, sand and water — and sandpits and water tables have been squeezed out in many primary schools by a relentless drilling of the three Rs and cramming 11- year-olds for the national tests.

“By stressing the basics — reading and writing — and testing like crazy you reduce the level of cognitive stimulation. Children have the facts but they are not thinking very well,” says Adey. “And they are not getting hands-on physical experience of the way materials behave.”

Ginsburg says parents too can do their bit. “When did children stop playing with mud, plasticine and Meccano and start playing with Xboxes and computer games?” she asks. Parents should switch off the television and “sit children around the dinner table to debate issues such as ‘What should we have done about the whale in the Thames?’ ” says Adey.

If these experts are right — and our children are losing the ability to think, the burning question is: what is the value of what they are being taught in primary school and of all those test results that every year rise to new heights?...

Not so different than this side of the pond is it?

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