Category Archives: Education

Parents swap roles with kids, discover humiliation of parental attitude

I came across this piece on English-language Germany news site TheLocal.de:

Family puts kids in charge for a month

A German author and his wife put themselves to the biggest test of their lives last year by handing over the family power to their two children for a month. The biggest challenge? Managing the budget. Continue reading Parents swap roles with kids, discover humiliation of parental attitude

Preparing to succeed

by Rocpoc, on Flickr

Sudbury and traditional schooling have something in common: they agree that young people leaving school should enter the world well-prepared for a successful life. For Sudbury schools too, this includes professional life – and that’s a good thing.

When talking about Sudbury schools, one point seems to get people a little worked up, at least in Europe. It’s not unusual for Sudburians to talk about students preparing themselves for a satisfying and successful life, including getting a good job. In progressive circles in Europe, a lot of people frown on this; “getting a good job” shouldn’t be so important to us, right?

I think this is all basically a misunderstanding. People don’t like to hear about school preparing children for the job market because traditional schools say they do that – but we don’t mean the same thing.

Continue reading Preparing to succeed

Ignore the young

State education is no longer about making sure students acquire key skills – it’s only about giving the adults the good feeling of having really given it a go.

Traditional schooling and Sudbury schooling have one central idea in common: the result of schooling should be that young people are prepared for life as adults.

The similarities, of course, more or less end there.

One difference I find very curious. Continue reading Ignore the young

Sweden’s gender-neutral pronoun goes official

It’s not every day that you see these words combined: “pronoun causes controversy”. And I’m honestly not a fan of politically manipulating language, especially since I know enough about language to know we know very little about it. But I was still delighted to read this piece on Slate.com:

Sweden’s New Gender-Neutral Pronoun: Hen

[…]
Earlier this month, the movement for gender neutrality reached a milestone: Just days after International Women’s Day a new pronoun, hen (pronounced like the bird in English), was added to the online version of the country’s National Encyclopedia. The entry defines hen as a “proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han in Swedish] and she [hon].” The National Encyclopedia announcement came amid a heated debate about gender neutrality that has been raging in Swedish newspaper columns and TV studios and on parenting blogs and feminist websites.[…] Continue reading Sweden’s gender-neutral pronoun goes official

Lenz on Learning: “What grades are good for”

I bumped into an amusing post on an inactive blog. In five quick, tongue-in-cheek points, Evan Lenz explains what grading teaches you:

2. An abdication of responsibility

Grading encourages you to abdicate all responsibility for evaluating your own learning. That’s somebody else’s job. Other people know better about not only what you should be learning but how well you are learning it. This is their game, and it’s your job to play it. Why you would want to learn something, what you would apply it to, what meaning or importance it has for you, what enjoyment you get from it—these are completely irrelevant to your grade. So why even pay attention to these considerations? They are a waste of time. They’re not going to help you pass that next test.

Read the rest over at Lenz on Learning.

See the good in video games: just like in books

Illustration. Courtesy of the lovely Sabine Günther.

It’s often been said that the moral outrage around video games is the result of a generational gap: most people born before, say, 1970, are unfamiliar with video games, and as a result, they’re afraid of them. This speaks to the negative impressions involved in the debate, and seems to make sense. But the fact that so many people fail to see the immense value, the huge potential for good, in video games, is another matter. I think this part is due to widespread confusion between medium and content. Continue reading See the good in video games: just like in books

Peter Gray on Video Games

Peter Gray, my favorite education blogger, has recently written two posts I can highly recommend:

As always, Peter does a great job of supporting his point with research, and writing some sobering posts about video games is a much-needed service for democratic schools, as well as for parents everywhere. It’s also nice to see how much his well-founded and academic post matches what I wrote about game addiction two years ago based only on anecdotal evidence.