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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How many ways are there to warp our children

'Ambitious South Korean Parents See Tall as All' on Fluent News. Here is the link: http://fluentnews.com/s/22431644

I doubt there's anything special about the South Koreans in this regard. They're just trying to give their children a boost, which is what most parents seek to do, some more successfully than others.

The thing is that this attempt to provide a boost, like most such attempts, is more likely to serve in just the reverse. Only a very few will actually benefit. Well, aside from those who are selling snakeoil to parents.

Just take a look at pre-school curricula in the United States. A few are good, but many are designed to fool parents.

Moreover, we give standardized exams in very early grades, and design curricula that are simply not developmentally appropriate.

You expect a boy of single digit age to sit still for extended periods and write a five paragraph essay, and then you wonder why that same child hates writing in a very few years?

I've watched dozens of children in martial arts classes. They do their thing under the direction of young black belts who are earning brownie points from the master instructor. The parents watch from the side, and occassionally write checks.

A very few of those children stay with it long enough to learn anything. Most simply do not yet have the body awareness function in such a class. They'd be better off playing kickball or something.

But kickball is not sexy.

And then we have gymnastics. Music. Art. Sports. This. That. And the other.

Whatever happened to giving children a reasonable childhood? With toys that encourage imagination? With stuff to read and the time and freedom to read it? With parents who don't feel the need to make up for their own personal shortcomings through their children? Who don't need to live through the lives of their children?

If we don't watch out, we'll soon rear a generation lacking the imagination to have that next important idea, and although that generation might have the knowledge to craft a perfect five-paragraph essay, they will likely have little or nothing worth saying in that essay.

It's probably about time to back off all the acceleration and carve out a little time for childhood.

-- text tapped from a virtual keyboard.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

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