where trouble was needed

June 30, 2010

Violence in Schools (again)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 1:25 pm

Let The Children Flower
Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Times of India, Jun 26, 2010, 12.00am IST

My Comment:

Physical / emotional violence does not teach discipline, it teaches abuse of power. It teaches the child that once s/he is more powerful than someone else, be it today in the class or playground, or later in life, someday, s/he will use force to make someone else inferior. Nonviolent conflict resolution upholds dignity of both parties, and fosters trust.

True discipline emerges when children learn to value themselves and others. Children have the chance to raise their own standards when those around them, esp adults model correct behaviour, and treat others, incl children, as they would like to be treated, speak to them as they would like to be spoken to.

There should be reciprocity in the learning relationship. Our schools teach students to answer the question. Where are students encouraged to question the answer? We should delight in the learning journey, allow knowledge to grow through enquiry and discovery. Yet today even in the "concept" schools that emphasize "projects" over memorization, we see that there is a fixed expectation on how the project should be done, how it should be cut and coloured. In the end we see little scope for a child to do much differently from the rest of the class, though perhaps cutting and designing engages the mind more than memorizing a paragraph to get the same concept "by heart."

Finally the key concept learned is to produce what the authority expects- and gain that authority sooner rather than later. And the cycle continues.

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June 23, 2010

Freedom Summer, by Deborah Wiles

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 11:41 am

Front Cover
Deborah Wiles
Paw Prints, 2009 – 32 pages

Subtlety, outrage and compassion are delicately balanced in this story of two boys and a town struggling with segregation and integration. Illustrations are stunning, particularly the one showing the elder brother doing work that goes against his heart, only to earn his day’s wage. His eyes tell his story.

My seven year old daughter loved this story and exclaimed "that was great!" when we reached the last page. "It was really open-ended," she added.

Having just read Freedom Summer by Bruce Watson, I could see how skillfully Deborah Wiles captured the changing times, and their every moment – the excitement with which Joe leaves the dinner table, the shopkeeper’s friendly banter, the lucky nickel … small signs of hope that leave us optimistic even as the story leaves us in suspense when the two friends, on the heels of one defeat, courageously walk together.

My Reviews

June 12, 2010

Nothing is better

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 1:34 pm

You need not do anything to teach them these things.   I saw a sign once that said “Nothing is better than tylenol – take nothing.”  I would say, “Nothing is better than training children to use the bathroom. Do nothing.”   Do-nothing sums up my approach to common illnesses as well.  Not that I have never given tylenol but I can say we’d probably have been better off without it.  And there were many times I did follow my heart and gave no medicine, just plenty of love, comfort, mama milk and water.   Do-nothing also works for much of what passes for illness prevention – children are playing in mud – do nothing.   Though (or since) we do wash hands before eating, (but) we don’t prevent playing in the mud.   But illness prevention is amisnomer – because we aren’t actually trying to avoid any illness anytime, we are trying to build up the immune system at the right time – be stronger and thus avoid more serious illnesses or illnesses at later ages which end p being more serious.

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