Where Children Sleep

This [via Kottke & Lens] looks beautiful and depressing in the way that only photos seem to manage.


The caption for these photos reads:

“A 4-year-old from Romania who, with his family, sleeps on a mattress on the outskirts of Rome.”

It’s from a book called Where Children Sleep by James Mollison.

Mollison says:

When Fabrica asked me to come up with an idea for engaging with children’s rights, I found myself thinking about my bedroom: how significant it was during my childhood, and how it reflected what I had and who I was….My thinking was that the bedroom pictures would be inscribed with the children’s material and cultural circumstances ‘ the details that inevitably mark people apart from each other ‘ while the children themselves would appear in the set of portraits as individuals, as equals ‘ just as children.

So the germ of an idea for a quick lessonette.

  1. Ask children to write down what their bedroom tells people about them.
  2. Get the book. Make separate copies of the child and the “bedroom”.
  3. Give each child one picture of a sleeper and another picture of a bedroom.
  4. Ask children to research/discuss with parents who the sleeper might be/where they might come from/what their bedroom might look like and write down the ideas
  5. Ask the children to research/discuss with parents the bedroom background e.g. Why are Romanians in Rome? Where is Romania? Where is Rome?
  6. Come back and get the children to see if they can match the face to the bedroom. Write down which ones the thought might be
  7. Or something …


Paedophobia

The IPPR has published a report a while ago which looks good.

“The problem with ‘kids these days’ is the way adults are treating them. Britain is in danger of becoming a nation fearful of its young people: a nation of paedophobics. We need policy which reminds adults – parents and non-parents alike – that it is their responsibility to set norms of behaviour and to maintain them through positive and authoritative interaction with young people.”

ippr’s report will argue that children need adults who give them:

  1. Consistency in rules and discipline
  2. Warmth and interest
  3. Stability and security
  4. Authority without hostility
  5. .

Warmth and interest some teachers do better than others. Personally, I find much of the discipline issues take care of themselves if the children trust you are one their side. One way of engendering that trust is to do the human basics, say good morning, know their names, have lunch with them, but not intrude. Stability and security, in the private sector is for the most part a given; as is authority without hostility.

From my (little) experience, the hardest of these to manage in a school setting is consistency in rules and discipline. What I think is hard for school is to co-create a set of rules for which students, staff and parents understand the need. The two immediate stumbling blocks are necessity and number.

By necessity, I mean that all concerned understand the need for the rule. For instance, we have a rule at our school about sports kits not being worn inside after lunch. Some teachers mind more about it than others. Or, less damningly, some teachers try to uphold the school rules more earnestly than others. The difficulty here is being able to argue convincingly why it should be the case. If one cannot, I would suggest the rule is dropped. The burden of proof, I think, falls on those suggesting the rules; “that’s just how we do things here” is never really good enough.

By number, I mean that the more rules there are, the harder is is for all to understand them. If things become overly Bablyonian, the children begin a) to take great pleasure in seeing a teacher who does not know the rules, and then b) decide that if the teachers don’t know all the rules, why should they? Equally, the teachers end up in the position that they it is all too easy to contradict what colleagues have said.

So how do we focus on the need and number. Partly, I think, the two go hand in hand. The number of sensible rules a school needs do not have to be great.

Partly, though, I think there is help to be found in Dave Snowden”‘s Party Metaphor.

“Imagine organizing a birthday party for a group of young children.
Would you agree a set of learning objectives with their parents in advance of the party aligned with the mission statement for education in the society to which you belong? Would you create a project plan for the party with clear milestones associated with empirical measures of achievement? Would you start the party with a motivational video so that the children did not waste time in play not aligned with the learning objectives? Would you use PowerPoint to demonstrate to the children that their future pocket money is linked to achievement of the empirical measures at each milestone? Would you conduct an after action review at the end of the party, update you best practice database and mandate future process?
No, instead like most parents you would create boundaries to prevent certain types of behaviour, you would use attractors (party games, a football, a videotape) to encourage the formation of beneficial largely self-organization patterns (Identities); you would disrupt negative patterns early, to prevent the party becoming chaotic, or requiring the draconian imposition of authority.”

There is gold dust in that there metaphor, I’m sure of it. Just not so sure what it is yet. My best guess is that schools have a strong, simply explainable sense of what is a negative pattern. A mission statement perhaps? But if so, then do they need to be less generic than this plucked at random from thousands of similar school mission statements.

“[the school] recognises that each child is an individual; that all children are creative; that all children need to succeed. Therefore, [the school] respects the individual needs of children; fosters a caring and creative environment; and emphasizes the social, emotional, physical, intellectual development of each child. “

My gut feeling is yes, it needs be less generic. But any pointers, suggestions, ideas hugely welcomed.

BBC News – When do children become criminally responsible?

Following a series of high-profile cases involving young defendents, the question of the age of criminal responsibility in the UK has been raised.<br />
<br />
Some child experts argue that children who commit offences needed to be treated differently from adult criminals.<br />
<br />
In March, the UK government rejected plans to raise the age in England and Wales from 10, one of the youngest in Europe. In Scotland there are plans to raise the age from eight to 12.

Source: here

Learning from Centuries of Play: Students Reenact Bruegel’s "Children’s Games" – Copy / Paste by Peter Pappas

I was perusing Edward Snow's "Inside Bruegel: The Play of Images in Childrens Games" and impressed with his de-construction of the painting. As a big fan of document based instruction, I got thinking about how much students could learn from a close reading of the work. Link to painting.<br />
<br />
After a search, I found that a group of Belgian students had researched and re-enacted Bruegel the Elder's "Children's Games" (1560) for a class project. I'm reposting it to inspire enterprising teachers and students to try their hand at a reenactment of this (or another work).

Source: here

Learning from Centuries of Play: Students Reenact Bruegel’s “Children’s Games” – Copy / Paste by Peter Pappas

I was perusing Edward Snow's "Inside Bruegel: The Play of Images in Childrens Games" and impressed with his de-construction of the painting. As a big fan of document based instruction, I got thinking about how much students could learn from a close reading of the work. Link to painting.<br />
<br />
After a search, I found that a group of Belgian students had researched and re-enacted Bruegel the Elder's "Children's Games" (1560) for a class project. I'm reposting it to inspire enterprising teachers and students to try their hand at a reenactment of this (or another work).

Source: here

CyberMentors

CyberMentors is all about young people helping and supporting each other online.

If you're being bullied, or are feeling a bit low, or are maybe troubled by something and you're not sure what to do or who to talk to, then CyberMentors is where you can go for help. It doesn't matter how big or small you think the problem is, or whether you're being targeted online or offline, CyberMentors are here to listen and support you.

The best thing about it is that CyberMentors are young people too. It's never easy talking about bullying, and many young people have told us that they would prefer to speak to another young person if they could. That's why CyberMentors are young people like you, who have been trained and are volunteering their time online to help you. It's still important however, that you talk to your parents or teachers if you can.

Source: here

Why playing in the virtual world has an awful lot to teach children

The DKP system is an entirely self-enforcing mechanism; yet its effectiveness among gamers who adopt it runs at close to 100%. This is because it works; because it is transparent and meticulously fair; and because it has been laboriously calibrated over time to prevent collusive bidding or other kinds of cheating.

Neither playing Warcraft nor building a virtual polling booth in Second Life is likely to win many votes for a British political party in 2010, of course. And spending 24 hours a day in either environment is unlikely to do much for anyone's conversational abilities. But it's high time we began to understand games on their own terms, with all the potentials and dangers that entails: as arguably the most powerful models we have for connecting and motivating, and understanding those vast, disparate groups of people a digital age throws together.

Source: here

Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook

Based on a year long ethnographic study in Toronto, Canada, this paper looks at how – contrary to many mainstream accounts – younger users do indeed care about protecting and controlling their personal information. However, their concerns revolve around what I call social privacy, rather than the more conventional institutional privacy. This paper also examines the somewhat subversive practices which users engaged in to enhance their own social privacy, and in some cases, violate that of others.

Source: here