Delight 12: Older Kids Playing with Younger Kids

I’m so grateful to be able to watch my granddaughter Harriet develop. I’ll freely admit that as a father of four, my recollection of my own kids’ childhood is fuzzy. Partly due to the passage of time and partly because all parents are focused on protection and providing that they can be less attentive to the joys of growing up.

We live in a neighbourhood with lots of young kids. Unlike many kids their age, they play outside and it seems to be a bit of a throwback to my Wonder Years. Not only that but they are kind and caring. So when Harriet comes to visit, we often walk around to see if any are playing outside. She’s watched them play before and had small interactions but today they invited her to play with them.

They let her tell them a story, played The Three Little Pigs, tag and taught her London Bridge. I stayed well back and watched. It was a delight. Not just how Harriet loved the attention but how the kids showed patience and creativity as they played.

One of my beliefs is that children should not be confined to learning and experiencing the world … Read the rest

Education’s Dysfunctional Relationship with Happiness

This post was last updated on 3 months ago at 3 months ago

If you asked parents “What is it that you want for your kids?” You’d have an overwhelmingly common response of: “I just want them to be happy?” While they may add other things like health, a job they love and good relationships, happiness would top that list and likely cover all those other things as well. So if happiness is what most parents want for their kids, why are schools so afraid to use the word or actually teach happiness?

Certainly there is a legacy that still believes that happiness, fun, play and joy are not compatible with all mighty goal of academic rigour. While most educators may not be this explicit in stating this, it remains an unspoken belief. Whenever children are laughing, having fun, playing its often seen as “childish”. We might tolerate it but we also might be quick to transition to more serious work. While I’m generalizing here, my guess is that you can place this in a specific context in your world. As Jal Mehta says:

People have a lot of false dichotomies in their heads, like either they learn the content

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Delight 11: Not Capturing the Moment

This post was last updated on 4 months ago at 4 months ago

In case you weren’t aware, people and their phones can be a bit problematic. If you’re one of the rare breeds who is happy with the relationship you have with your phone, I bow to you. But most people I know are working to get better and even break up with their phone.

I read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport a few months ago and am working on a number of the ideas from that book. One thing I’m doing more is not bringing my phone with me when I leave the house, particularly when I know there might be a reason to bring it. Taking my granddaughter Harriet for a walk in the neighbourhood is certain to bring a moment worth capturing. Occasionally I’ll forget my phone but instead of rushing back to get it, I’ll leave it. What I still have to resist is the urge to reach for it to capture something she’s doing. But then I’m quickly whisked back into her world and to live it with her. Sometimes we come back and relive the mini-adventure with her mom or grandma and

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Learning Might be Overrated

This post was last updated on 3 months ago at 3 months ago

The past few weeks have initiated a great deal of conversation about learning, schools and education. If we were to dive in, those three things are somewhat separate and unique. Learning is generally agreed upon as the seminal idea. While its definition seems to vary, the consensus would be that it is the mandate of schools to provide opportunities to learn. And I would argue, school’s definition of learning is fairly narrow and measured and valued by a very narrow set of skills, ideas and disciplines. Of course, learning is happening with our without a building with varying degrees of success to be sure.

After interviewing over a dozen people and having numerous other conversations, reading posts online, I’m wondering if we’re forgetting what the real advantage, indeed the unfair advantage of school really is and I don’t think it’s purely about learning.

As school systems begin to rethink how things will look in both the near future and beyond, they are certainly considering more opportunities for students to continue to learn from home. For a segment of parents, they are finding value in reducing travel, spending … Read the rest

Lessons Learned from 10 Podcasts

My new podcast (I’ve been podcasting for 10 years, just not very regularly) was born out of curiosity and the realization that there may never be a better time to do this. I’m well aware that many others are jumping on the bandwagon and that’s fine, in fact, that kind of sharing should be encouraged and applauded.

I’ve always said that if I have any strength, it’s my large network that has been built for the past 15 years. I know a lot of people, a lot of smart people. So with some extra time I decided to try and capture as many different people, places and roles around the world to share the impact of Covid19. I share with them these questions as a guide to our conversation:

1. What are you and your fellow teachers being asked to do with regards to your new duties?
2. What supports or messaging are you most grateful for?
3. What challenges are you most concerned about?
4. What does your new daily routine look like that you’re finding either delightful or odd?
5. What good are you hoping results from this crisis?

Thus far I’ve published 10 podcasts and have 3 … Read the rest