I saw this article yesterday and was so pleased to see an education thought leader look beyond this ‘distracting’ phenomena to what might really be behind it – movement.
I believe the professor’s recommendations also support your work.
Most children in the community I have been living in ride a bus or are dropped off and picked up in ‘the car loop’ by parents daily. They don’t walk/ride to and from school, a natural energy release and oxygen booster. Recess time is limited and physical education class is reduced to a mandatory one period per week in elementary school to meet the system’s requirements.
At their most energetic time of life, children are required to be still most of their learning day. They are reprimanded when they wiggle and parents are told that they might consider evaluation and even medication. Instead of adjusting the format, working with their energy, and helping them get what they need the system keeps hammering the square peg into the round hole and wondering why it doesn’t fit.
We are left with students with a range of feelings from restlessness, discomfort, anxiousness, frustration, sadness, and anger even – all of which we have been proven through scientific study to work directly against the optimal mindset for learning.
My older son attended a new charter middle school this year. Part way through the year the students were asked for input on improving school processes. A large majority requested more physical activity and more time outside. This, from an age group that is typically found mesmerized by their cell phones that none of them really need. Even this age group knows what is good for them.
My younger son’s elementary school principal sent out a survey a in February asking for feedback along with suggestions. I am including here a snapshot of one of my responses suggesting improvement.
To explain a few references from my response above –
- “X and a bubble” – Most younger students (K-3 usually) are required in this school to cross their arms across their chest and hold an air bubble in their mouth while moving through the school building in single file. This is to keep them from being handsy with each other and making noise. It is quite something to see. It is one of the many reasons I refer to the school as the factory and my son as a widget.
- “Stop talking, heads down” – The lunch monitor, microphone in hand, yells at the students ‘stop talking, heads down’ after they have finished lunch and returned to their seats after throwing out trash. I was quite startled when I saw this and suggested to my son’s teacher that they could play music on the PA system and allow some movement. They don’t. My son hated lunch time so much this year that he constantly requested to move to another school.
submitted by Marion Freymann
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