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‘Snowplow parents’ may be trapping their children

The passing agonies of the everyday are shared quickly and easily — texts about a disappointing grade, photos of a roommate’s overflowing garbage, tweets about the heat in a dorm room. The instantaneous nature of the complaints can give the impression that only an immediate solution will do. And some students relying on their phones, with their parents at the other end, are losing the opportunity to stop and think,…

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Remember Who The Enemy Is

Good article on Catching Fire. (I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I like this analysis.) The personal is political because there is no personal. There is no private realm to retreat into. Haymitch tells Katniss and Peeta that they will never get off the train – meaning that the reality TV parts they are required to play will continue until their deaths. It’s all an act, but there’s no…

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Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Neil Gaiman tells us why books matter: When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you…

Standardized Testing
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An Opt Out Letter That Speaks to All Parents

One household notifies the authorities that their son will no longer be participating in state-mandated high-stakes testing, citing the impact it has on the child. Here is an excerpt from the letter, as published by Education Roundtable. Students – who mature at vastly different paces – should not ever be measured by a mass-produced blunt instrument. I will no longer allow our son to be a part of this mythological…

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How Daydreams and Videogames Can Make Us Confident In Real Life (Yes)

Is there a daydreamer in your life? There are a couple in mine. (And sometimes, it’s me.) Here’s a look at the benefits of “relaxed attention.” Daydreaming has problem-solving power. Sometimes it helps to stop focusing so intently on an issue, and aim for what IDEO founder David Kelley’s mentor Bob McKim used to call “relaxed attention.” In that mental state, the problem or challenge occupies space in your brain,…

The Value of Failure

Upon reading that recent message from my inbox, I wanted to shout out “let your child fail.” The shouting was not due to frustration, rather to be sure that my voice was heard by many. And when I say fail, I mean fall. Let them fall. How can we learn to get back up if we never fall? Or if someone else always picks us up. Too often today, students…

Sinéad O’Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus

I was never a fan of Sinéad O’Connor, but I remember being impressed back in the 80s when Madonna’s bohemian antics were threatening to overwhelm her talent (not that I was a fan of Madonna, either), and a wise-sounding O’Connor told her some of the same things she has just told Miley Cyrus. You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see…