Monday, 27 June 2016

the most schooled generation in history is miserable

School doesn't seem to be working - on a human level:

The Most Schooled Generation in History Is Miserable

Zachary Slayback
Zachary Slayback
Wednesday, June 08, 2016
It’s said that sadness isn’t the opposite of happiness — boredom is.
A fully schooled generation has created a generation of bored adult children.With this in mind, is it any surprise that children, adolescents, and young adults today are so unhappy? Is it any surprise that so many turn to extending their schooled lives into structured activities as long as possible? Is it any surprise that when people don’t know what to do, they simply go to graduate school?
To understand this mass unhappiness and boredom with life — and the sudden uptick in quarter-life crises — look at where these young people have spent most of their lives.
What we see today in Millennials and younger is something henceforth unseen in the United States: a fully-schooled generation. Every young person, save the occasional homeschooler, today has been through schools. This means rich and poor, established and unestablished, and developed and undeveloped young adults have all been put through roughly the same exact system with the same general experiences for the last two decades of their lives.
School teaches them that life is broken into discernible chunks and that learning and personal development are to be seen as drudgery. Rather than teaching them how to foster a love of learning, a constantly-centralizing school regime in the US today teaches them to look for standards to be measured against.
Rather than helping give them the cognitive and philosophical tools necessary to lead fulfilled lives in the context of the world in which they live, schools remove them from this world and force them to develop these skills only after 18–25 years of being alive. Rather than allowing them to integrate themselves into the broader scheme of life and learn what they get fulfillment from achieving and what they don’t, school leaves fulfillment to five letter grades and a few minutes of recess.
“We destroy the love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards, gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A’s on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean’s lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys, in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else.” ~ John Holt
In short, school teaches apathy towards education and detachment from the world. School removes people from being forced to learn how to get fulfillment from a variety of activities and subjects and instead foists a handful of clunky subjects onto them hoping they meet state standards for “reading,”“mathematics,” “writing,” and “science.”
Extended Childhood
Not only this, but they’ve had childhood extended further into adulthood than any other generation before them. A young person today is considered a “child” much longer than a young person was 20 or 40 years ago. To treat a 16 year-old as a child in the 1960s would have been insulting. Today, it is commonplace.
Adult children wander the hallways of universities and workplaces today, less-equipped to find purpose and meaning than their predecessors. They can’t be entirely blamed for their anxiety and depression — their parents, teachers, and leaders put them through an institution and created a cultural norm that created the world they live in today.
"Once you understand the logic behind modern schooling, its tricks and traps are fairly easy to avoid. School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so that they’ll never be bored." ~ John Taylor Gatto
This is the perfect formula for creating a group of constantly bored people. They’ve been deprived of a chance to find meaning for themselves in subjects by engaging with them on a deep level and internalizing the responsibility necessary to live in the world. They’ve been cut off from opportunities to make real connections with people based on more than a lottery of ZIP codes for a decade. They’ve been taught that achievement is getting to the next level set by people outside of themselves.
Sadness isn’t the opposite of happiness — boredom is. A fully schooled generation has created a generation of bored adult children. It’s no wonder young people today seem so unhappy.
Originally appeared at
The Most Schooled Generation in History Is Miserable | Foundation for Economic Education

See also:
Jay Doubleyou: education
Jay Doubleyou: the purpose of education: from china to prussia to the united states
Jay Doubleyou: too focussed on exam results
Jay Doubleyou: changing education paradigms
Jay Doubleyou: seven ways school has imprisoned your mind ... ... greater personal freedom starts with deschooling

public service ethos

We know what 'public services' are:
Public service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But what do we mean by a 'public service ethos'?
Comment: building on the public service ethos | Society | The Guardian

Here’s what’s wrong with the ‘public sector ethos’

With another definition here:

Yes Minister Episode 1 - Sir Humphrey explains the civil service - YouTube

Monday, 20 June 2016

team building activities

Most of these can be used in the ESL classroom:

13 Top Team Building Activities

by WENDY SOON on MARCH 18, 2014
We have mentioned multiple times in our blog posts, that team building activities are essential in creating a closely-knit, happy and productive A-team. But what activities EXACTLY are team building activities? Which are the most effective (and low cost, low time-consuming) ones? We believe the best team building activities not only serve to increase communication amongst your team members, but also help to form some great memories they can share. Here are our top picks:
  1. A Truth and A Lie (0.5-1hour) – Have each member introduce themselves by stating their name plus one truth about themselves and one lie. After each person makes their statements, allow for a quick open conversation where everyone questions each other on their two statements. The idea is to convince the other members that your lie is actually a truth, while guessing the truths/lies of the others. After the questioning period, vote as a group on each member’s statements. Points are awarded for each lie guessed right or for stumping other members on your own lie. This exercise helps to get to know your coworkers better and encourages group interaction and communication. (Optional: Increase the difficulty by having 2 truths and 1 lie, or 2 lies and 1 truth. Remove the open conversation segment if time is constrained)
  2. Poker Tower (15-30minutes) — Distribute a pack of poker cards and a pair of scissors to each group of 2-5 members. Instruct them to build the tallest poker tower using ONLY the cards and scissors given to them. This will stimulate creativity and team bonding, as the team figures out how to build the tower with the limited material available. (Optional: Spice up the game with 1 A4 size piece of paper)
  3. Egg Drop (1-2hours) — This is a messy yet classic engaging problem. Split the team into 2-3 teams of reasonable size. The task is to build an egg package that can keep the egg intact from a 2-4 storey drop. Tools that can be provided include newspapers, straws, tape, plastic, balloons, rubber bands. Give the teams 30min-1hour to create the package. After which, each team will take turns to drop the egg package from the 2nd storey while everyone else stays at the bottom level to observe. (Optional: increase the height of the egg drop until a single winner is found!)
  4. Legoman (0.5-1hour) — This problem solving activity requires little more than a couple of sets of children’s building blocks. The instructor will build a small sculpture with some of the building blocks and hide it from the group. The participants should then be divided into small teams of 3-6. Each team should be given enough building material so that they can duplicate the structure the instructor has created (specific size and color included). The instructor should then place their sculpture in an area that is an equal distance from all the groups. One member from each team can come up at any point of time to look at the sculpture for as long as they want and try to memorize it before returning to their team. No paper, pen no camera are allowed to be brought to the sculpture. After they return to their teams, they instruct their teams about how to build an exact replica of the instructor’s sculpture. Meanwhile, another member from each team can come up for another sneak peek before returning to their team and trying to recreate the sculpture. The game should be continued in this pattern until one of the team’s successfully duplicates the original sculpture. This game will teach participants how to strategize, communicate effectively and problem solve in a group.
  5. The Mine Field (15-30 minutes) – The idea behind this exercise is to improve team members’ trust, their relationship, and to communicate in a more effective way. You will need an open space such as an empty room or hallway in which you will distribute ‘mines’ that are placed haphazardly around the area. The ‘mine’s can be cones, balls, bottles etc. Team members are paired into teams of two. One team member will be blindfolded and the other can see and talk, but is not allowed to enter the field or touch their partner. The challenge is for the blind-folded person to walk from one side of the field to the other, avoiding the mines by listening to the verbal instructions of their partners. (Optional: Have more than 1 pair walking through the mine simultaneously, so the difficulty of focusing and listening to the right instructions increases)
  6. Win, lose or draw (15-30 minutes) — This is another classical team game, which can be very easily executed. You need paper, pen, and a flipchart/whiteboard. Think of items that fit into certain categories. These can be generic or specific to the team. For example, generic categories include food items, places of interest, idioms. Team-specific categories include computer technologies for computer scientists, business ideas for startups, school and students for teachers. Split the group into 2 teams. Each team takes turns to play. The team that is playing will nominate an artist, who will draw a “list” of items to draw. The only hint to his teammates will be the category name. They then have 1-3 minutes to draw the items on that list, without writing nor speaking. Switch around to another team after the time limit. Swap artists with each round, and repeat for 4-5 rounds. Collate the final results to find the winning team.
  7. Zoom. (30 minutes) — This is an activity designed for smaller teams. It requires the wordless, picture book entitled, “Zoom” by Istvan Banyai. This book features 30 sequential pictures that work together to form a narrative. The book should be fairly easy to find, as it’s been published in over 18 countries. The pictures can even be laminated to prolong their usage. Hand out one picture to each participant, making sure a continuous sequence is being used. Explain to the participants that they can only look at their own pictures and must keep their picture hidden from other participants. Time should be given for the participants to study their pictures because each picture will contain important information that will help the participants solve the problem of putting them into order. The ultimate goal is for the group to place the pictures in sequential order without looking at one another’s pictures. The participants can talk to each other and discuss what is featured in their picture. This activity brings coworkers together and gets them communicating with the common goal of solving a problem, but it also allows for leaders to emerge and take control of the task. (Optional: Draw up your own pictures to accommodate the team size and difficulty level)
  8. Dragon-boating (2-4 hours) — Who said all team building activities need to be indoors? Head out with your team for some sun! Try dragon-boating or double-kayaking, which requires good teamwork. Include a race if possible.
  9. Paint-balling (2-4 hours) — Because really, there’s no better way to build a healthy rapport with your manager than shooting him in the ass (literally) while your co-workers stand around and cheer on. As an interesting variation, there’s a British firm specializing in corporate “Fatless Fat Fun” for when “the old team-building standards are feeling a bit tired.” Surrey-based Sumo Experience provides not only the sumo fat suits (complete with protective headgear that resembles a sumo hairdo) that will send your “opponent rolling on the ground like a beach ball,” but a Dohyo (sumo arena) and Gyoji (sumo referee) as well. Smoke machine and Japanese soundtrack are optional.
  10. Helium Stick (15 minutes) — This is a quick game that serves well as an ice-breaker or a short coffee break. A long thin stick is required. Be sure to call the pole a “Helium Stick” when you introduce the exercise. Place your group in two lines facing each other. Have each person hold the index finger of their right hand chest high. Place the helium stick on top of the outstretched fingers. The challenge is to lower the stick to the ground while keeping everyone’s fingers touching the stick. If anyone’s finger loses contact with the helium stick, you must start again. At first the stick will seem to rise (hence the name Helium Stick). In fact, it is simply the upwards pressure of everyone’s fingers causing the stick to go up instead of down. Once everyone relaxes they can easily lower the stick to the ground. This usually takes ten minutes of laughter and a leader to complete. (Optional: swap the helium stick for a helium balloon for a smaller team)
  11. Talking in Circles (0.5-1 hour) — This is a highly challenging game that is only recommended for teams who love challenges. Place everyone in a circle around a long piece of string that is tied at its ends to form a circle. Have everyone grasp the string with both hands and hold the string waist high. Without letting go, the team will have to form shapes with the string; a square, a triangle, a figure eight, a rectangle, etc. Repeat the game but with everyone’s eyes shut! This will require everyone to communicate clearly and listen well. Make the shapes progressively harder and periodically have them stop and open their eyes to see their progress…or lack there of
  12. Human Knot (15-30 minutes) — This brain teaser is funny and really works on teambuilding, problem solving and communication. No materials are needed. Recommended group size includes a wide range of 8-20 people. Instruct the participants to stand in a circle, shoulder to shoulder. Tell everyone to put their right hand in the air and grab the hand of someone standing across the circle from them. Now tell everyone to put their left hand in the air and grab the hand of a different person. Someone needs to check that everyone is holding the hands of two different people and that no one is holding the hand of someone who’s standing directly next to them. The objective of the game is to untangle everyone without letting go of their hands. If the chain is broken, participants will have to start over. Note: sometimes >1 circle will form. This game requires casual clothing, and is not recommended for team members with physical limitations. This game will rely heavily on teamwork and communication.
  13. Salt and Pepper (15 minutes) — This activity is fun, excellent for energizing your team, and also great as a quick ice-breaker exercise. It is simple to set up and suitable for a wide team size of 10-40 people (ideally even numbered). As a facilitator, think of pairs of things such as, salt and pepper, yin and yang, shadow and light, peanut butter and jelly, Mickey and Minnie mouse, male and female, and so forth. Write each item on a piece of paper (i.e. salt on one piece and pepper on another), and tape one paper on the back of each person, making sure they can’t see it. When the game starts, everyone must walk around asking yes or no questions in order to find out what word they have taped to their backs. Once they figure that out, they need to find their other pair. Learning how to ask the right questions is the key. (Optional: The two will then sit down and learn three to five interesting facts about one another)
Now, head out for some fun with your team! 
13 Top Team Building Activities - Vorkspace Blog — Vorkspace Blog

british values

It's quite a debate:

Militant teachers demand schools stop promoting 'British values' as it makes children from other cultures feel inferior

  • Guidelines want to encourage children to appreciate British values
  • But teachers reject the move, which they say is linked to colonialism
  • Critics have accused teaching unions of waging 'ideological war' 
Teachers are demanding that schools stop promoting 'fundamental British values' over claims it could make children think other cultures are inferior.
The National Union of Teachers said telling children about the country's democracy, law and traditions could encourage 'cultural supremacy' and urged a new focus on 'international human rights' instead.
Under government guidelines, which are aimed at tackling extremism in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, children must be taught about being a British citizen as well as tolerance other faiths and lifestyles.
However, union leaders said the term was demeaning to other cultures 'particularly in the context of multicultural schools and the wider picture of migration'.
Delegates passed a motion in favour of campaigning to scrap it during the NUT annual conference in Brighton today.
Scroll down for video 
Teachers have rejected moves to teach 'British values' in schools over fears they are linked to colonialism
Teachers have rejected moves to teach 'British values' in schools over fears they are linked to colonialism
Christopher Denson, an NUT representative from Coventry, said: 'We need to fight to reject this notion of British values, to fight for notions of human values and human rights.
'We have to stand together across communities to bring down barriers, bring down borders, to say no to Islamophobia, no to anti-Semitism, no to fascism and any form of racism.'
The motion said that migrants make a 'huge economic, political and social contribution' to the country and that public services and businesses would 'face severe difficulties' without them.
It criticised the government for only taking in a 'minute fraction' of refugees and vowed to campaign for 'policies that welcome' them to the country.
The union agreed to 'gather and collate' teaching materials on migrants and refugees for members to use in classrooms from now on.
Mr Denson said he disliked using the term 'fundamental British values' in his classroom when many of his pupils had ancestry in countries which had encountered British colonialism.
He said: 'The inherent cultural supremacism in that term is both unnecessary and unacceptable.
'And seen with the Prevent agenda, it belies the most thinly veiled racism and a conscious effort to divide communities.'
He added: 'It's our duty to push real anti-racist work in all schools. And that doesn't mean talk of tolerating other's views, but genuine, inclusive anti-racist work.'
Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the NUT conference last week, which today rejected the 'British values' plans
Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the NUT conference last week, which today rejected the 'British values' plans
He said he had requested a week of themed assemblies every year in his school, with topics including apartheid and the rise of Islamophobia 'in the context of anti-Semitism in the 1930s'.
'This year we focussed on the migrant crisis in Calais, the Mediterranean and beyond,' he added.
'We organised a politics day for Year 8s [aged 12 to 13] in the week before Easter.
'They had a day to form a political party in their tutor groups to come up with a manifesto, film a broadcast, and make banners and take part in a debate.
'Apart from the quality of the work, the other thing that really made my proud was that every single tutor group had as a policy, 'refugees welcome, open the borders'.
'We need to be pushing at every level for anti-racism to be in the core curriculum for every child.'
Many of the activists at the conference said they had been to migrant camps over the channel to take food and provisions. 
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT said: 'Schools and teachers play a key role in welcoming migrant and refugee children and young people to this country, and supporting their progress within schools.
'The NUT condemns the Government's inadequate response to the current migrant situation, which has exacerbated the suffering for so many, including school-age children and young people.
'The NUT has produced a guide to Welcoming Refugee Children to your School and has a dedicated section on its website for teaching resources which have been provided by teachers for teachers, on the issue.
'The NUT will continue to work with Show Racism the Red Card, Hope Not Hate and others, to campaign for Government policies that welcome migrants and refugees to this country. The NUT will also continue to press for anti-racism work to be enshrined within the curriculum of all schools.'
The requirement on schools to teach fundamental British values was introduced in 2014 in a bid to crack down on extremism in schools.

Nicky Morgan on ensuring young people understand 'British values'

Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
Current Time0:20
Duration Time0:59
Need Text
Speakers at the conference said they were striving to teach children the positives of migration into Britain
Speakers at the conference said they were striving to teach children the positives of migration into Britain
It followed the Trojan Horse scandal, in which state schools in Birmingham were infiltrated by hardliners who tried to impose an Islamic agenda.
Ofsted, the schools regulator, has been penalising schools which do not sufficiently show that they are promoting British values.
Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: 'Teachers should not be playing the role of fifth columnists in the ideological war currently being fought over our national identity and our national sovereignty.
'Teaching children that British values are part of "cultural supremacism" will, at best, make them feel guilty about being British and, at worst, radicalise them in order to 'make up' for the sins of their fathers.
'If one wishes to destroy a nation and build a "brave new world" you begin by indoctrinating and brainwashing the children.
'This process of 're-education' has started some years ago in our schools and we are, now, seeing its consequences in the suppression of free speech on our university campuses.
'The notion of 'value relativism' - that all views are equally valid - has reached saturation point in our schools.
'In many classrooms this has led to the views of terrorists being given equal weigh to those of the victim of terrorism. Against this background the latest motions from the NUT come as no surprise, at all.'
The Department for Education has been contacted for comment. 

Teachers want to stop promoting 'British values' over 'cultural supremacy' fears | Daily Mail Online