Monday, November 8, 2010

Race to Nowhere?

The current debates about childhood and academic achievement often give me whiplash.  I believe that children should play, that we need a variety of experiences in our lives and that we should support a wide array of learning styles and gifts (multiple intelligences).  But, I also think it is pretty good to work hard at the hard math problem, to stick with a challenge, and feel some pride at the achievement of a job well done.  These are sensible values (I think) and not at odds with one another, except when all of it is expected at once or to be accomplished at a crazy pace. 

The film,  A Race to Nowhere, purports to document the effects of the stress kids feel at the heavy "achievement pressures" placed on them by schools and their families.

Merriconeag is hosting a screening on Dec 2nd (tickets $10.00) -- is anyone interested in going, or should we consider hosting our own post-holiday screening?

1 comment:

Maya said...

Kim, I'm feeling like we should have our own screening with a facilitated discussion afterward. We like to think our school is different, but how different are we, really? If anything, are our kids getting a great big mixed message: We think you should be outside playing and happy and peacefully non-competitive, and by the way, you're not up to speed on this high-stakes assignment? Some kids can handle both, but many at this age can't because their frontal lobes are not yet on board. Does that make them failures? Can we truly work out a system that addresses multiple intelligences and learning styles without sacrificing academic rigor? Inquiring minds want to know...