Growing Up in a False Reality.

Kids today are out of touch with themselves, others, and the world around them.

Many people are focused on reducing screen time for children; I’m one of those people. The health risks are enormous for our kids, in a variety of ways, from their vulnerable, undeveloped eyes to their growing bodies and minds. And while I am the first to advocate for schools and parents to limit the amount of time our children spend on digital devices, per se, I am also growing increasingly convinced that our emotive relationships with these machines – which correlates to screen time – needs more exploration. What psychological needs are these digital devices filling – and what price is being paid when they dominate our lives?

Not long ago, I reluctantly signed up for a social media account, recognizing the efficacy of that medium for instantly reaching large, targeted audiences. Because I was pursuing the passage of specific statewide legislation, the timeliness of the messaging was important to me, to educate stakeholders and mobilize political support as quickly as possible.

With nearly the same speed that my messages were being sent, my own need to know how my messages were being received, emerged. It was remarkable how quickly I felt compelled to look at my hit count or check for messages. Hit that bar and get that pellet. No pellet? Hit the bar again. Ah. Pellet. Good pellet. Hit the bar. How many people reacted to my message? That’s it?! Send another message. Get another pellet.

It quickly became evident that I was drawn back to the computer with growing frequency, and increased emotional investment. If my message was well received, I felt validated, vindicated, and smart. And if my message was ignored, it was certain proof that no one cared about the things that interested me most, and I felt isolated.

This, from a grown woman, with a lifetime of professional communications and technology experience.

So I can hardly imagine the emotional roller-coaster that many children are now experiencing. It’s very easy to see how cyber-bullying has become such a crisis, since our children’s self-esteem is now hinging on uncontrollable virtual approval, and invisible, shifting, unpredictable digital feedback. The validation we all crave is now seemingly only available to our kids in an artificial way. Even their grades are impersonally emailed to them – no more dirty looks or pats on the back from their teachers.

How uncomfortable, and insecure, then, our children must feel. Whatever approval kids may receive from one another is fleeting, fickle, and unreliable. “Friends” are not real friends. And any embarrassment is amplified, shared universally, and inescapable.

What used to happen and be forgotten in a week when we were kids, now lingers and taunts. A cell phone snapshot can persist online forever, and humiliate a child for years. There is no escape, no relief, no place to hide. It’s cruel. How damaged will this generation be, from the stress of performing for each other, to avoid being “unfriended”? Social media is a sneaky little medium, that hurts. The girl at the lunch table doesn’t yet know she’s the target of criticism by the other kids at the same table.

Read the full article at Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/mental-wealth/201705/growing-in-false-reality

Where Are The Textbooks? The Use of Main Lesson Books in Waldorf (Steiner) Education

Article from Summerfield Waldorf School

Main Lesson books are unique to Waldorf education. While traditional schooling pairs lecturing with textbook references and worksheets, Waldorf students process and record lectures in notes and illustrations on large, blank pages of high-quality paper.

What are these books exactly and why do Waldorf schools use them?

What is a Main Lesson Book?

The creation of a Main Lesson book is an active, hands-on experience of learning that encourages both intention and creativity. Waldorf students record content of each subject of study, presented during a student’s main lesson class, in a Main Lesson book.

These creative, curriculum-rich books become the culmination of all students have learned, in depth, for the year about a topic. These topics, such as History, Science and Mathematics to name a few, are taught in blocks averaging 4 to 6 weeks, and the books serve as both learning tools and documentation of the work learned.

Every Main Lesson features daily work in the Main Lesson book. The student writes and illustrates the lesson’s content into their books. This content consists of relevant illustrations, stories, notes and summaries all written by hand. Children are given freedom within the creation of their books about both what they write and how they illustrate. This makes both the book and the content of the lesson their own.

What is Its Purpose?

The Main Lesson book serves many important purposes. On a practical level, it replaces the textbooks and worksheets seen in other schools. Instead of referencing a book as support material to what a teacher teaches, the teacher is the source material and the Main Lesson book becomes the creative, holistic recording of that imparted knowledge.

In this way, students learn through listening and re-interpreting the teacher’s lessons into useable notes and bits of information — both recording and processing the information as they go along. This is done alongside creative and artistic representations of the material. This brings personalization, beauty, joy and relevancy to lessons.

The goal is better absorption of the material on a deeper level as well as inspiring a joy in learning. Children in Waldorf schools are learning to learn and learning to love learning. Memorization for tests or temporary learning, to simply prove out rote work, is never the goal. Main Lesson books, over worksheets and text books, help ensure that children learn meaningfully and deeply each and every day.

Does A Main Lesson Book Help with Learning?

To find out, please click this link

Class 2 Main Lesson Book

A Parent’s Guide to Teens, Social Media and Smartphone Addiction

illustration by Lauren of Deep Cereal http://deepcereal.com/commissions

What Happens When You Take a Teen’s Phone Away for 7 Days?

Withdrawal symptoms similar to a drug addict. Panic attacks, anxiety, anger, crying, tantrums, screaming, rolling eyes, pissed off body language, lies, pouts, disbelief. Parents of teens have it rough these days thanks to a new cocktail: smartphones laced with social media apps. The mix is so potent it can take over your teen’s life and so dangerous it can literally open the door to stalkers.

Zombie Teens. The New Normal?
There is a teen epidemic happening right in front of us, and it’s called smartphone addiction. If you are wondering why your teenager is always taking selfies, it’s called Snapchat, or better named Crackchat. Why?

Top 10 reasons my daughter “could not live” without her phone (in her words)

  1. Friends would be mad
  2. Losing her streaks (more on this below)
  3. FOMO (Fear of missing out)
  4. That’s where she hangs out with friends
  5. Netflix
  6. “Not fair”
  7. No other way to talk to friends
  8. Youtube
  9. She’d rather lose her voice calling phone app than Snapchat
  10. Boredom

Teen brain hacking
Apps like Snapchat are actually designed to be addicting. It’s called brain hacking, and developers are hired to study the brain and the neurological triggers that keep us coming back for more. According to a former Google product manager, Silicon Valley is engineering your phone, apps and social media to get you hooked. It’s all about the Likes.

The problem for parents today is that the apps sprout up so fast it’s hard to keep up with new ones as quickly as they are available for download. Most apps do not come with any age limits, warning labels or ratings that parents can easily screen.

Dear Parents: Have you checked the children?

If you have a teenager you might need to do a check up, there is a social media crisis happening right in front of your screens.

My daughter just turned 15, and I’ve watched the social media highs and lows influencing her circle of friends the past few years. As a social media expert for businesses and the instructor of the social media management class at the University of Florida, I thought I was more social media savvy than most parents. In my mind, I could easily maneuver my teenager through the dangerous minefields of social media. Little did I know I was in parenting La La Land.

Read the full article https://medium.com/@lisabuyer/what-happens-when-you-take-a-teens-phone-away-for-7-days-617262853122

The Right Brain Develops First ~ Why Play is the Foundation for Academic Learning

Photo credit: Allan Ajifo/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Did you know that the right brain develops first? It does so by the time children are 3-4 years of age. The left brain, on the other hand, doesn’t fully come online until children are approximately seven years old; hence the first seven years being recognized as such a critical period in child development.

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ~ Albert Einstein

The left brain’s functionality is one of language, numeracy, literacy, analysis and time. It is the logical, calculating, planning, busy-bee part of us that keeps us anchored in the pragmatic world, and in past and future. The right brain, on the other hand, is responsible for empathy, intuition, imagination and creativity. It is where we wonder, dream, connect and come alive. Through the right brain we dwell in the space of no-time, in being absolutely present. While the left brain is more interested in outcomes or product, the right brain cares much more about process—the journey is what matters, not the destination.

But there is one more vital piece to understand: The right brain connects us to our boundless sense of being. Being is primary; hence the right brain developing first; hence, human being, not human doing. The left brain is far more interested in doing. Young right-brain dominant children, by contrast, are quite content being.

Understanding this we can better appreciate why play is so important in child learning and development, and why we need to be extra careful with the amount and timing of academic agendas created for children; with how much we emphasize product—what kids have accomplished at school—versus process—who they are becoming and what they feel in their explorations. That the right brain develops first is pertinent information for those in the field of education, as well as parents, regarding what is developmentally appropriate. Pushing literacy and numeracy on children before age seven may just be harmful to their little, developing brains. Without the capacity to use their academic minds in the ways that are being asked can cause children to gain what’s called “learned stupidity.” They believe themselves to be incapable and lose their natural desire to learn.

You cannot measure the qualitative aspects of imagination, empathy and intuition; but, of course, you can measure the aforementioned practical detail-oriented functions associated with the left brain. Yet the more we push those things that can be measured onto children, the more they will grow up feeling like they don’t measure up!

Read the full article by Vince Gowman here

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Mind over Machinery

By DOUGLAS GERWIN, PhD

The term “media” has an interesting and surprisingly short biography. As recently as the 1970s the Oxford English Dictionary listed only three meanings for this term––the oldest going back no further than the 1840s––and none of them had anything to do with newspapers, magazines, radio, film, or television, though the phrase “mass media” has circulated in popular American parlance since the 1920s.

Instead, “media” is listed in the OED as a biological term denoting the middle membrane of an artery, while in phonetics it refers to a soft mute sound, such as in the consonants “b”, “g”, or “d”. The third definition is simply as the plural of the noun “medium”. On this view, iron bars or pools of water or even table tappers could be described as being “media” for sounds, waves, or disembodied spirits.

Today “media” is such common (and sometimes abused) currency that we all know––or think we know––what we mean by it. Let’s explore different aspects of what by now we call “the media”, especially in their relationship to technology as vehicles or platforms for education. . . .

When Is Technology a Tool? When a Crutch? The Role of Technology in Education

Read the Full article at Waldorf Today https://www.waldorftoday.com/2013/01/the-sorcerers-apprentice-mind-over-machinery/