Special needs students and their teachers are the victims of a “muddled” approach to schooling, says Leicester Uni http://j.mp/qB5qcd
Socioeconomic status as child dictates response to stress as adult according to University of Minnesota http://j.mp/qDZRZ8
Parents are forgetting how to play with their children, study shows – article from The Guardian last year http://j.mp/jdoiSR
Teenage web habits: slaves to social networking but not so keen on apps, according to article in Guardian http://bit.ly/qiXS0f
Infants Learn To Transfer Knowledge By 16 Months, OSU Study Finds http://j.mp/lPOAsG
Supportive home learning experiences in the early years boost low-income children’s readiness for school. From NYU. http://j.mp/j3JmWs
Being born & raised in a city is associated with greater lifetime risk for anxiety & mood disorder. From Nature. http://j.mp/jrjGpu
The quality of preschoolers’ social interactions is influenced by the ethnicity of the playmate. From Montreal Uni. http://j.mp/m8AxNQ
Parents prefer media content ratings system in national study led by Iowa State Uni http://j.mp/jS7Psd
How parents communicate with teenagers on mobiles gives insight into relationship according to study http://j.mp/mrfR5l
New study suggests that kids who eat sweets are *less* overweight than those that don’t. http://j.mp/lUbKlO
Informal daycare may harm kids’ cognitive development, Chicago Uni study finds http://j.mp/jLBYP7 (pdf)
Teens still learning to plan ahead from Child Development journal http://j.mp/kzyUhz
Youth cybercrime linked to friends’ influence from Michigan State University http://j.mp/iBAKm3
There’s a lot of research that seems to state the blindingly obvious but sometimes it is reassuring to discover that our innate beliefs are sound. Like having a local park improves your health or this piece from Concordia University published in the journal Family Relations that reminds us that families that play together are more cohesive. It’s true apparently even with adult grandchildren and their grandparents.
One aspect of the research that struck me was Hebblethwaite and Norris’s assertion that ‘grandparents often use such get-togethers as opportunities to teach, mentor and pass on legacies. “They share family histories, personal experiences and life lessons,” says Hebblethwaite. “They pass on family values, traditions and stressed the importance of family cohesion.”‘
It is quite an unfashionable position to suggest that we adults might learn from someone else (as opposed to with) but I think there is a basic truth to it in many circumstances. And it doesn’t contradict the assertion that adult learning is based on conversation. On the contrary, the fact that ‘playing together’ breaks down barriers, provides shared experiences and takes us out of the daily routine encourages dialogue in ways that are more relaxed than other equally worthwhile activities. Even collaborative jobs provide less coalescing potential because of the inherently serious and productive nature of ‘work.’
One of the unspoken objections to the idea of a ‘teacher’ is the suggestion of hierarchy in the relationship. Personally, I find it easy to accept a hierarchy associated with greater knowledge and experience; but only a fool of an expert would discount the possibility of discovering something new from less-learned others. The Concordia research flags the transactional nature of inter-generational leisure that makes the relationship balanced. Play is a catalyst for the grandparents too: the grandchildren receive family culture and philosophies while their elders are exposed to new ideas and technologies. It’s a winning combination.
But then we knew that, didn’t we?
The evolutionary psychologist, Geoffrey Miller, has published many papers speculating about the development of human creativity – that is, why would we evolve in such a way that we create apparently wasteful artefacts such as art, poetry, humour and music? According to Miller it is all about the Mating Mind – it’s peacock feathers and courtship or as John Keating in Dead Poets Society says, it is “to woo women.”
Now a new study suggests it might not be about sex at all. Or at least not all about sex. Research (pdf) published in the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology (yes, really), suggests that Disneyland, as the epitome of popular culture, storytelling, music and dance, tells us all sorts of things about entertainment, and it has nothing to do with woo-ing. Unless you have a thing for mice.
The paper proposes that rather than being about courtship, the creative aspects of the human brain and the behaviour they provoke is all about passing on information between generations; it is how parents play with their children, how society bonds and how it develops communally. “The brain circuitry involved in both the generation of, and response to, these traits was selected for because it enabled parents to increase their fitness by increasing their ability to influence their offspring” say the authors Craig Palmer of the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Kathryn Coe of the University of Arizona.
This idea of entertaining culture being part of child development ties in with the idea that play is part of a training ground for adaptability more than more obvious role-playing. In his book The Ambiguity of Play, play theorist, Brian Sutton-Smith argues that the dynamics of play mirror the biological processes that lead to adaptive variability, that is, play is characterised by quirkiness, unpredictability and redundancy.
By linking family behaviour with the activities associated with these theme parks, Palmer and Coe are connecting community bonding with play and reiterating the importance of shared parent-child amusement. Maybe going to the Magic Kingdom is more like entering the Magic Circle afterall.