Category Archives: New Directions

BLOG#15 Out of the Head and Into the Body

In the previous blog we saw that children’s learning experiences can be broadened and deepened to include kinesthetic awareness and the development of the sense of body geography. These can build a sense of well-being and confidence that mental, or head work alone does not give. Building on this, here are a few more activities which teach multiplication through movement and rhythm. 

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Blog#14 Passport To Mathematics and The 48 Club

Nothing lends itself to rhythmical movement activities like the times tables. The times tables, after all, are fundamentally rhythmical and active in nature. Hence, it is beneficial for children to learn them in like manner, as it accords with their developmental needs.

Rhythmical counting is begun in first grade. Here the children count each step as they march up to 24 or 36.

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Blog#13 Educulture : Teaching Through Art

There is widespread recognition that art is a wonderful amendment to what schools can offer to children’s learning experience. The arts cultivate. They deepen and broaden. They touch the students more deeply than most educational activities because they are experiential, because they connect with feeling and imagination more than with intellect. The body is engaged, as well.

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Blog#12 Educoercion

In subsequent blogs I hope to focus less on what is wrong with our educational system and more on what can be done to help us move in a more positive direction. But first, I feel a need to highlight a particular element in education, and to give it a name. I call it ‘educoercion’. To coerce is to compel by forcible action.  Too often, children are forced to do something they are not inclined to do willingly. We should be aware of when we are doing this. 

How can we bring our teaching to the place where children will see learning as something they want to do, are willing to do? A healthy child wants to learn about the world, wants to participate, to be engaged and to find meaning and connection. I think I can say that unequivocally. How do we destroy this longing, and so early on?

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Blog #11 A Bunch of Stuff

I’ve asked many high school graduates what their school experience was like. The most common answer was, “I learned a bunch of stuff”. 

Stuff is an apt word because, aside from referring to things that are non-essential, its verb form carries the connotation of thing’s being crammed, or stuffed in.  We see around us the effects of this education on society in a lack of connection, a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of interest. 

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Blog#10 the little letters

An Imaginative Way To Introduce The Lower Case Letters

One fine afternoon the Big Letters got all dressed up and went for a promenade. Although they took their children, hardly anyone looking at them noticed this, for the children were so bashful that they hid behind their elders. The parents chatted easily with each other as they strolled through the streets. 

After a time little p peeked out from behind his mother, Big P.  He saw little l looking at little n, who noticed him, and then little w whispered something. “What did you say?” inquired his mother, Big W.

“I said, ‘I wish there was something for me to do’.”

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Blog #9 The Wookey Hole

The Wookey Hole is a limestone cavern in the Cheddar region of southwest England. ‘Wookey’ is derived from a Welsh word for ‘cave’, “Ogof”, which became “Ochie” to locals. ‘Hole’ is Anglo-Saxon for ‘cave’. Thus, Wookey Hole Cave as it is known, means ‘cave cave cave’, which I find interesting.  Here, water which has percolated through the limestone collects from the surrounding Mendip Hills providing the source water of the River Axe. 

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