Why Protection in the Playground Robs Children of their Resilience

Children in the PlaygroundI sometimes wonder if we as parents and our schools have gone too far in over-protecting our children, pandering to their whims, and being hell-bent on saving them from accidents or disappointment in their young lives. Remember that old saying from the fairground… “Every Player Wins a Prize!” But should they? We all know that’s not the reality in the real world and we may be risking future emotional harm by trying too hard to smooth out the bumps in the road for our children during their formative years.

Political correctness gone mad and ‘safety first’ may be responsible for breeding a generation lacking in resilience who throw in the towel at the very first falter or knockback. I remember days of falling on the hard ground and skinning my knee; cutting my arm on a nail sticking out of the billycart I and my brother had built; breaking a collar bone in a football tackle; and discovering that what I thought was a ‘best in class’ composition only gaining me a B-.  Yet eventually the knee and the arm healed; the collarbone knitted together and I knuckled down and tried harder on my next classroom assignment.

And yes there was the occasional schoolyard falling out between friends when lunchtime games went awry, but ultimately we sorted things out and made up again the next day without the need for adults to come in and impose their ‘play fair’ rules upon us.

So if you like me, feel that protection pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction here is a wonderful story about a radical new move to back away from over protection in the schoolyard. It originates from my old home town in Auckland, New Zealand.

I read this story on Australia Day and it is sourced from ONE News in NZ. The headline reads “School Ditches Rules and Loses Bullies.” Now that piqued my interest. Here’s the gist of it… [Read more...]

A Short but costly Lesson on giving too much Freedom

Landscaping - Instant TurfI must admit I got caught out recently when I thought I was doing the right thing by this young tradesman. I needed some landscaping to be completed at the front of my property and it just so happened that at the same time I was considering my options, a young man (around 25 years) happened to drop by with a business card offering to quote me on the job. He had been doing some work in the area and noticed that I had been preparing my front yard for a major facelift. He seemed knowledgeable about his craft (landscaping and concreting) and was personable enough in a rough ‘tradie’ kind of way. Once I had seen his handiwork on some previous jobs, I felt comfortable he could complete the work to an acceptable level, so I decided to give him the opportunity. So far so good… [Read more...]

Imagine a High School where ‘Adult Learning Environment’ is the reality not just an idea

Nossal High SchoolAnd where there is an Information Resource Centre where books are borrowed and returned on an ‘honour’ system; where there are no bells or buzzers because the students are responsible for their own time keeping; and where appreciative enquiry, team teaching and collaborative study in an open learning environment is the order of the day. If you remember those old school days between 15 and 18 years of age when you sat in dreary classrooms while the teacher stood at the front and filled you full of information that you had to commit to memory and regurgitate at appropriate times, then it’s time to consider a new form of student utopia. [Read more...]

Australia’s Election is over and our outgoing PM gives a Victory Speech!

Kevin Rudd on Election nightSo at last the election is over and we can get on with our lives. We have a new conservative government  and a new Prime Minister, Mr Tony Abbott. Once again I would like to draw your attention to the language used by our outgoing Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, as he delivered his 30 minute concession speech. From what the pundits are saying, it seems I may not be the only one who wondered whether he had achieved a marvellous victory, rather than a resounding defeat. It seems to me that Mr Rudd was attempting to “reframe” the loss as a victory of sorts, but in my opinion it falls short for a number of reasons. [Read more...]

Some More ‘Home Grown’ Tips for Company Culture – Part 2

Tip #4

When it comes to ‘values violators’ you have to draw a line in the sand, regardless of their performance. Jack Welch, ex CEO of General Electric, said it best. To précis him…

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