Day 110 (of 186) the unexpected “gaps”
Recently came across an article worried about the ability for kids to hold pencils: http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2018/02/modern-kids-can-barely-hold-a-pencil/
which I teasingly tweeted out “in support” because how many pencils will be in use in the next 5 years knowing full well that I love doing notes and messages by hand – albeit using sharpies instead of pencils and post-it notes over notebooks….heavily inspired by @presentationzen
I (tongue in cheek) say that my classroom/school is the place where cursive comes to die. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – my dad had beautiful pensmanship – but some things are not necessarily genetic (or skips a generation because I am surprised at my teen-rebel kids at home who like to use cursive – and use it well – just to get a rise out of me). I like written expression but I find printing so much less stressful for myself and others than mandating cursive – still do some as a relaxing activity so those that like it can flourish with it, but never forced use.
Why are modern kids unable to hold a pencil? Well for the same possible reason that my daughter is going to a physiotherapist for her feet – initially for some work on her achilles (and having tweaked mine a couple of times so I have authentic empathy for her) but in talking with the physiotherapist, she agreed with my kindergarten teacher and figures that we need to give kids more time to move around without shoes – because modern shoes have so many adaptions to “help” that certain foot mechanics are also suffering – so I ordered a “toe spreader” to help her toes stop bending in…. And new shoes have so many “tweaks” to the design (and fashion making the shoes narrower than they probably should be at the front) that the foot doesn’t need to work as hard as it used to…..
So the shoes that I wear (as an older user) with built in orthotics that help me move better (and more!) are helping establish “supports” that for younger users are teaching a “learned helplessness” – similar to the tech that is great as it allows voice to text for those who struggle with written output….but is also creating a “learned helplessness” with the rigor needed for using pencils….
Digital tools are great – I still declare the iPad as the greatest tool for differentiation – recently surpassing my adoration of laptops AND am aware that I like the pencil that got along with my iPad pro! But I also support and encourage 3-D usage: drawing sketching (my anxiety boy regularly fills sketchbooks with original Pokémon – last year I took home 12 thick books from his locker at the end of term) LEGO (especially for separating blocks) and building and playing (and I’m sad that the blocks and wood planks aren’t used more often in my classroom). But tools are tools – it is up to us how and when they are used….
Running shoes are great – better designed than ever before…but maybe too well designed? While it is easy to blame the tools….really it is the behaviours of how the tools are used – but it’s so much easier to blame “whats new” instead of focusing on how we use them….and being mindful of the memory foams that we are putting in them may make the feet feel good for now…..but how is the ankle support? Are arches working as they should?
So…I’m gonna plan some barefoot drawing activities in the near future – and even be willing to model barefootedness in and around my classroom and school if and when the snow finally melts into spring!