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Edited by Brigid Hains. When I was a child in the s, my friends and I had two educations. We had school which was not the big deal it is today , and we also had what I call a hunter-gather education. We played in mixed-age neighbourhood groups almost every day after school, often until dark.
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We played all weekend and all summer long. We had time to explore in all sorts of ways, and also time to become bored and figure out how to overcome boredom, time to get into trouble and find our way out of it, time to daydream, time to immerse ourselves in hobbies, and time to read comics and whatever else we wanted to read rather than the books assigned to us. What I learnt in my hunter-gatherer education has been far more valuable to my adult life than what I learnt in school, and I think others in my age group would say the same if they took time to think about it.
By about , the need for child labour had declined, so children had a good deal of free time. Clinical questionnaires aimed at assessing anxiety and depression, for example, have been given in unchanged form to normative groups of schoolchildren in the US ever since the s. Analyses of the results reveal a continuous, essentially linear, increase in anxiety and depression in young people over the decades, such that the rates of what today would be diagnosed as generalised anxiety disorder and major depression are five to eight times what they were in the s.
Over the same period, the suicide rate for young people aged 15 to 24 has more than doubled, and that for children under age 15 has quadrupled. The decline in opportunity to play has also been accompanied by a decline in empathy and a rise in narcissism, both of which have been assessed since the late s with standard questionnaires given to normative samples of college students.
Narcissism refers to inflated self-regard, coupled with a lack of concern for others and an inability to connect emotionally with others. A decline of empathy and a rise in narcissism are exactly what we would expect to see in children who have little opportunity to play socially. School fosters competition, not co-operation; and children there are not free to quit when others fail to respect their needs and wishes.
If we love our children and want them to thrive, we must allow them more time and opportunity to play, not less. Yet policymakers and powerful philanthropists are continuing to push us in the opposite direction — toward more schooling, more testing, more adult direction of children, and less opportunity for free play. I recently took part in a radio debate with a woman representing an organisation called the National Center on Time and Learning, which campaigns for a longer school day and school year for schoolchildren in the US a recording of the debate can be found here.
I argued the opposite.
Learning versus playing. That dichotomy seems natural to people such as my radio host, my debate opponent, my President, my Education Secretary — and maybe you. Learning, according to that almost automatic view, is what children do in school and, maybe, in other adult-directed activities.
Playing is, at best, a refreshing break from learning. From that view, summer vacation is just a long recess, perhaps longer than necessary. To learn these lessons well, children need lots of play — lots and lots of it, without interference from adults.
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My special interest is play. The young of all mammals play. Why do they waste energy and risk life and limb playing, when they could just rest, tucked away safely in a burrow somewhere? The first person to address that particular question from a Darwinian, evolutionary perspective was the German philosopher and naturalist Karl Groos. In a book called The Play of Animals , Groos argued that play came about by natural selection as a means to ensure that animals would practise the skills they need in order to survive and reproduce.
It explains why young animals play more than older ones they have more to learn and why those animals that depend least on rigid instincts for survival, and most on learning, play the most.derivid.route1.com/delirio-y-alucinacin-ensayos-de-literatura-y.php
Essay on generation gap- the differences between your generation and others.
To a considerable degree, you can predict how an animal will play by knowing what skills it must develop in order to survive and reproduce. Lion cubs and other young predators play at stalking and pouncing or chasing, while zebra colts and other prey species play at fleeing and dodging. Do we need more people who are good at memorising answers to questions and feeding them back? Who dutifully do what they are told, no questions asked? Groos followed The Play of Animals with a second book, The Play of Man , in which he extended his insights about animal play to humans.
He pointed out that humans, having much more to learn than other species, are the most playful of all animals.
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Human children, unlike the young of other species, must learn different skills depending on the culture in which they are developing. Therefore, he argued, natural selection in humans favoured a strong drive for children to observe the activities of their elders and incorporate those activities into their play. He suggested that children in every culture, when allowed to play freely, play not only at the skills that are valuable to people everywhere such as two-legged walking and running , but also at the skills that are specific to their culture such as shooting bows and arrows or herding cattle.
Prior to the development of agriculture, a mere 10, years ago or so, we were all hunter-gatherers. Some groups of people managed to survive as hunter-gatherers into recent times and have been studied by anthropologists.
I have read all the writings I could find on hunter-gatherer childhoods, and a number of years ago I conducted a small survey of 10 anthropologists who, among them, had lived in seven different hunter-gatherer cultures on three different continents. I would find a creative way to avoid it A number of factors plays a role in contribute to the My generation has received more help from the previous generation than they received when they were my age.
People from the previous generation did not get things handed out to them.