Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

Does ‘Stranger Danger’ do More Harm than Good?

August 1, 2012

If teaching children about ‘stranger danger’ prevents them from feeling safe then is it really worth it?

Research by the charity the National Children’s Bureau showed that under-15s are now less likely to enjoy outdoor play than in previous generations.

It was revealed that almost half of parents admitted that “fear of strangers” prevented them allowing sons or daughters from playing outside.

More than 46 per cent cited traffic concerns and a third were afraid that children would trip or get hurt while playing in parks, streets and playgrounds, figures showed.

The NCB – which published the research to coincide with its national Playday 2012 campaign – insisted that playing outside “should be a normal everyday event for all children”.

Click on the link to read Video of Woman Saving Children From Runaway Van

Click on the link to read Should This Movie Be R Rated?

Click on the link to read Sick Teachers Need to be Arrested not Fired!

Our Children and the Disgusting Climate of Fear

March 6, 2012

I love my job but if the Government ever forces me to scare my students in the name of “science” I will plainly refuse. I would sooner lose my job than transfer the negatively geared, sensationalistic, propaganda, intended at frightening children into believing that the world is going to go to bits because of man-made global warming.

I am more than happy to help motivate my students to care for their environment and reduce their own carbon footprints – this is a positive message. However, the Government, United Nations and various scientific agencies have no interest in positive messages. Their game is to fill our young impressionable children with fear and dread. These people believe that a nightmare in the name of science makes the experience worthwhile.

Just watch this advertisement below. This is no underground commercial. This was played at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. It is absolutely appalling! It has as much scientific value as a mound of cow turd! How dare they use children like that. What manipulative cowards they are! Who needs to communicate truths when you can terrorise children?

Anthony Sharwood is right in his assessment of this advertisement and the message we our sending our impressionable young:

One of the worst things I’ve seen in ages was the Copenhagen Climate Summit opening film, where a small child has terrible, apocalyptic nightmares after learning about human-induced climate change.

He is also correct in offering a much more palatable alternative in teaching the challenges of conserving our environment.

My six year old daughter has been learning about Earth Hour at school. Want to know how to really inspire her and others like her to save the world? Get them to love it, not fear it. Allow them to develop their own sense of environmental responsibility, rather than indoctrinating them to feel part of a “problem”.

I’m not a perfect parent. If anyone has an IKEA-style parenthood manual complete with helpful Swedish pictograms, please loan it to me. But one piece of parenting I think I’ve gotten right is instilling a deep love of nature in both my kids.

Together, we’ve bushwalked, skied and swum in some of Australia’s most beautiful locations. We’ve thrown summer snowballs on a New Zealand volcano and caught (and then released) tadpoles in a clear, Blue Mountains stream.

At home, I teach my kids about clouds and the wind direction, and always Google the birds that alight on our backyard trees, so that we can observe their habits armed with a few facts. How many city kids do you know that tell the difference between a white cockatoo and a Corella?

One day, I hope my daughter becomes an environmental scientist or activist who helps save the world. More likely, she’ll live a regular life with a regular job, and that’ll be fine too. Either way, I’m sure she’ll choose to pursue a lifestyle of modest consumption and environmental light-stepping.

If ever called on to teach this subject in such a negative way I will flatly refuse. If they force an educational pack on me I will immediately throw it in the bin (recycle bin, of course).

One wonders why those investing time into spreading the message about our carbon footprint consistently put their foot in it.

Scaring Our Children Senseless

November 9, 2011

It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to protect children and educate them on the dangers that exist in the ‘real world’.  However, in attempting to prepare children for incidents and scenarios that are unlikely to happen we have seemingly created a fear and paranoia that has proven quite destructive to the same children we are trying to protect.

A surge in reports of men acting suspiciously near schoolchildren has triggered urgent talks between schools and police, who fear the ‘‘stranger danger’’ message has gone into overdrive.

Police say heightened fears of children being stalked on Gold Coast streets are unfounded, and the increase in reports is the result of people jumping at shadows after a rash of incorrect media stories.

Regional Crime Coordinator Dave Hutchinson says some incidents are made up, and others are cases of children taking fright for no good reason.

I am a bit concerened at how scared and anxious our children are becoming, and teachers are slightly to blame.  Besides stranger danger and other programes that inhabit fear in students, many teachers in Australia have been scaring children with doom and gloom predictions about global warming.  No matter what your position is on this issue, it is important that teachers instruct, educate and empower children, instead of frighten or demoralise them.

There is a huge difference between helping students become perceptive, instinctive and responsible and helping them to  become fearful and paranoid.

At the end of the day, the importance of the message is lost when it inspires an irrational and overpowering fear.

The Humiliation of Standing Up in Front of the Class

October 19, 2011

Critics of the way our generation of parents rear children tell us that we spoil kids senseless.  They say that we go out of our way to protect our children from failure.  They admonish us for not allowing children to deal with disappointment, a crucial life skill in the real world.

But as much as I agree with these critics, I can’t help but sympathise for children that are not ready for the battering that can come about from being singled out amongst their peers.

When I was studying to become a teacher, my Art lecturer made us do a sketch of a fellow classmate, who was made to pose leaning against a ladder.  I can’t draw for my life.  Even my stick figures look shabby!  At the end of the activity, the students wandered from drawing to drawing, inspecting the works of art that our creative class had accomplished.  Then there was mine.  An absolutely horrendous, ghastly mess, that looked nothing like the poor subject.  I wanted to crawl into the art supplies cupboard and remain there for at least thirty years!

When we were expecting our first child, we attended parenting classes.  On one of our weekly lessons, the instructor got all the fathers up in front of the class to do a demonstration of how cloth nappies/diapers are applied to a newborn.  We were each given a cloth nappy and a doll and were given quick instructions before being put to work.  I have never been great with verbal instructions.  I am a visual person, relying on generous amounts of time and clear descriptive pictures before I can follow even the simplest of instructions.  Needless to say, my nappy ended up looking more like a paper airplane.

And I’m an adult with relatively good self-esteem.  Imagine how kids feel?

Imagine how uncoordinated and unfit children feel during physical education classes.  Imagine how traumatic it is for a child who finds maths difficult to demonstrate an answer on the board in front of the class.

I totally agree that these are problems children should be able to deal with, as they are problems that exist in the real world.

I’m just not sure I’m emotionally ready to teach it to them.

Tips for Adjusting to a New School

July 12, 2011

Below is an excerpt of a book dealing with tips for making the transition between schools more manageable:

Michele Borba, author of “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions,” says moving to an upper-level school is a severe change for kids. Here are Borba’s tips for helping guide your kids through each school transition.

Middle school

Going from elementary to middle school is a big change for kids because they generally go from having one teacher to several. Borba says it’s important that kids find at least one buddy in each of their classes so they have someone to turn to in case they have questions on an assignment or are absent.

She urges parents to walk through the school with their children before the first day so they know how to get from class to class. They should also know how to get to the bathrooms, the cafeteria and the school office.

Organization is important at this stage, since kids will have different classes and teachers. Make sure your kids have a binder with different-colored folders for each class and know where to write their homework assignments.

High school

Once kids reach high school, they won’t want you to walk the school with them before the year starts. What Borba suggests, though, is that you print out a map of the school, and show your children where their classes are and how to get to them. Then have them walk the halls with a buddy before the first day.

Now that they’ll have six or seven classes a day, students will have to be even more organized than in middle school.

In terms of social issues, bullying is a big concern. Borba says the No. 1 place where bullying occurs is in the cafeteria, so make sure your high schooler has at least one friend who has lunch at the same time so he can sit with that person and not feel alone.

Education on Climate Change, Not Scare Tactics

July 10, 2011

No matter how strongly teachers may feel on the subject of climate change, there is no place for scare tactics in a Primary classroom.

PRIMARY school children are being terrified by lessons claiming climate change will bring “death, injury and destruction” to the world unless they take action.

On the eve of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon tax package announcement, psychologists and scientists said the lessons were alarmist, created unneeded anxiety among school children and endangered their mental health.

Climate change as a “Doomsday scenario” is being taught in classrooms across Australia.

Resource material produced by the Gillard government for primary school teachers and students states climate change will cause “devastating disasters”.

Australian National University’s Centre for the Public Awareness of Science director Dr Sue Stocklmayer said climate change had been portrayed as “Doomsday scenarios with no way out”.

The fear campaign must stop.  It is a manipulative and immature tactic by a desperate Government.  Our job as educators is to empower and motivate not scare our students senseless.

I refuse to teach Government resource material that has the potential to frighten my students.

Am I a Hypocrite or Just Human?

January 19, 2011

As I teacher, I frequently encounter students who are struggling with fear.  Fear of failure, fear of not measuring up to others, fear of loneliness, fear of losing popularity, fear of not seeming smart enough and fear of public humiliation.

It is my job to notice a student who is fearful and help them manage their anxiety with strategies, words of encouragement and ongoing support.  In these situations I am quite adept  at knowing what to say and the steps required to deal with the issues at hand.

Only trouble is … I am also fearful.

  • I am scared of death (both myself and my family and friends).
  • I am scared of driving.
  • I am scared of rejection.  I have been fine tuning my manuscript for ages out of fear of being rejected by publishers.
  • I am scared of taking risks, doing things that seem beyond me and leaving my comfort zone.

Whilst I am constantly working on myself and have improved over time, it feels strange that I am giving advice for issues I share.

Am I a hypocrite or just human?


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