Posts Tagged ‘France’

Award Slim Kids Higher Marks: Dukan

January 4, 2012

It is disgusting how some sections of society treat overweight kids. As if the stigma of being overweight in a “body beautiful” obsessed world isn’t hard enough. I am sick to death of reading negative ideas when trying to solve childhood obesity. The latest negative idea, which seeks to reward slim kids by giving them extra marks for no other reason than their body mass index readings, not only compromises the fairness of the exam process but makes children already suffering from feeling neglected and judged, feel like dirt.

Pierre Dukan, the nutritionist behind the popular but controversial Dukan diet, has suggested that France tackle child obesity by giving extra exam marks for slimness.

Dukan, who has sold 8 million copies of his diet book worldwide, made the proposal in a 250-page book called ‘An Open Letter to the Future President’, which he sent out on Tuesday to 16 candidates for France’s presidential election.

The plan calls for high school students to be allowed to take a so-called “ideal weight” option in their final year exams, the “baccalaureat”, under which they would earn extra points if they kept a body mass index (BMI) of between 18 and 25.

Those already overweight at the start of the two-year course would score double points if they managed to slim down over a period of two years.

“It’s a fantastic motivator,” Dukan told Reuters.

When we even consider adopting methods like Dukan’s we do a monumental disservice to kids struggling with their weight. These kids are often well-mannered, generous, talented and caring individuals. These are traits we should be focussing on, not weight! You will never see a suggestion that caring, empathetic, selfless and considerate kids get extra marks. These qualities pale into insignificance compared to a person’s weight.

When we employ negative inducements to entice children to lose weight, we not only make it harder for them to succeed but we also make them feel not good enough.

My view (as espoused in my novel) is that whilst I hope our overweight children are successful in losing their excess kilos, either way, let’s not let weight distract us from the qualities and unique characteristics of the person.

Whilst childhood obesity isn’t ideal, ignoring who the child is and concentrating on how much they weigh, is infinitely worse.

Birbalsingh: Children Think Winston Chruchill is a TV Dog

October 7, 2011

Whilst I don’t agree with everything Katherine Birbalsingh preaches, I think it would be irresponsible not to listen and absorb her frustrations with what is a failing Education system.

She is right that you cannot have students busy doing activities all day without giving them some background knowledge.  But I think she is wrong to dismiss the issues raised from the traditional style of teaching which she espouses.  The “Boredom Factor” is a huge stumbling block when teaching kids.  One may have gotten away with endless rote learning and long mat sessions in my day, but the kids wont let you get away with it today.

Below are some of the views she raised in a recent speech:

In a major speech on Wednesday evening, she told of children who failed to understand that Paris was the capital of France and other pupils who believe Winston Churchill is “that dog off the insurance advert”.

“Teaching historical facts or lists of vocab which rely on memory skills is considered old-fashioned,” she said.

“Instead, we think it better to inspire children to be creative through group discussion and project work. But background knowledge is absolutely essential to enable children to absorb new ideas.”

“Teachers are not meant to stand in front of the class, but instead move amongst children who are all busy doing something. The idea here is that ‘doing’ is more interesting than ‘listening’.

“That might very well be true. But the problem comes when we think that ‘doing’ needs to happen most of the time.

“This means that the teacher, traditionally a source of knowledge, almost becomes redundant as a fountain of knowledge and instead, becomes something of a referee.”

“Ordinary people don’t realise just how little some of our kids know. What we also forget is that the very thing that got us to where we are now, was the kind of education that we had – our teachers teaching us knowledge, so that we know the difference between Paris and France, even if it sometimes meant being bored in lessons and learning the discipline to struggle through.

“How many people in business clinch a deal because they know the soft skills of being polite, or know how to sit through a boring lecture, and concentrate enough to still pick up what is necessary to impress the client?

“Soft skills cannot be taught in a vacuum, independent of content or knowledge.”

I don’t take in much at all from a boring lecture.  Why is it always a choice between two extreme philosophies (this time, the progressive and the traditional)?  Why can’t a teacher borrow from both approaches and teach in a way that suits the needs and learning styles of their class?  Why take on a boring style of teaching which may command basic concentration when you can take on a more engaging style and shoot much higher?

The problem with our system is more complicated than the shortcomings of a progressive style.  In part, the problem is a result of rigid and extreme philosophies, instead of a more flexible approach that can be tinkered with to suit the makeup of the teacher’s class.

That’s right – not all students are the same!  Therefore a teacher cannot afford to be a one-trick pony.  They have to adopt a style that can be tinkered with and amended all the time.

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