Links For January 31, 2014

Give childhood back to children – A strong case for play as a necessary driver of social-emotional learning, in the context of proposals to expand classroom time in the UK.

Some people object, on moral grounds, to experiments in which young animals are deprived of play. What a cruel thing to do. But consider this: over the past 50 to 60 years, we have been continuously decreasing the opportunities for our own children to play. School became more onerous, as breaks were reduced, homework piled up, and pressure for high grades increased. Outside school, adult-directed sports (which are not truly play) began to replace impromptu games (which are play).... This dramatic decline in children’s opportunities to play has been accompanied by an equally dramatic increase in childhood mental disorders.

Phonics - a summary. – More on UK education, and an overemphasis on phonics in early reading.

Either way, it’s clear we are talking about different kinds of English - at least one kind for speaking; and at least one kind for writing. In each case, it’s probably more kinds that have to be learned eg child and adult speech; the writing of picture books, the writing of the ads the children see on posters and in ads, the writing of newspaper headlines or TV captions…and so on. These different kinds of speech and writing involve quite different uses of grammar, different ways of putting words together, different word orders, different ways of sounding ‘complete’ or ‘appropriate’ for the context.... Phonics teaching on its own, cannot and does not enable children to do this.

In the Name of Love

By keeping us focused on ourselves and our individual happiness, DWYL distracts us from the working conditions of others while validating our own choices and relieving us from obligations to all who labor, whether or not they love it. It is the secret handshake of the privileged and a worldview that disguises its elitism as noble self-betterment.

How Silicon Valley Became The Man

One of the things that I think we’ve inherited from the ‘60s is a habit of seeing the cultural space as the space in which we do business and make change. And the trouble with that is that it makes it very hard to negotiate things like class or race or distribution of the kind of social goods that come from business. A great example of this on the ground in Mountain View where I live today is Google. Google treats its engineers extremely well, offers extremely flexible work spaces, has built essentially a culture of collaboration and creativity that looks very communal and very wonderful, even as around those engineers it has cafeteria workers who are making something very close to minimum wage, and often lack the ability to get proper health insurance.

Decoding cancer-addled ramblings – Metafilter decodes 20-year-old encoded prayers of a woman dying of brain cancer.