Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In case you missed it!

The NCBLA Shares a 
Roundup of Thought
Provoking News Articles and Essays from the Weekend: 

Edward Rothstein: Monkey Business in the World of Evil,  
The New York Times 

"You don’t really think about Curious George saving the day, as the title of the new exhibition at the Jewish Museum puts it. A “good little monkey,” he is called in the classic series of picture books by Margret and H. A. Rey, but he was no savior. He was a mischief maker, an innocent, born in the jungle and lured into the strange world of humans. ...

His misadventures, particularly in the early books, are ignited by impulse and inquiry, the consequences of wanting to see and to know, and the books’ charm is that they don’t condemn this curiosity; they relish it. Reality’s hard knocks — the chases, the falls, the breaking of limbs and objects — are ultimately taken care of by the nameless man in the yellow hat, who never seems to learn that you don’t leave such a childlike creature alone with a new bike, saying, 'Keep close to the house while I am gone.'"


Nicholas Kristof: The Boys Have Fallen Behind,  
The New York Times 

"Around the globe, it’s mostly girls who lack educational opportunities. Even in the United States, many people still associate the educational “gender gap” with girls left behind in math.
Yet these days, the opposite problem has sneaked up on us: In the United States and other Western countries alike, it is mostly boys who are faltering in school. The latest surveys show that American girls on average have roughly achieved parity with boys in math. Meanwhile, girls are well ahead of boys in verbal skills, and they just seem to try harder."

David Elkind: Playtime is Over,  
The New York Times 

"A Nielsen study last year found that children aged 6 to 11 spent more than 28 hours a week using computers, cellphones, televisions and other electronic devices. A University of Michigan study found that from 1979 to 1999, children on the whole lost 12 hours of free time a week, including eight hours of unstructured play and outdoor activities. One can only assume that the figure has increased over the last decade, as many schools have eliminated recess in favor of more time for academics.

One consequence of these changes is the disappearance of what child-development experts call “the culture of childhood.” This culture, which is to be found all over the world, was best documented in its English-language form by the British folklorists Peter and Iona Opie in the 1950s. They cataloged the songs, riddles, jibes and incantations (“step on a crack, break your mother’s back”) that were passed on by oral tradition. Games like marbles, hopscotch and hide and seek date back hundreds of years. The children of each generation adapted these games to their own circumstances"