I’ve mentioned the website http://bibliodyssey.blogspot.com/ before. Now, there is a book about the website about books. The site manages to be the most engaging portal into digital museum & library collections because it is through the eyes of one person…with taste. Here’s a bit from the press release: “Across the world, libraries and institutions are just beginning to make their collections available online, and much of this amazing material goes unnoticed by the casual surfer. BibliOdyssey’s mission has been to search the dustier corners of the internet and retrieve these materials for our enjoyment. Thanks to the efforts of this singular weblog, a myriad of long-forgotten imagery has now re-surfaced. Each of the images is accompanied by commentary from PK, author and curator of BibliOdyssey. The book also provides details for each image and a link to the source website. With a foreword by artist Dinos Chapman, BibliOdyssey is a journey in discovery and delight — a true cabinet of curiosities.”
For more information about the Thames & Hudson book contact email@example.com
PS the book contains work by http://bdmckenzie.blogspot.com/
A lorry driver from Kent has substantially won his legal battle to prevent schools screening Al Gore’s film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ which so convincingly demonstrates the human causes of global warming.
Schools will still be able to show the film that has been distributed by the DCSF with some other film materials, but extra guidance will now have to be provided that prevents children from being indoctrinated. I don’t think Flow Associates will be applying for the tender to write those materials, somehow. I have a healthy disrespect for anything claiming to be the truth but I do also respect scientific consensus. The human cause of climate change is a pretty indisputable truth and the evidence of it is all around us. How confusing it must be for our kids. Every morning, they have to experience daily acts of worship that indoctrinate them that there is a transcendent intelligence (even if many schools elide this message). Then they go to science lessons where they are told to respect empirical evidence and to test this evidence rigorously. Then they will be shown empirical evidence for human causes of climate change but at the same time told that they must not be indoctrinated by this evidence. They may well ask ‘where is the doctrine when we so need one?’ They may well think logically for themselves, in the spirit of self-preservation that we humans have so overexcelled at. If climate change causes these effects that will make my future unbearable, and if humans caused it, then what can humans do to stop it?
The news today (14th October, a few days later) exposes the big guns behind the supposed ‘David’ fighting the Goliath of Government. The lorry driver is not acting alone but is funded by an industrial magnate called Robert Durward, who has established the New Party. Here is a sample of his views: ‘It is time for Tony Blair to try the “fourth way”, declare martial law and let the army sort out our schools, hospitals and roads.’ This group is concerned at the media hype (yes, those occasional technical articles buried on the inside pages) about climate change, and is building up support amongst teachers (especially in the US) who are against doom-mongering to children.
This recent report (link below) shows that children are really anxious about global warming, but it shows that the happiest children are in schools involving children in problem-solving projects and active citizenship to reduce the worst effects of climate change. These children are happier because they have agency to affect their world.
And so, for anyone wanting to take action with young people, here’s one of many possibilities – a grant from CABE to do sustainability projects in schools:
I went to the inaugural lecture of Michael Rosen’s Children’s Laureateship last week, at the Institute of Education. It was called ‘What is a Bong Tree? And other questions we don’t know the answers to’. It was a passionate and intelligent discourse on the teaching of poetry. He described how teachers are guided to ask children the wrong questions about poems (e.g. what genre is this text?) and that these questions allude to a mystical authority that simply knows the (actually often unknowable) facts about the poem. He thinks we shouldn’t ask ‘what makes this poem effective?’ but should instead debate how it has affected us. Poetry is a kind of writing that refuses to be tied down. When we read it we suspend our desire to know the when, what, why and how. Instead of giving and expecting factoids, he suggested ways that we might help children discover, associate, remember, wonder, share, debate, reenact and look for patterns and puzzles. He also promoted the idea of intertextuality, looking for connections and resonances in other texts.
Everything he said connected with my views about the ways we help children engage with works of art. I also thought that what he was talking about doesn’t narrowly apply to the teaching of poetry, but applies more broadly to a poetics of teaching. Teachers across all subjects, in formal and informal settings, need to take all opportunities to generate metaphorical, philosophical and imaginative thinking.
I’m not sure that visual art education has suffered as much as literacy teaching from the strategies that have conspired to de-poeticise (if that word exists) learning. However, this is perhaps because visual art occupies such a small place in the curriculum that it has suffered from too little guidance rather than too much on how best to teach it. Too much of the small amount of time for Art is spent in copying pre-existing techniques or downloading gobbets of art historical fact. Not enough time is spent interpreting works of art in the same open-minded, curious ways that Michael Rosen has outlined as appropriate for poetry.
This is part of the Big Picture, the Booktrust’s campaign launched a week ago at the Early Years Awards by Michael Rosen. There are two guides, one that explores the thinking about visual literacy and how children develop symbolic skills. It covers five dimensions: Pleasure in looking, Imagination and fantasy, Stimulating curiosity, Developing Empathy and Understanding Stories & Art. The second guide suggests a wide range of picture books and loads of creative ideas for exploring them.