Thursday, 28 November 2013

Electronic babies.

One of the few chances I get to talk regularly to a really young person (22) is when I go to my hairdresser every Thursday lunchtime.  The visit has made life so much easier for me - I have forgotten how to wash my hair myself and my hair has got used to being washed once a week instead of each morning.   Some of our conversations are hilarious.

Today she was telling me that her father was just back from Everest basecamp.  I asked her where it was but she didn't really know.   Was it in Asia, she asked.   Then she remembered that he flew to Nepal - could you pin point Nepal on a map I asked.  She couldn't.

I think this is really the fault of schools because they no longer seem to teach any kind of Geography which relates to where places are.   I thought back to my days in Primary School, where we had a teacher well past retiring age (it was war time and teachers were in short supply).   Her name was Miss Kirkbride and she came to school accompanied always by her Great Dane.##  Her teaching methods were well ahead of her time.

I vividly remember having to bring every label off every tin we used at home into school so that we could pin point the place it came from on the map.  There would have been few tins from abroad as it was war time, but this activity fostered in me the need to look places up on the map.   To this day if I hear a place mentioned and I don't know exactly where it is, then I go straight to the Atlas to find it.   So thank you for that Miss Kirkbride.

##On the subject of the Great Dane, my father was once taking a short cut through 'The Pits' - a nature walk between two villages, one of which was the one where we lived- it was dark and very quiet.   All of a sudden something very cold touched the palm of his hand and he nearly jumped out of his skin.

It was the Great Dane being taken on his last walk of the day by Miss Kirkbride, who lived nearby.

But, back to my hairdresser.   Apparently she did a Child Development Course in the Comprehensive school but dropped out. Why? I asked.   Well, they gave her an electronic baby tag for the weekend, fastened to her wrist.   When 'the baby' cried she had to deal with it - change its nappy, feed it, cuddle it or whatever.  Being a weekend she had to wear the tag from Friday afternoon until Monday morning - this included getting up in the night to 'feed' it.  Going round the fashion shops on Saturday afternoon at   one point she had to stop and deal with the crying electronic tag in a rather posh fashion shop in the centre of town.   "It has put me off babies for ever!" she said. Can;t help feeling this ought to be compulsory in all schools - might stop a lot of teenage pregnancies.

14 comments:

Linda Metcalf said...

You're exactly right! If they only knew....it's not all roses and chubby cheeks!

George said...

I wouldn't know much about the babies, Pat, but I agree entirely with you about the importance of geography and the failure of our schools to teach it properly. How on earth can we know our place in the world without knowing how and where others live. Ignorance of geography is a cultural arrogance that fosters other types of ignorance.

MorningAJ said...

OK. Hands up. I don't think I could pinpoint Nepal and be sure I'd got it right. I know it's somewhere on top of India - but that's as close as I can get.

On the other hand, we had a Miss Addinall, and she's the reason I can spell. Same idea - different subject.

MorningAJ said...

Nope - I just hit Pakistan......

Oops.

Terry and Linda said...

I love history and I love geography, but I too have found the teaching of both these subjects very lacking.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Our grandsons are taught geography extensively - and they love maps.

My thought is that a young person who can't bear the thought of taking care of an "electronic baby" and would quit school simply because of that, might not be much into study of any kind, and might not be a good example of education - geography or otherwise.

Our grandsons have been taught from a globe since they could first touch it with their little chubby fingers - and the globes have changed frequently - so they have new learning experiences. Teachers encourage students to bring articles, stories or any example with the name of a country to school so they can all figure out where it is and what relation it is to other countries.

Em Parkinson said...

I think the electronic baby thing is becoming more widespread Pat. What a great idea. Many young grandparents out there taking the strain will be grateful too I should imagine. If I'd had a baby that early it would have been a total disaster!

Pam said...

Our secondary students are given their lifelike babies with the same devices. It is interesting to see both boys and girls with their individual baby of all racial heritages which are given out randomly -so funny to see the ssstudents walking around the school with their babies, and into classes. Of course they have to take it home for a while also. A small key turns off the crying when it starts - how wonderful if it was that easy!!!
Those with a natural curiosity about the world will always be fascinated by maps. I used to daydream as a child, staring at the large Map of the World in the classroom, the countries of the Commonwealth coloured in pink, Australia so far away from the tiny country of England,near the top of the map, whose gracious queen we asked for God to Save as we sang the national anthem.
I recently bought a small publication "World Heritage Rainforests of Northern New South Wales" from the charity shop, and didn't know half of these places existed in my own country and now hope to visit some.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Yes, but did she make a good job of your hair?

jinxxxygirl said...

Two schools within the same town can be so different.... One school my daughter was learning to read in kindergarten and coming home telling me the Taj Mahal was in India... the next school not so much.... after a month of never bringing any papers home etc..... i inquired with the teacher and was told.... "We don't make our students prove what they can do by writing it down on paper' I had to pick my jaw up off the ground... You would think schools would be more uniform in what they teach.. at least within the same town... To this day i think i know more geography than my daughter.... How did your hair turn out? :) Hugs! deb

John Gray said...

If you want to talk to a young person pat
Call me
I am mentally around 25

Edwina said...

I loved our old fashioned geography lessons, and drawing maps was my favourite part. Colouring in the crops that grew in different areas and so on.... and like you, I also have to look up a place in an atlas if I don't know where it is, thus adding to my knowledge you'd think? But a day or so later and I'd have forgotten where it was probably....

Cat Mom said...

When I was a little girl, I would pour over the telephone book. From it, I learned all the different counties in New Jersey, USA. I used to challenge myself to remember all 21. When was 42, i moved to the state of Maryland. I have lived here 16 years, and I still get disoriented as to place. No telephone books to pour over, I guess...

Thanksgiving weekend here in the states. My favorite holiday. All the fun of Christmas without any of the hassle.

Very much enjoy reading your blog.

The Weaver of Grass said...

For everyone who asks about my hair - don't - it is windy and very cold here today so woolly hat or get hair blown about - either fatal to hairdo#s!
As for speaking to John because he only feels 25 inside - I only feel 21 inside my head it is just my ankle which feels at least 100 some days.
Thanks for calling.