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Pietro Speroni di Fenizio

Researcher, Coimbra University

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Should we ask kids to help us solving the real world problems? And if yes, how?

To answer here you really should see the World Peace Game talk first.

When in the comment section on the World Peace game I commented that the game could not possibly be realistic and be solvable that easily, protested that the kids are too young for that.

Well, Ken Robinson makes a good point that children are born creative (or genius) and are educated out of their creativity. And I remember reading that the number of gifted children is quite high for low age, but then as time goes by (and children age) the percentage drops.

So maybe we could let kids help us in solving the world problems. Not when they grow up, right now!
(I pity the parents of such a kid: -"go to bed at 7, and stop speaking about the UN that is making your mother uncomfortable ;-) ")

It could really be done, by presenting the problem in all its complexity to them, and ask them what would they do.

There is an experimental way of citizen jury where a random sample of the population is invited to hear about a problem. For 2 days they receive information from the experts, and then they vote on what should be done.

An example of what could be done here is to have a group of children, and have them hear from the experts what is the situation. Maybe it would work better if each children would try to take the point of view of one of the real world participant, and maybe to have more than one children per role. A sort of young advisor council.

It would be like the World Peace Game, but more complex, with more children for each role, and only trying to decide a single move.

Of course the long term effect psychological of this experience on them should be considered. It would surely make them mature faster. In an age where people feel they are not fully adult well in their thirties it might have some interesting side effects.

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    Apr 22 2011: A carefree childhood . . . is there any nobler cause? Problems like that of which you speak are for adults only, in my mind. Helping with the dishes is not.

    A carefree childhood leads to an adult able to deal with world problems.
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      Apr 22 2011: exactly how i feel about this. just because im jealous that there living model is wayyyyy better than mine doesnt meen i should ruin it for them
    • Apr 23 2011: Its such a relative term- "carefree"- if we can't define it then how can we assess the impact of it?

      More personally- if my manic depressive mom (stable now) had not shared with us our financial situation with her as a single mother and sharing a room with my little bother in a 900 square foot apartment- I would NOT be where I am now.

      What I am trying to say is- subjugation to reality and emotional distress, can, with other parental practices, galvanize a child- making them stronger and more dedicated than they would have been otherwise.

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