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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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  • May 8 2011: "Should we ask kids to help us solving the real world problems?"

    Yes! But more than ask. Let them take over.

    We should especially give them the keys to the nuclear warheads, the missiles, bombs, subs, aircraft, tanks. grenades, flame throwers. I suspect they will find good use for these, smelting sculpture for beautifying public parks, or creating tools for gardening. Take away all the keys and heave them. Take the adults back to the stone age, before all of us are forced to join them, or worse.

    I should not worry that they might imprison those who run Guantanamo and all the other centres of fear projection and torture; those who forcibly mutilate a woman's clitoris, or slice off the end of a boy's penis. They shall just remove the knives, the bibles, the koran's, the "authority", and all the other nonsense and tell us, pointedly, that it is time to grow up and, reflecting back our "adult" language, to "get a life".

    As in Montessori educational philosophy, it is not we who teach the children - it is they who teach us.

    Start learning.
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      May 8 2011: Yes. start by listening more to children's conversations (amongst themselves). They know more than we give them credit for.
      Just present them with what the real challenges we are facing as adults and let them be. Do not try to teach them first "how to come up with solutions". Given the time and space, they might just suprise you.

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