Ben Jarvis

Kurashiki, Japan

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An idea worth spreading

Living in a country where English is not commonly spoken, various experiences have enabled me to realise the meaninglessness of words. Too often I think people hear a particular word and take offense to that word, without even considering the intention of the speaker. Say someone broke your favourite glass, surely your reaction would be different depending on whether it was done to deliberately hurt you, out of carelessness, or an unfortunate result of an unavoidable situation. The same thought process should occur when 'offensive' words are heard - is this person intending to be offensive, or not? If clearly they are then sure, get angry - at their intention to offend, not their words!

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Ben Jarvis
Posted 12 days ago
Christopher Emdin: Teach teachers how to create magic
you keep using the word "we" without explaining who you mean. do you mean we teachers or we as a society, basically referring to non-teachers? i agree that the multiple wrong directions keep getting taken, thanks to orders from people who think they have a solution but which doesn't work in reality. i've found ken robinson to be one of those forces that frustrates efforts rather than helping them. i know his pushing creativity method doesn't work because i've tried it, which is more than he can say. take building design / architecture for example: give kids creative freedom to design as they see fit, they come up with so many wonderful and pleasing designs it seems like a rousing success, until you realise that none of them could ever be built because they haven't taken things into account like plumbing or the physical limitations of steel. physics doesn't change to suit the wishes of an artist! kids need to learn about the world first, and then they can apply their creativity on top of what they've learned. ken robinson, like so many others, really ought to actually take a job as a teacher for a few years before declaring he has any answers. as you've rightly said, educators know what they're doing because they've gotten very good at it over the years, understanding kids and how they learn through actually doing just that as a vocation. you seem to have a bit of a dichotomy in your conclusion, where does ken robinson fit into that idea?
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Ben Jarvis
Posted 12 days ago
Christopher Emdin: Teach teachers how to create magic
so when you say "we" forget that we are working with human beings, you mean teachers? and they do this because non-teachers (parents, state authority, public) pressure them into doing differently from what they know they should? is that a fair summary?
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Ben Jarvis
Posted 14 days ago
Elizabeth Loftus: The fiction of memory
i haven't read the book but i'm familiar with gilbert's work and the concept in general. been thinking about memory a lot lately, basically the idea that our brains intentionally don't keep too many memories or it'd take too long to recall anything, and that we tend to remember the things we do more often hich makes perfect sense because information often used is more likely to be kept by the brain rather than discarded. since we spend more time doing the thing we enjoy and even intentionally block from our mind unpleasant events, it makes sense that our memories of the past would consist of an unrealistic balance in favour of good things. i'm guess you've read this book yourself, does it suggest anything contrary?
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Ben Jarvis
Posted 14 days ago
Elizabeth Loftus: The fiction of memory
yep i was agreeing with your 'most part' in giving my exception. great point about recollections versus perception, i've often heard of real war veterans saying about the pro-war 'glory and honor' delusionists. goes with a lot of the 'natural' movement folk too, imagining fields of green with no exhaust pipes, but ignorant of the cholera and famine that were also signs of those times.
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Ben Jarvis
Posted 14 days ago
Elizabeth Loftus: The fiction of memory
this has to be one of the most important talks on TED, and possibly anywhere. a false or distorted memory is obviously terrible for the wrongly accused as was well shown, and there are other victims too. say it wasn't rape at all, but after a discussion with friends a night of consent became unwanted, creating victim with possible years of trauma over an event that didn't even happen. and in real cases getting the perpetrator wrong leads other victims open to the real perpetrator. even in acquittals the stigma of suspicion must ruin the lives of many others even without a prison term. this really should be shown at the start of every jury duty!
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Ben Jarvis
Posted 14 days ago
Christopher Emdin: Teach teachers how to create magic
great comment. even the most entertaining lesson on the planet is going to be something they have to do, and with certain people and at a certain time. of course it's always going to be second to what kids want to do and with people who they want to do it with.
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Ben Jarvis
Posted 14 days ago
Christopher Emdin: Teach teachers how to create magic
sounds great, but like all these 'bright ideas', it's only in an idealised version of reality where they work. i used to think the same when i became a teacher, making all these great plans for enthusiastic lessons. what actually happens though is that you spend all that time on preparing a lesson, and you teach it, and it goes well, but not with everybody. you can't do the same thing again because the kids get tired of it, you can't do the same thing the next year because the next class is different, and if there was enough time to come up with an individually-tailored lesson to suit each individual student's likes, dislikes, aspirations, and skills, they wouldn't mesh with each other. the lessons that work best with actual students in actual classes, and keep working (plenty of self-described pros teach one lesson which turns out well and think they've solved teaching, yeah sure, take a class for 3 years then we'll see) are generalised, but with something more everybody, such as a choice of activities and a reasonably open-ended final task. with the very narrow field of hip-hop, just what do you offer kids who like a different style of hip-hop, a different genre altogether, and those that aren't even much into music? what do you offer kids who need a simplified or more advanced version?