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Melony

Facebook Pages for Literary Characters

I have a question for the board - what do you think about Facebook pages for literary characters?  I am asking because a new novel I am researching has Facebook pages for the two main characters.  Diana Bishop and Michael Clairmont, the witch and the vampire from Deborah Harkness's new novel A Discovery of Witches, have Facebook and YouTube sites.  It seemed ingenious, but I am wondering if there is any real worth in it?  It seems like it would be a character map for the author, but as far as interacting with the characters, what do you think? I would always know it was the author or the publisher's agent posting on the wall.  What if Jane Eyre had a Facebook - would it only work with novels that have been written since Facebook began? Would it be a good learning tool for students?
TheRejectAmidHair

Well, I can't see any learning value in it, but if it provides a bit of good, harmless fun - then why not?
Apple

I'm in two minds about this on the one hand I could see endless possibilities for learning - actually interacting with characters of a story and if you were doing a study into these characters/books.  However, the only person who could write on behalf of a book character is the author anyone else it would be their take on the character which wouldn't be right, and I can't somehow see authors spending time running such sites.
Melony

I've thought the same as you both - learning, no learning; only the author can say for sure about the character, etc.  But then I thought, what about films, someone interprets the clothing, dialect, scenery, etc. and we tolerate that reasonably well.  I think it might help students use their imaginations to get inside the characters' heads.
TheRejectAmidHair

Facebook can be a bit of fun, and is quite good for keeping in touch with people one might otherwise lose touch with. But whatever else it may be, it most certainly is not an educational tool, and it would debase the very concept of education to attempt to use it as such.

There’s nothing wrong with fun, obviously, but education is not “fun”, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Learning anything that is worth learning requires effort, and that is as it should be.
Sandraseahorse

Himadri:
Quote:
There’s nothing wrong with fun, obviously, but education is not “fun”, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Learning anything that is worth learning requires effort, and that is as it should be.


But that goes against current thinking.  I remember coming across an example of the "Education is fun" approach when my son was going to table tennis lessons at a local school.  There was a big display of a project one class had done on Elizabeth I.  Class groups had to produce a board game about her reign with snakes and ladders type  successes and set backs.  Well and good.  Except for those living in that period it wasn't one big game.  

Would the school have produced a snakes and ladders game about the Holocaust?  This "let's make everything fun" approach trivialises important themes and undermines empathy with the past.

I was so angry I was going to write to the headteacher but she would probably have just dismissed me as out of touch with modern "education".
TheRejectAmidHair

Hello Sandra, I agree with you fully, and share your concerns. And it worries me that, as you say, these concerns “go against current thinking”.

I have heard many times in debates about what should or shouldn’t be in the curriculum that certain things should not be taught in class because the poor little darlings don’t find these things interesting, and get bored by them. Obviously, it would be better if the children didn’t get bored, but whether or not children find something boring cannot be a criterion for what goes into the curriculum. Thorpe Park is the place for a fun day: school should have a somewhat more serious purpose.

I think there are two arguments against equating learning with fun. The first is that what is easily learnt is, all too often, just as easily forgotten. Looking back on my own education and on what I remember of it, I think it is true to say that what I remember best is what I spent much time and effort learning. I am not, I admit, certain that this principle always holds, but if it does (and I suspect that it does) it is a powerful argument.

I think I am on stronger ground with my second argument, and it is this: there is much that is important to learn that isn’t fun, and cannot, by any conceivable stretch of the imagination, made to appear fun. Mathematics, for instance, is fascinating once you get beyond a certain point, but getting to that point is a hard slog – and, indeed, often dull – and it cannot be otherwise. If, however, we get it into children’s heads that learning is essentially fun, they would be less inclined, I think, to embark upon that learning that isn’t so much fun.

(I remember feeling this strongly when our daughter was younger, and used to enjoy those Horrible History books. I had no objection to her enjoying those books, but I did try to make it as clear as I could that those books were for fun only, and by no means a substitute for a proper learning of history.)

Literature is an area that can easily be trivialised by viewing it from a trivial perspective. It is all too easy, I think, to present the learning of literature as merely a “bit of fun”. Such an approach can easily obscure the fact (and it is a fact) that literature is a serious discipline, and that a proper understanding of the subject requires hard work and concentrated intellectual effort. That is not to say one cannot treat it as a bit of fun if one wants to – but it is to say that if we want to educate ourselves in literature, we need to take it seriously.
Marita

Fun can be part of learning for younger children. I remember when I learned to read our teacher told us stories about favourite comic book characters. At the end of the story she had linked a sound to a letter: for instance W was the sound of the wind blowing, R was the sound of an aeroplane etc.; it was a fantastic way to learn to read.

Like with everything, there is a balance needed between fun and seriousness. That‘s how life is and children should learn this as well. It’s no good wrapping them up in cotton wool when they’re young and then expect them to be able to cope with life when they’re grown up.

Marita
MikeAlx

My issue with Himadri's argument (though perhaps it's more a case of unfortunate wording) is that it seems to suggest that fun and effort are mutually exclusive. For my money, they often go together. Fun that is easily achieved is seldom rewarding and quickly leads to boredom. But a difficult challenge can be a lot of fun - so long as you have some idea how to approach the challenge, some of the intellectual tools for the job, and a belief that you are capable of tackling it. I think this last factor - the problem of self-belief - is very often the key with under-achieving children.

Sure, there is some drudgery involved in learning, but all serious learning is not drudgery.
TheRejectAmidHair

Oh, absolutely – intellectual activity can indeed be, and often is, enjoyable. No argument with that at all. But an initial effort needs to be made for that kind of enjoyment. What I was referring to as “fun” is the sort of amusement that does not require that initial investment of effort (and I think we may agree that Facebook activities come under that category); and I do feel that if we send out the message to children that effortless “fun” can be of educational value, then that is a bad message to send out, as its effect is likely to be to discourage that investment of effort that leads to a more fulfilling enjoyment.
Evie

I would also add that Facebook, Twitter, etc, are being used as part of education now - part of the web 2 generation, of using the web interactively rather than as a one-way source of information.  I only know this because of my new job at the university library, and Warwick University, at least, is working on how to make use of social media in an educational environment.
Apple

Himadri Wrote:
Quote:
There’s nothing wrong with fun, obviously, but education is not “fun”, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Learning anything that is worth learning requires effort, and that is as it should be


What absolute rubbish! I'm sorry but I have never disagreed with anything more in my life.  If it wasn't for "fun" ways of learning - which I call "different" ways my son wouldn't be getting the grades he is getting and doing as well at school as he is doing by standards of greatness they are not outstanding grades but as I have previously mentioned he has learning difficulties so average grades for children who do not have learning difficulties are I think outstanding for him and those "fun" ways of learning have helped him learn to read, write properly and get on and further to your argument that things easily learnt are easily forgotten is wrong as I have witnessed with my own eyes in his case, the way he is now being taught and the different methods available are making the facts stick in his head more and making things click better than the traditional methods of teaching and for someone who previously was getting rock bottom low grades and who just sat at the back hoping not be noticed has now with the new methods jumped to the TOP sets in science and history and middle set in English  - and has gained confidence by the bucket load, is answering questions and putting forward ideas not bad for someone with special educational needs using "fun" ways of learning

Himadri also wrote:
Quote:
Oh, absolutely – intellectual activity can indeed be, and often is, enjoyable. No argument with that at all. But an initial effort needs to be made for that kind of enjoyment. What I was referring to as “fun” is the sort of amusement that does not require that initial investment of effort (and I think we may agree that Facebook activities come under that category); and I do feel that if we send out the message to children that effortless “fun” can be of educational value, then that is a bad message to send out, as its effect is likely to be to discourage that investment of effort that leads to a more fulfilling enjoyment.

I also disagree with this as in my opinion it does not give children that message whatsoever, and that is a very narrow  point of view because  the teaching methods which you are rubbishing as "effortless fun" maybe effortless and pointless to someone like you with god knows how many qualifications, but are hard work and require an enormous amount of effort and input from all children with special educational needs. A lot of these children have been rubbished by people  who do not understand dyslexia and the like and to suddenly have activities and teaching methods which make things click for them and for everything to become clear also has the effect of them putting in more effort to achieve greater things.

Sandraseahorse Wrote:
Quote:
This "let's make everything fun" approach trivialises important themes and undermines empathy with the past.
No it doesn't, not if you tailor the activity to the subject, it can have a tremendously profound effect, watching DVD's, drama and role play are used quite a lot in my sons school and he has come out with more empathy as a result as he has watched things or acted them out and had to feel the emotions of different situations, and as a result has managed to go on to produce some stunning pieces of work full of empathy for the characters of the story or people of that time (depending on the subject). Board Games and the like have also been used in my sons history/geography lessons to help remember important dates and other facts. Of course you wouldn't make a game out of a subject like the Holocaust and any teacher who even thought about it should be sacked but any teacher worth their salt would use the appropriate activity to the subject matter so important subjects don't get trivialised but the facts get taught and learnt and empathy is maintained.
Melony

Maybe we are in one of those transitional periods of time - I bounce back and forth all the time between Himadri and Apple's opinions both. On the one hand, it is impractical to think that all of education should be or is going to be fun.  All of life is not fun.  It is also impractical to think that everyone learns the same way.  Manipulation of the content does help understand it - that's why people take apart bicycles or Volkswagons and put them back together again.  A book is no different.  It's why Euclid invented the Bride's Chair to explain Pythagoras's 5th theorem - his students had reached the pons asinorum and he had to find a way to get them over.

Has anyone seen this video by Sir Ken Robinson (if I've already posted it before, please excuse me):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

WATCH IT if you haven't seen it already.  You may not agree with all of it, but it is very provocative about the education dilemma.

"We are preparing students for their future, not our past." Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind
TheRejectAmidHair

I don't know that w ecan get aay from the fact that a lot of learning - a lot of important learning - is a hard slog. Mathematics, say, is great fun once you get beyond a certain point. But getting to that certain point is a hard slog. I wish it weren't, but it is. And even after you've got to that point, the "fun" element comes from hard work, and is not a substitute for it.

Literature is an area I feel is prticularly vulnerable to trivialisation. Indeed, we see the trivialisation of literature all around us. If learning can be made fun, then great - go for it! But I do not feel it is correct to convey the impression that literature must be fun. I do feel that if one sets out to learn something properly, then one must be prepared for hard slogs, and not expect everything to be merely "fun".
Melony

You are right. Reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is no substitute for reading Pride and Prejudice, nor is watching the movie. Those bring joy and added meaning only after the real novel has been traversed.  Learning comes in layers like an onion, but we want to get to only the fun part first, which removes the meaning and makes it only superficial. But I do think that a good combination can be had and does increase the joy in learning. The 2.0 generation is here and it won't stop. It has to be addressed.
Apple

Himadri Wrote:
Quote:
I don't know that w ecan get aay from the fact that a lot of learning - a lot of important learning - is a hard slog. Mathematics, say, is great fun once you get beyond a certain point. But getting to that certain point is a hard slog. I wish it weren't, but it is. And even after you've got to that point, the "fun" element comes from hard work, and is not a substitute for it.

Literature is an area I feel is prticularly vulnerable to trivialisation. Indeed, we see the trivialisation of literature all around us. If learning can be made fun, then great - go for it! But I do not feel it is correct to convey the impression that literature must be fun. I do feel that if one sets out to learn something properly, then one must be prepared for hard slogs, and not expect everything to be merely "fun".
Yes I agree with that to  point but what is wrong with "Fun" ways of educating children if it produces results? As I said before, people (not only children) with different levels of learning disabilities from the mild to the very severe find ANY kind of learning a "hard slog" as you put it, so if there are ways of making that "hard slog" a little more enlightening and giving the confidence to continue and persevere then surely that is a good thing, these different methods of education may be trivial and easy for you to dismiss but when I see my son comes home and he tells me with the pride in his eyes and the feeling of self worth he gets when he has accomplished something and learnt something using these methods, something which he he previously found inconceivably hard then I am all for it, he was unable to read and write properly - arguably two of the most important things to learn I tried my best to help him, but going on the fact I was taught (in the loosest sense of the word) by traditional means I was out of my depth "fun" and "alternative" methods were employed and the results have been astounding, lightbulbs have come on and he has taken off. Your argument that we should not convey to children that literature must be fun is also totally ludicrous, as it is that is the sort of attitude that is killing the sparks of initial interest which go on to grow into the love of literature in the future generations, and becoming a self fulfilling prophecy, whereby children are being turned off books and reading resulting in more and more extreme ways to try and re-engage them again resulting in the trivialisation and fall in standards which you find so abhorrent. Its all a question of finding a middle ground, I totally agree with you that there is no substitute for hard work, its an ethic which I had drilled into me and I in turn have instilled in my children but when traditional teaching methods just don't work for whatever reason then new and different methods have to be found for the people who the traditional methods don't work for or what happens? what happens is they are left behind and ultimately chucked on the strap heap!

Melony Wrote:
Quote:
You are right. Reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is no substitute for reading Pride and Prejudice, nor is watching the movie. Those bring joy and added meaning only after the real novel has been traversed.  Learning comes in layers like an onion, but we want to get to only the fun part first, which removes the meaning and makes it only superficial. But I do think that a good combination can be had and does increase the joy in learning. The 2.0 generation is here and it won't stop. It has to be addressed.
I agree with you, you have to make learning fun at first to plant the initial seed of interest and engagement at an early age, if its not been planted in the first place then there is no way for it to grow and develop. There is nothing at all wrong with superficial at the early stages as it gives a base to develop and build on.

What I am taking exception to is the assumption that has been expressed (not by you Melony) that these alternative and different methods which DO produce results - and excellent results where traditional methods have failed are somehow something to dismiss totally out of hand as trivialising learning and inferior when they clearly do have a place for certain groups of people. There has to be a healthy balance of all available teaching methods. In an ideal world this would be taken as read but we don't live in an ideal world, but we are living in a world that is changing rapidly and it does have to be addressed, 100 odd years ago with the teaching methods (some of them barbaric by todays standards) people probably had similar reservations to the changes in teaching as they came in and altered things, it is totally a question of balance and using the technology available to enhance methods already available.
Melony

Mike said a very germaine thing a few posts back:

Quote:
I think this last factor - the problem of self-belief - is very often the key with under-achieving children.


I think this is very true.  I also think that what we are terming "fun" could just really be relevance. A person learns more easily when a subject is relevant to his/her life.

Also, I have always protested that I could teach with a rock and chisel, but I don't think that is true anymore.  The students are much more demanding of a production and intolerant of the time it takes to build the subtle nuances of a discipline. Maybe they always were, maybe they weren't - it's hard to tell.
Apple

Melony Wrote:
Quote:
Mike said a very germaine thing a few posts back:

Quote:
I think this last factor - the problem of self-belief - is very often the key with under-achieving children.



I think this is very true.  I also think that what we are terming "fun" could just really be relevance. A person learns more easily when a subject is relevant to his/her life.

Also, I have always protested that I could teach with a rock and chisel, but I don't think that is true anymore.  The students are much more demanding of a production and intolerant of the time it takes to build the subtle nuances of a discipline. Maybe they always were, maybe they weren't - it's hard to tell.
This is so very true, children these days are far more willful and if they don't like something they won't do it, a lot of the problem I believe in this instance is down to discipline - or lack of it in schools as children know if the teachers do or say anything they can be had up for all sorts of hideous offences but thats another subject entirely, and I don't want to take things off in that direction or I'll be on my soap box all day.

But going from personal experience children with learning difficulties have a constant battle firstly to get their problems acknowledged and validated and then to get the help they need as, as astonishing it seems dyslexia and related problems are still very misunderstood and dismissed. My son was called lazy so many times before he was diagnosed, and he was diagnosed relatively early - possibly due to the fact I was on the case and  kept on at the school so much they got him assessed in the end to shut me up. But when they had the diagnosis they had no idea how to teach him and his self confidence was at an all time low when he went to secondary school, he believed despite my help which did not work either as I didn't know what I was doing that he was worthless and so there was no point in doing anything but they have been fabulous and with these methods that work for him, have unlocked the potential and he's realised and now believes he is not stupid and worthless and there is every point in making an effort because of that the effort he gives is unreal as he has caught up and in some cases overtaken some of his piers.

It is also worth noting that its not only children with learning difficulties that have problems, there are also the gifted and talented children who are so advanced that normal traditional teaching methods don't work for them either and they become bored and disinterested because they find the work too easy and need specialist and different ways of engaging them and stopping them becoming bored.
TheRejectAmidHair

I wasn't referring in any of my posts to children with learning difficulties.

As for children without learning difficulties, I think it a very bad idea to encourage the belief that anything worthwhile can be learnt without hard work.
Sandraseahorse

Apple, my son has learning difficulties and I was a parent governor at his special needs school.  I am fully aware that for children with learning difficulties the "chalk and talk" method doesn't necessarily get the best results; my son often remembers things more if he watches a TV prgramme on a topic than if people tell him about the subject as he responds to visual images.

However, the school I referred to with the board game is not a special needs school; it is a comprehensive. If, as you agree, it would not be appropriate to produce a board game about the Holocaust, then why should it be appropriate to do one on Elizabethan times?  Are their lives of less consequence?  That would go against the idea of empathy.

I am not seeking a Gradgrind system of pupils being force fed as many facts as possible.  I see the use of films, artefacts, original source material such as letters and diaries, role playing plus bringing in people to talk about, for example, their experiences during World War 2, justifiable methods of teaching history.

What worries me with the "fun and games" approach is that there is a danger that fun becomes the objective rather than a means to an end.  

Ironically, the only times I can remember being bored at school were during games.
Apple

Sandraseahorse Wrote:
Quote:
Apple, my son has learning difficulties and I was a parent governor at his special needs school.  I am fully aware that for children with learning difficulties the "chalk and talk" method doesn't necessarily get the best results; my son often remembers things more if he watches a TV prgramme on a topic than if people tell him about the subject as he responds to visual images.

However, the school I referred to with the board game is not a special needs school; it is a comprehensive. If, as you agree, it would not be appropriate to produce a board game about the Holocaust, then why should it be appropriate to do one on Elizabethan times?  Are their lives of less consequence?  That would go against the idea of empathy.

I am not seeking a Gradgrind system of pupils being force fed as many facts as possible.  I see the use of films, artefacts, original source material such as letters and diaries, role playing plus bringing in people to talk about, for example, their experiences during World War 2, justifiable methods of teaching history.

What worries me with the "fun and games" approach is that there is a danger that fun becomes the objective rather than a means to an end.  

Ironically, the only times I can remember being bored at school were during games.
If that is the case then you of all people as a parent of a child with learning difficulties and a school governor should understand the value of alternative methods of teaching and not rubbishing it as trivial.

If you recall in my response about your particular gripe about board games - I did say and I quote "any teacher worth their salt would use the appropriate activity to the subject matter so important subjects don't get trivialised but the facts get taught and learnt and empathy is maintained" and as I also said board games have been used to teach facts and dates or various era's at my sons school which is a secondary school. In fact I think one about the Tudor/Elizabethan era would be acceptable because such a lot happened of consequence and different dates and historical occurrences, to teach the basic facts and dates about that era in such a way would be acceptable and no it doesn't make their lives of less consequence if it was used alongside other teaching methods and not used as the sole method, and there are sensitive subjects which you just wouldn't use a game as a teaching method like, as we both agreed - the holocaust.

As for your final comments  that your worry is the fun becomes the objective rather than the the means to an end - you obviously didn't read my other post where I said - "There has to be a healthy balance of all available teaching methods. In an ideal world this would be taken as read but we don't live in an ideal world, but we are living in a world that is changing rapidly and it does have to be addressed, 100 odd years ago with the teaching methods (some of them barbaric by todays standards) people probably had similar reservations to the changes in teaching as they came in and altered things, it is totally a question of balance and using the technology available to enhance methods already available" so my point being, I am agreeing with you as I was basically making that very point that it shouldn't be the objective but a means to an end, enhancing and making better what is already in place.

Finally, your comment that you were bored at school during games, well that just tells me that this particular method didn't work for you, which doesn't mean it wouldn't work for others and because it didn't work for you doesn't make it worthless.

Himadri Wrote:
Quote:
I wasn't referring in any of my posts to children with learning difficulties.
No I know you weren’t you were making blanket sweeping statements  that suggested that the comments made suggesting it could possibly have some educational value were rubbish and that it had no value.

For example you said:
Quote:
“Facebook can be a bit of fun, and is quite good for keeping in touch with people one might otherwise lose touch with. But whatever else it may be, it most certainly is not an educational tool, and it would debase the very concept of education to attempt to use it as such”.

“There’s nothing wrong with fun, obviously, but education is not “fun”, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Learning anything that is worth learning requires effort, and that is as it should be”.

“I think there are two arguments against equating learning with fun. The first is that what is easily learnt is, all too often, just as easily forgotten. Looking back on my own education and on what I remember of it, I think it is true to say that what I remember best is what I spent much time and effort learning. I am not, I admit, certain that this principle always holds, but if it does (and I suspect that it does) it is a powerful argument”.

“But an initial effort needs to be made for that kind of enjoyment. What I was referring to as “fun” is the sort of amusement that does not require that initial investment of effort (and I think we may agree that Facebook activities come under that category)”


I was just pointing out that there are in fact instances where using technology such as Facebook and the like could be useful for certain people and that in general these “fun ways” of learning are of as much value as traditional methods, and I used people with learning difficulties as an example as I have seen with my own eyes the results of such education, and I was pointing out that in their situation your comments about hard work and the like were also inaccurate.

Himadri also Wrote:
Quote:
As for children without learning difficulties, I think it a very bad idea to encourage the belief that anything worthwhile can be learnt without hard work.
I quite agree with you, to a point if you want something you have to get off your arse and work for it as you don't get a free ride in this life and if you want to succeed and achieve you have to pull your finger out and graft for it and I have instilled this ethic into my children, but worthwhile things can be taught with an element of fun to make it more relevant to children of today, as I maintain, if children see a relevance to their lives their understanding and empathy with the subject is increased but as I have said all along there has to be a balance, it can't all be fun, and there has to be a degree of taste involved so subjects of sensitivity are handled with the respect they deserve, but there is in my opinion nothing wrong with planting that initial seed of interest with a little fun and alternative different methods of getting the message across and after that initial spark has been created they could go on and learn using other different methods as well developing a greater understanding and achieve greater things.
TheRejectAmidHair

Sandraseahorse wrote:
What worries me with the "fun and games" approach is that there is a danger that fun becomes the objective rather than a means to an end.  


Well said. I agree fully.
Apple

Himadri Wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
Sandraseahorse wrote:
What worries me with the "fun and games" approach is that there is a danger that fun becomes the objective rather than a means to an end.  



Well said. I agree fully.


I agree with that as well it shouldn't take over and become the be all and end all, as I pointed out to Sandraseahorse in my response, and I never suggested it should, but on the other hand when its been proved different types of teaching work for different types of people I believe that they should be included alongside traditional methods and enhance what is already in place, and not dismissed out of hand, by making wild claims that that it gives children the message that things can achieved without any effort and poo pooing it as trivial and worthless fun, without even considering the possible potential of it.
Melony

Apple, students are very willful now.  Perhaps it is because everything is a game and supposed to be "fun".  As I said earlier, perhaps we are in a transitional stage at the far right side of the fun  pendulum, and when we regain our senses, we will return to a more middle of the road stance. I think we all agree that "play" is deliterious to the mainstream of the students, while relevancy is beneficial for everyone.
Apple

Melony Wrote:
Quote:
Apple, students are very willful now.  Perhaps it is because everything is a game and supposed to be "fun".  As I said earlier, perhaps we are in a transitional stage at the far right side of the fun  pendulum, and when we regain our senses, we will return to a more middle of the road stance. I think we all agree that "play" is deliterious to the mainstream of the students, while relevancy is beneficial for everyone.
I totally agree kids in general are very willful, but I do think that there is more to it than just that, I think its a combination of a lot of things and deeper problems within the rapidly changing society we live in which has changed out of all recognition in the last 25/30 years. I agree that part of the problem could be that "fun" seems to be the be all and end all in all areas of life, and there is this culture of wanting everything now without having to put in any effort for it for example the promise of instant stardom and wealth with reality programmes like X Factor etc.  Also there is the fanatical emphasis and importance of celebrity which has emerged over the past few years, where people who are plastered all over the tabloids and magazines and appear to "get on" in life getting wealthy for just being famous and not really doing anything all. There is I believe a very superficial nature to society, very shallow and not enough substance to back things up.

I also believe that, as I said before teachers pussyfooting around kids with their hands tied because if they say or do anything which could be taken the wrong way they could be had up for something, there is also the kids who's parents are not hands on and who don't take an interest in their lives and who have no boundaries - the ones who spend school holidays, weekends and late evenings out standing on street corners and in parks bored and resorting to to getting pissed out their skulls resulting in vandalism and anti social behaviour. I know I was willful and I was no angel - but I had boundaries and knew where the line was (and as the parent of teenagers I get a dose of that willfulness you talk about on a daily basis!!  Very Happy ) but even though they have their moments my kids know that there are boundaries and discipline and a moral code which I have instilled into them and if they cross them they are in trouble, just as I knew I was if I crossed them.

I'm going to shut up now as I will be on my soap box for hours and it will get taken in all directions away from the original point.
Melony

I could not agree more with everything you just said. I thought it was just in America but maybe it is the same everywhere now. I think the factors you described are an outcropping of affluence and oddly enough maybe of too readily available education, which we take for granted in the West, as well as too much readily accessible information. It's on our phones at the touch of a fingertip - why bother to learn it.

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