Open Thinkering


Emotional truancy

Emotional Literacy

Lisa Stevens, who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time during TeachMeet08 at BETT, has blogged about ’emotional truancy’ recently. It’s an interesting subject…

According to Lisa (I couldn’t find the article on the TES website), Lord Puttnam – chairman of Futurelab – is quoted as saying:

Technology savvy children are switching off and becoming ’emotional truants’ because schools are not relevant in a digital age.

I see this all the time; it’s a form of disassociation. The ‘real me’ for them isn’t the person they are at school: that’s just the place where they jump through hoops. The closest thing I can liken it to, having watched Louis Theroux’s documentary on San Quentin prison, is that they see most teachers’ views as irrelevant, just as the prison inmates saw the wardens’ views as such.

As Lisa says, it’s a familiar cry to those in the edublogosphere. But we have to keep saying these things. Namely:

  • To be a teacher in the 21st century you have to be able to use technology in an adept way.
  • That face-to-face interaction is no more ‘real’ than interaction mediated by electronic devices.
  • The emotional well-being of students is not hampered or diminished by the use of technology. Rather, it can help develop emotional literacy (John Griffiths told me at TeachMeet08 of how police in Sheffield are using Kar2ouche with young offenders. Marvellous!)

I hate to say it, but if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem… :p

(Lisa Stevens)

6 thoughts on “Emotional truancy

  1. Unless my school experience was radically different from the norm, it has ever been thus! When was school ever really relevant to real life? I think we devalue genuine arguments against the institution of schools when we try to present them as somehow being new and related to technology.

  2. “I hate to say it, but if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem…”

    I wish I were brave enough to say that to a few people in my school.

    Our pupils have grown up in an environment that is fundamentally different to the one I experienced while groing up (I’m in my early thirties). They have multiple TV channels, personal computers, portable computers, media players and broadband with access to a whole host of services and entertainment (and education if we make it so). Not using this to our advantage is madness.

    1. Thanks for your comments. 🙂

      @Ian & Robert: Having written my MA thesis on late 19th-century schooling I would be a fool to say anything other than it has ever been thus! However, what I do think technology does is bring into focus the shortcomings of the system, especially in an age dominated by it…

      @José: It was great to meet you at TeachMeet08. We do need to harness the technologies available to us instead of banning them. It feels like spitting in the wind sometimes though. :p

        1. Jeg ser det hele tiden, det er en form for disassociation. Den »virkelige mig” for dem er ikke den person, de er i skolen: det er kun det sted, hvor de hoppe gennem bøjlerne.

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