Social Commentary

The Crazy Things That Some Schools Do!

Is it April Fool’s day? Of course it isn’t. So why am I reading ridiculous headlines like this? helicopter parent

Melbourne schools ban playground games because of lack of resilience

The report stated that schools were banning Tiggy because kids would just give up when they were tagged, and quoted the Victorian Principals Association president Gabrielle Leigh as saying some schools had imposed bans on other games, such as skipping and swapping collector cards, over problems sharing.


Banning games because kids lack social skills or resilience?

That’s akin to banning Mathematics because kids can’t add up.

Or perhaps your child can’t spell properly? Just ring up the school to complain, and they’ll put a stop to those pesky English lessons too.

Is this really what we’ve come to?

The article claimed that, “Smaller families and over-protective parents are being blamed for a lack of resilience,” although blamed by whom it doesn’t say.

Whilst there may be something to the “over-protective” parents line, I find it incredible that schools would resort banning such things. I once heard of a school that banned the giving out of birthday invitations unless every child in the class received one – an argument if ever I’ve heard one for smaller class sizes!

Schools have to take the lead here, and draw a line in the sand, rather than perpetuating the issue by banning opportunities for kids to develop resilience.

You don’t build resilience by talking about it – I don’t care what any overpriced course tells you – you build it by working though issues. A struggle here, a bit of drama there and coming through it the other side.

I don’t know who said it to me, but they once described some parents as “Helicopter Gunship” parents. That is, they hover around blowing up anything and everything that might cause their child to struggle.

We’ve come to expect “Helicopter” parents, but we’re in danger when the “helicopter” mindset takes over schools as well.

If you were the person that gave me that analogy, let us know in the comments section so I can appropriately quote you in future!

This was originally written for my regular Generation Next column.

Education Social Commentary Youth

Hey kids – Stop talking like that!

Teen Speak

I bet there’s certain things kids say that grate on you. I bet there are slang terms that, quite simply, you don’t understand.

Every now and then you’ll come across a helpful list of the latest “kids speak” like this one. Go on, read it. It’s brilliant.

I’ll bet if you think back, there were words you used that your parents didn’t really get, and when they tried to use them, well… it was just wrong.

A couple of weeks back I stumbled across a very interesting article, again from the UK.

A school has decided to ban the use of certain slang words.  It’s worth noting they’re not talking about swear words, but words like:

“Innit” and the ever present “Like” are in the firing line as is starting sentences with “Basically” or ending them with “Yeah.”

Reaction has been varied. Some (mostly older folk) have applauded the move, whilst others have pointed to the naturally occurring changes in language over time.

Others have claimed that it could be considered racist, as some of the slang words under fire are most common in the vernacular of those from West Indian background.

It’s certainly an interesting debate, because I have my pet peevs too!

The seemingly new phenomenon of shortening words really grates on me.

Totally = totes, Obviously = obvs and for some reason – particularly Channel 10 – have been promoting “Double Eps” for over a year now… Is “Episode” really too long a word?

Yeah I know I know… Basically, I’m just being a grumpy old man. After all this is how the kids speak now innit yeah?

This was originally written for my regular Generation Next column.