About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why should the fat kid have to deal with this crap - surely life's hard enough!

Sometimes something can be so ridiculous that it can actually help your case.  The recent NZ Herald article Mark students on weight - diet guru is one of these.

In an attempt to cure the obesity epidemic  diet 'guru' Pierre Dukan "suggests that students in their last two years of high school be awarded extra marks if they manage to maintain an acceptable Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight".

Now initially this put me into a bit of a spin. There was the obvious argument:

Do we really want to create a society so standard that we all think the same and now look the same?

The way we are going about education is deeply flawed, when some new problem comes along we mindlessly add it to the prescription of learning. We saw this mistake being made with ICT where separate stand-alone computer suites and learning programmes popped up all over the place as opposed to intergrating ICTs into the learning.

Adding things to the prescription is not the answer - a personalized, flexible, integrative, approach would address all of the issues. Personalised learning addresses issues that administrators and 'experts' could never imagine because personalised education enables the essence of education:

Teaching people to feel a richness in themselves, a belief in themselves and to learn about themselves 
(Elwyn Richardson)

Now while we're on the subject of obesity - could standardised testing be a contributing factor? When cramming for standardised tests the process is so much more enjoyable if you're ramming a few twinkies down your throat and washing them down with some sugary fizzy.  So why not authentically educate our children so that they did not have to (literally) sit and cram for standardized tests and instead learn about and believe in themselves?

However, this article provides good evidence that we can not (and should not) measure people using standardised tests! BMI is a great example.  If we were to 'grade' children on their BMI it would be as ridiculous as grading children academically using a multi-choice test (oh wait, we do that!).  Just like our academic tests BMI does not work for all ethnicities, it forces people into gendered roles, it is not recommended for children, and of course does not work for pregnant women (last time I looked it was okay for pregnant people to be educated - I hope that is still the case). The All-Blacks' BMI has (shock horror) risen over the years. Will high BMI rugby players be allowed to Graduate?

It is also important to note that diet 'guru' Pierre Dukan is simply a business man selling his high protein diet to celebrities and to anyone else that will listen. Perhaps John Key could fly him over to New Zealand and assist him in opening up a Charter School?


  1. Hmm and I would have my previous good grades taken off me. My score would become lower each year. One of my concerns with standardized testing is that it limits people to perceived ideals. In a changing world these are likely to undermine capability and de motivate doers. Thanks for making me think I think.

  2. Thanks Dave. Glad to be of thinking assistance. You're right, standardised testing is very limiting and is creating a society of standardised thinking about standardised content.

    It's such a shame that our government values standards based teaching over creativity. I wouldn't be surprised if they came up with a standard for creativity!

    Standardised creativity, standardised thinking, standardised bodies = one very compliant society. *shudder*

  3. You've posted on something that has bothered me for quite some time, the body-shaming aspect of 'fitness.' This might sound crazy but shouldn't people and kids being enjoying physical activity rather than just to stay thin.

  4. Fantastic point Stephanie! Mitra says: kids will learn what they want to learn. Kids will be active because it's enjoyable not because they have been shamed! I too truly believe that such authentic teaching would address a plethora of self-esteem issues - obesity being one of them. That is the essence of education. :)