Links to Think

Links to Think: 13.08.26

August 26, 2013

13.08.26

The Salvation Army Probably Can’t Use Your Clothes: The Afterlife of Cheap Clothes – Lots to chew on here, though there are certainly alternative perspective to view this from, as well.

“What American doesn’t have something hanging in his or her closet worn only once or twice, a pair of pants waiting for a diet, or even a brand-new dress or jacket with the tags still on? Common sense and everyday experience tell us that we have so many clothes that a major­ity go underused and neglected. According to a 2010 national survey in ShopSmart magazine, one in four American women own seven pairs of jeans, but we only wear four of them regularly. Not surprisingly, charities regularly see brand-new clothes come in with tags still affixed. “We see people throwing away new stuff every day,” Maui says.

There is an enormous disconnect between increasing clothing con­sumption and the resultant waste, partially because unworn clothes aren’t immediately thrown out like other disposable products. In­stead, they accumulate in our closets or wherever we can find space for them. Master closets now average about 6 feet by 8 feet, a size more typical of an extra bedroom 40 years ago.”

“Most Americans are thoroughly convinced there is another person in their direct vicinity who truly needs and wants our unwanted clothes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Charities long ago passed the point of being able to sell all of our wearable unwanted clothes. According to John Paben, co-owner of used-clothing processer Mid- West Textile, “They never could.”

Children Teach Themselves to Read – Of course “children teaching themselves to read” is relative in that it requires following the majority of what this author labels, “Seven Principles of Learning to Read Without Schooling.” (Thus far, this is essentially how two of my children have learned to read, although neither of them are reading fluently, so perhaps it’s not considered truly reading yet.)

“The general assumption in our culture is that children must be taught to read. Vast amounts of research go into trying to figure out the scientifically best way to do this. In the education stacks of any major university library you can find rows and rows of books and many journals devoted solely to the topic of how to teach reading. In education circles heated debates–dubbed “the reading wars”–have raged for decades between those who believe that most emphasis should be placed on teaching phonics and those who take what is called a “whole language” approach to reading instruction. Many controlled experiments have been conducted comparing one instruction method to another, with kindergartners and first graders as the guinea pigs. The phonics people say that their method has “won” in those experiments, and the whole language people say that the experiments were rigged.”

“In marked contrast to all this frenzy about teaching reading stands the view of people involved in the “unschooling” movement and the Sudbury “non-school” school movement, who claim that reading need not be taught at all! As long as kids grow up in a literate society, surrounded by people who read, they will learn to read. They may ask some questions along the way and get a few pointers from others who already know how to read, but they will take the initiative in all of this and orchestrate the entire process themselves. This is individualized learning, but it does not require brain imaging or cognitive scientists, and it requires little effort on the part of anyone other than the child who is learning. Each child knows exactly what his or her own learning style is, knows exactly what he or she is ready for, and will learn to read in his or her own unique way, at his or her unique schedule”

“By listing and organizing the main points made by each story, I did, however, extract what seem to me to be seven principles that may cast some general understanding on the process of learning to read without schooling. I have chosen to organize the remainder of this essay around these principles and to exemplify each with quotations from stories that were sent to me. Some of the people who sent stories asked that I use only their first names and not their children’s names, so I will use that convention throughout.”

 (These are the principles, but the article goes on to write a good bit of explanation under each principle. And really, substitute another life skill (eating solids, etc…) for the word reading, and I see that these principles apply to many areas learning skills with children.)

Seven Principles of Learning to Read Without Schooling

1. For non-schooled children there is no critical period or best age for learning to read.
2. Motivated children can go from apparent non-reading to fluent reading very quickly.
3. Attempts to push reading can backfire.
4. Children learn to read when reading becomes, to them, a means to some valued end or ends.
5. Reading, like many other skills, is learned socially through shared participation.
6. Some children become interested in writing before reading, and they learn to read as they learn to write.
7. There is no predictable “course” through which children learn to read.

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