Thursday, September 1, 2011

Zeitgeber matters

We keep time in class, as we do pretty much everywhere. We pretend that days are exactly 24 hours long, and that each hour is as well proscribed and linear as he next. An hour in December lasts exactly as long as an hour in June.

Kids know otherwise, of course, at least until we train them.

We start school here in Bloomfield next week. The daylight hours shrink dramatically this time of year. A week from now we'll have almost 20 minutes less daylight than we'll have today. In a month, we'll have an hour and 20 minutes more darkness. The light we do get will be more oblique, less intense.

Science teachers will make a big deal about this, explaining the seasons using globes and lamps, but if we've taught our children that sunlight does not matter, that the clock matters more than your hypothalamus, that we eat at noon, not when you're hungry, well, then, we should stop feigning shock when children really don't pay much attention to sunlight.

None of the adults around them do, either.

If college graduates do not know why seasons happen, or how trees accumulate mass, or what forces act on a basketball in flight, maybe it's not because our children refuse to learn.

Maybe it's because they internalized what we've been teaching them all along....

New leaf--if more than a few children are truly uninterested in a topic, and I have no good reason to push them, drop the topic.


Jerrid Kruse said...

Simply awesome.

doyle said...

Dear Jerrid,

That's about as good as a compliment gets. Thank you.