quinta-feira, 30 de agosto de 2012

Are fairy tales too scary for today's children?

       "Are fairy tales too scary for today's children?" That question was asked in the British newspaper Daily Mail and it was also answered when they wrote "Parents admit they refuse to read classics to youngsters". (you can read the complete article here)
        According to the article, parents are not reading the tales of Rumpelstiltskin or Rapunzel to their children because it includes kidnapping. Goldilocks and the Three Bears tolerates stealing, Little Red Riding Hood is too upsetting for children because the Big Bad Wolf eats the little girl’s grandmother and Cinderella, a young woman who does the household chores, is considered outdated. 
        Maybe Hans Christian Andersen, Brothers Grimm and even Monteiro Lobato are being misunderstood. I'm quite sure that when they wrote their stories, they didn't mean to cause any kind of disturbing feelings. Andersen said once that the tale "The Ugly Duckling" in fact was based on himself. Andersen was a tall, ugly boy with a big nose and big feet, and he was cruelly teased and mocked by other children. But, as an adult he become the most famous Danish writer, beloved for many children all around the world until today, respected by the royalty and his legacy is priceless. His life, as well as the tale he wrote, is an extremely motivating story, demonstrating that it is worth moving forward despite difficulties. Nowadays parents can be in favour of more modern books, but we can't forget that the old ones were written in a different time, reflecting the mores of that society. And for sure, they must be respected. Unfortunely it seems that some people have not taken this into consideration. Monteiro Lobato was accused of being prejudiced and in the opinion of the National Education Council (CNE), the book "Hunting of Pedrinho" should be banned in public schools because of its racist content. It's absolutely unbelievable! 
Depriving our children of these books for being too disturbing but let them watch the current TV programs seems a big contradiction. What a pity!

     Post Question: What's your favorite Fairy Tale? Why do you like it most? Should parents keep on reading the Fairy Tales for children or not? Why?

     Tip: Take some minutes (8') and watch the Disney's 1939 version of Andersen's Ugly Duckling.

quarta-feira, 22 de agosto de 2012

Mediocrity - a lecture by Mario Sergio Cortella

      According to the Oxford Advanced Learner's Encyclopedic Dictionary (p. 559, 1992):
- mediocre: /adj./ not very good, second-rate. 
- mediocrity: me·di·oc·ri·ty  noun pl. me·di·oc·ri·ties
1. [U] quality of being mediocre    
2. [C] person eho is mediocre in ability, personal qualities, etc. ex. a government of mediocrities
      The school is sponsoring a series of lectures to promote not only a reflection on the topics presented, but also for the integration of the students' families and the school itself. The professor and philosopher Mario Sergio Cortella was one of the guest speakers of this lecture series and he spoke about "Educação e gestão do conhecimento - um desafio urgente" (Education and knowledge management - an urgent challenge). 
         I was very happy to have attended the lecture because what was said by Professor Cortella is exactly what I had said to the students at the beginning of this semester. He said that we should always do our work, whatever it is, with great passion, zeal and care. We must do the best we can, always. It doesn't matter if it's a household chore, a noodle dish with a leaf of basil for garnish (example that was made by his mother) or the homework. The best should be done, in any situation!
         People, who are not used to do their best, are usually doing the tasks just for the sake of having they done, nothing else. And doing it, they are not feeling completely satisfied because their work is not being appreciated, they are not inspiring others to do their best and the worst, they are not even being a good example for their family and friends. They are being mediocre, they are just acting like the average. Don't let that your attitudes make you trapped in mediocrity. People who do their best, sooner or later, are always rewarded for their efforts. And remember, worry about doing your best because you are your greatest adversary! If there is competition, it is you against yourself! Right now, the world needs people who care about doing their better to improve the quality of living of the whole planet.

Post Question: What activity are you really good at? What topics would you like to have a lecture about? Is there someone you would like to invite to be a guest speaker in our lecture series? Did you attend the Cortella's lecture? What did you like most in the lecture? 

Tip: Read the Donald Latumahina's blog, from Indonesia. He wrote the post "Avoiding Mediocrity: Do You Dare to Be Different?" with five questions to help you to check if you are trapped in mediocrity or if you excel for excellence.

terça-feira, 14 de agosto de 2012

To lie or not to lie - that is the question!

       Besides the Anglo booklet material, the 3ºEM students are also working with texts from one of the most prestigious American magazine, Newsweek. The great advantage of being using this material is the fact that we are always reading about current issues, connecting us to what is happening in the world. One of the chosen articles was written by Samar Halarnkar and it offers information about a study of Cornell University and University of Wisconsin-Madison coauthored by Catalina Toma that examined the lying of individuals on online dating websites. (You can read it here).
      Some lies are considered very inoffensive and are called "white lies". A white lie can be excused because it does not cause great harm. For example: you praise the dinner that your aunt made for you with love just to make her happy, even if not so tasty.
   Lies have always been present in human's life but nowadays people usually feel more comfortable to lie on Internet. The others can't see you or they can't properly check the information you have given. There is this hope that when the truth comes up, they will be involved a lot to care about the "details". 
        But we must take care, lying can also bring lots of confusion and sometimes even pain. What can be a simple lie for you, may be something more complex for others. When in doubt, always tell the truth ...because sooner or later, the lie will be revealed.

Post Question: What was the last "white lie" you have said lately? Have you ever lied on Internet? Do you agree to the idiom: "All's fair in love and war" (No amor e na guerra, vale tudo)

Tip: Do you know what the most common "white lies" are? Check this website and find out.

terça-feira, 7 de agosto de 2012

Back to school and the challenge of a creative period!

      Back to school! The second semester has just begun and for some of you will be the last one here in our school.
      Let's do the best we can to really make the most of it! This period is a little bit shorter than the first semester, so it demands us more efforts to do the same things (or sometimes even more things) with less time than we had before. And if it sounds kind of scared for some ones, I'm sure that for others it's a pretty good challenge.
      Challenges can be very motivating. Instead of being complaining about the lack of time and the great amount of work to be done, we can use all our creativity to develop strategies which will help us facing this period without so many worries and stress.
     Planning our day, asking for help when it's necessary and when we don't know exactly what to do, exchange your ideas with our friends, getting up a little bit earlier and have an agenda to take note about all the homework, activities, tests and excursions you will participate, are also good tips to keep things on track.
     All your dedication and hard work will be rewarded later, for sure! Study now and on the first week of December you will be in our school just to start celebrating all the festivities of the end of the year, wishing Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to your friends and teachers.
     Many resources are available at school to help and mainly inspire you to do your best, so there is no excuse for a sloppy work! Dare to be creative! Use your creativity and don't be afraid of being wrong! "NOW" is the time and "HERE (the school)" is the place where you can be wrong and make mistakes because you are here exactly to learn. And we can learn a lot through our trials and errors; we just need to have the good will of keep on learning, always!

Post Question: How do you study? Do you have any strategy to improve your performance? What subject do you like to study? If you could, what would you like to change in our school that you think it would help students to study more?

Tip: Read the post (click here) written here some months ago. You will find a link to some very good tips from the ACE (Academic Center of Excellence) of the University of Illinois, at Chicago, to help you to study better and better!