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Are we raising a generation of nincompoops?

 
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BASEL
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:45 pm    Post subject: Are we raising a generation of nincompoops? Reply with quote

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.p...4c1f7eed6ce376

Are We Raising A Generation Of Nincompoops?

Kids Can't Tie Shoes, Use Can Openers, Do Laundry: Have We Raised Our
Kids To Be Nincompoops?

(AP) NEW YORK (AP) - Second-graders who can't tie shoes or zip
jackets. Four-year-olds in Pull-Ups diapers. Five-year-olds in
strollers. Teens and preteens befuddled by can openers and ice-cube
trays. College kids who've never done laundry, taken a bus alone or
addressed an envelope.

Are we raising a generation of nincompoops? And do we have only
ourselves to blame? Or are some of these things simply the result of
kids growing up with push-button technology in an era when mechanical
devices are gradually being replaced by electronics?

Susan Maushart, a mother of three, says her teenage daughter
"literally does not know how to use a can opener. Most cans come with
pull-tops these days. I see her reaching for a can that requires a can
opener, and her shoulders slump and she goes for something else."

Teenagers are so accustomed to either throwing their clothes on the
floor or hanging them on hooks that Maushart says her "kids actually
struggle with the mechanics of a clothes hanger."

Many kids never learn to do ordinary household tasks. They have no
chores. Take-out and drive-through meals have replaced home cooking.
And busy families who can afford it often outsource house-cleaning and
lawn care.

"It's so all laid out for them," said Maushart, author of the
forthcoming book "The Winter of Our Disconnect," about her efforts to
wean her family from its dependence on technology. "Having so much
comfort and ease is what has led to this situation - the Velcro
sneakers, the Pull-Ups generation. You can pee in your pants and we'll
take care of it for you!"

The issue hit home for me when a visiting 12-year-old took an ice-cube
tray out of my freezer, then stared at it helplessly. Raised in a
world where refrigerators have push-button ice-makers, he'd never had
to get cubes out of a tray - in the same way that kids growing up with
pull-tab cans don't understand can openers.

But his passivity was what bothered me most. Come on, kid! If your
life depended on it, couldn't you wrestle that ice-cube tray to the
ground? It's not that complicated!

Mark Bauerlein, author of the best-selling book "The Dumbest
Generation," which contends that cyberculture is turning young people
into know-nothings, says "the absence of technology" confuses kids
faced with simple mechanical tasks.

But Bauerlein says there's a second factor: "a loss of independence
and a loss of initiative." He says that growing up with cell phones
and Google means kids don't have to figure things out or solve
problems any more. They can look up what they need online or call mom
or dad for step-by-step instructions. And today's helicopter parents
are more than happy to oblige, whether their kids are 12 or 22.

"It's the dependence factor, the unimaginability of life without the
new technology, that is making kids less entrepreneurial, less
initiative-oriented, less independent," Bauerlein said.

Teachers in kindergarten have always had to show patience with
children learning to tie shoes and zip jackets, but thanks to Velcro
closures, today's kids often don't develop those skills until they are
older. Sure, harried parents are grateful for Velcro when they're
trying to get a kid dressed and out the door, and children learn to
tie shoes eventually unless they have a real disability. But if
they're capable of learning to tie their shoes before they learn to
read, shouldn't we encourage them?

Some skills, of course, are no longer useful. Kids don't need to know
how to add Roman numerals, write cursive or look things up in a
paper-bound thesaurus. But is snail-mail already so outmoded that
teenagers don't need to know how to address an envelope or put the
stamp in the right spot? Ask a 15-year-old to prepare an envelope some
time; you might be shocked at the result.

Lenore Skenazy, who writes a popular blog called Free-Range Kids,
based on her book by the same name, has a different take. Skenazy,
whose approach to parenting is decidedly anti-helicopter, agrees that
we are partly to blame for our children's apparent incompetence,
starting when they are infants.

"There is an onslaught of stuff being sold to us from the second they
come out of the womb trying to convince us that they are nincompoops,"
she said. "They need to go to Gymboree or they will never hum and
clap! To teach them how to walk, you're supposed to turn your child
into a marionette by strapping this thing on them that holds them up
because it helps them balance more naturally than 30,000 years of
evolution!"

Despite all this, Skenazy thinks today's kids are way smarter than we
give them credit for: "They know how to change a photo caption on a
digital photo and send it to a friend. They can add the smiley face
without the colon and parentheses! They never took typing but they can
type faster than I can!"

Had I not been there to help that 12-year-old with the ice-cube tray,
she added, the kid surely would have "whipped out his iPhone and
clicked on his ice cube app to get a little video animated by a
6-year-old that explained how you get ice cubes out of a tray."

Friends playing devil's advocate say I'm wrong to indict a whole
generation for the decline of skills they don't need. After all, we no
longer have to grow crops, shoot deer, prime a pump or milk a cow to
make dinner, but it was just a couple of generations ago that you
couldn't survive in many places without that knowledge.

Others say this is simply the last gasp of the analog era as we move
once and for all to the digital age. In 10 years, there won't be any
ice cube trays; every fridge will have push-button ice.

But Bauerlein, a professor at Emory University who has studied culture
and American life, defends my right to rail against the ignorance of
youth.

"That's our job as we get old," he said. "A healthy society is healthy
only if it has some degree of tension between older and younger
generations. It's up to us old folks to remind teenagers: 'The world
didn't begin on your 13th birthday!' And it's good for kids to resent
that and to argue back. We want to criticize and provoke them. It's
not healthy for the older generation to say, 'Kids are kids, they'll
grow up.'

"They won't grow up," he added, "unless you do your job by knocking
down their hubris."


_________________
To resist the influence of others, knowledge of one's self is most important.

Draw from your past....... but don't let your past draw from you

Yama, The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was..... is lost. For none now live who remember it.

For all your Computer needs www.btlogic.co.uk
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BASEL
Site Administrator


Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 1328
Location: dark side of the moon

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found this interesting and so true

Quote:
A lot of graduates from college and university now get through their exams by going online and copying what they see, and then paraphrase it. This is a massive problem, because these are going to be the future generation.....Imagine the doctors, or engineers, or traffic air controllers of tomorrow who don't know what they are doing, or maintain their standards.

People lying, cheating, stealing.... just to "get ahead," or take shortcuts....ah...isn't this common enough human weakness? The culture today is encouraging this.

Standards everywhere are falling fast, I'm surprised people don't realize this. So as more automation comes in, as technology improves, you can bet everything else will devolve, or go backwards.

Everything IS going downhill. It's been happening for the past 20-30 years.

_________________
To resist the influence of others, knowledge of one's self is most important.

Draw from your past....... but don't let your past draw from you

Yama, The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was..... is lost. For none now live who remember it.

For all your Computer needs www.btlogic.co.uk
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