Eldest and I spent most of the day together, she had not one single pair of pants and about two pairs of socks. Something had to be done, despite my deep loathing of all things shopping...the kids have even commented on the fact that I am not so fun to shop with because I get so grumpy.
It went pretty well, she's got three pairs of pants now, and socks...turns out youngest needs socks too. Shoot.
It occured to me as I sat down to write and started to reflect on the day that I never really thought all day, don't get me wrong, cerebral activity was going on, chatting with eldest, dealing with traffic, finding our way through parts of the city we hadn't been too before, deciding on clothing, keeping my cool in the crowds...yet....
It amazes me sometimes how little we may really think in a given day.
As I said, I don't mean the standard day to day thought train that runs along as you work your way from moment to moment and meal to meal, but really thinking about something.
It is something we have been discussing lately as a family. The Spanish school system, in fact the Catalan in particular has been in the papers lately as one of the worst in Europe. (Hip Hip Hooray!!!) Looking at the work the students have to do now and further on, the biggest problem seems to me to be that they simply don't need to think. It is mountains and mountains of rote memorisation. I mean, really, get a load of this....in grade whateveritiswhenyouare14 the kids have to memorise the periodic table of elements.
Now excuse me, but WTF????
Isn't that something that you can, you know, look up?
What about making chemistry and chemical actions come to life? Let them think and work with the material, blow a few things up, burn sonething, create clouds of foul smelling stinky smog. If they are interested in the field they will want to learn the table of elements, but I am sorry, will they even understand what the elements are in any meaningful way if they are just set the task of memorising their order?
It is one of the challenges I am finding here teaching English, so many of the kids cannot be bothered to THINK.
As a culture we don't encourage this scary process. We are permanently anaesthetised by our MP3 players, our Tvs, cell phones (HI! I'm on the bus!) and streams of constant meaningless imput that prevents any real cerebral activity.
It is also a challenge I have faced teaching adults in Canada, they want to get through the course, regurgitate the necessary facts sufficiently well to get through and be gone, paper in hand. Our goal on the other hand is to give them enough info to begin to interpret and think, and get them trained in techniques for analysis, record keeping and writing...as in THINKING.
They hate it.
It is so hard and alien for them.
And there are days when I come to blog and I am distressed to discover that while I have been quite busy all day, I have not really had a chance to stop and think.
Until I sit down to write.
This may indeed be, for me, a lot of why I like to blog, why I continue to blog. It forces me to stop and reflect and think, if only for a little while.