Best of the Web

Improving NAPLAN results by teaching children philosophy, boys doing better with more sleep and the importance of play. A selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.

Want to Improve NAPLAN scores? Teach Children Philosophy

(Adam Piovarchy, PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney and Laura D’Olimpio, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Notre Dame Australia, The Conversation)

The national debate over the stagnation in NAPLAN results has focussed on funding and how the money is spent. But is there a simpler answer? The authors write that teaching children philosophy can dramatically increase student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy. Philosophy for Children started in the United States of America in the 1970s and has spread around the world.

Private School Bans Social Media App that ‘Sexualises’ Young Girls

(Kelsey Munro, Fairfax), an app that allows users to make short videos of themselves lip-syncing to pop songs, might sound harmless. But Wenona, a non-government girls school in Sydney, has banned the app over concerns about child safety and ‘highly sexualised dance moves’.

The Powerful Thing that Happens when the School Day Starts in the Afternoon

(Jeff Guo, The Washington Post)

Educators have pondered the problem for years: why do girls outperform boys at school? There have been many theories, including girls being more suited to the school environment. But what if it is something as basic as sleep? This article looks at an experiment in Europe that showed starting school in the afternoon gave a surprising boost to boys.

Parents, it’s Time to Stop Undermining our Kids’ Teachers

(Blair King, Huffington Post)

This forthright post is from the father of three young children, whose wife is a school teacher. Based on countless hours listening to teachers, the author argues that we are raising a generation of children incapable of succeeding in their own right. His advice? Be a parent, not a best friend. A child’s learned helplessness is the parents’ fault. Advocate for your child but also support the teacher. And a teacher can’t replace the role of a parent in a child’s education.

Scientists Say Child’s Play Helps Build A Better Brain

(Jon Hamilton, nprEd)

As part of a series on why people play and how play relates to learning, this article reinforces the critical role of play for children. When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground. And children need plenty of ‘free’ play – no coaches, umpires or rule books.