Month: May 2015

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In the News: ‘Fresh Air’ Parenting

Timely and interesting  research coming from the University of Toronto linking parental perceptions of child supervision to physical activity in children. Only 36% of parents allow their children to explore their neighborhoods unsupervised, one of the many factors limiting young people’s mobility. The Meitiv’s are a recent example of the minority few who risk investigation by legal authorities by allowing their children some autonomy. One article online calls for ‘fresh air’ vs. the negatively coined ‘free range’ parenting. Can we find a middle ground? An even more pressing question is this: what does it say about the status of and spaces available for children in our society when our instinct is to call 911 when we see children out-and-about? I’ll say more about this later.

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How To: Start Your Research Paper

The Student Learning Commons at Simon Fraser University invited me to propose an independent project related to my work as a writing facilitator. So…I went in search of a way to communicate about academic writing that combined both my interests in teaching and video production. I envisioned three possible applications for the vid 1) an intro to undergraduate writing workshops facilitated by the SLC 2) a tool for instructors or TAs to show or share their students and 3) a stand alone resource on the library’s site for students to access along with the university’s many other excellent research/writing resources. I animated the video using Keynote, Mac’s Presentation Software–a simple program that lets you take the average slideshow to the next level. Feel free to share or adapt (and if you’d like the source file, get in touch)!  

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Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood

This week I’ll be sharing my doctoral research at the Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood II conference in Lethbridge, Alberta. One of the conference themes asks whether play is the opposite of work and how the distinction between the two has contributed to how we define healthy, normal or adequate childhood–both of these are important questions underlying my research project. Because play is commonly understood to be the opposite of work and freedom from work is taken to be one of the basic tenants of proper childhood (fostering the view that play is the child’s ‘work’), the child who works is then at best viewed as deprived of a proper childhood and at worst subject to potentially unhelpful forms of intervention that risk further limiting the autonomy of the child. This view of work and play depends on a predominantly western view of childhood as a period of innocence, dependence and vulnerability, a view that scholars have argued is essentialist and dismissive of the globally diverse number of childhood experiences. It isn’t hard to see …