Thursday, July 17, 2008

When people ask me about whether I have statistical evidence on the value of the hands in learning, I wonder what the point might be. Statistics are for measuring those things we can't experience for ourselves first hand, and statistical evidence is generally ignored where it may require us to make changes in our daily habits. A good (and tragic) example of this is television. Recent studies indicate that just having the TV on in the room when children are present and not watching is damaging to their powers of attention. A recent ABC news report Turn off the TV for Toddler's Sake tells the story. More reading can be found at

Our persistent use of televisions in our homes, in the presence of children, is an example of what New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls ‘The Tragic Lag Between What We Know and What We Do’

At this point, with my daughter spending her summer in the Pacific doing seismic research on the R/V Langseth with the National Science Foundation and preparing for her sophomore year at Columbia University, I am grateful that my wife and I had the good sense to strictly limit TV use in our home. Even at high school age, having a television blaring in a household distracts from valuable homework and reading time, even when your child is in another room. If you have children or grandchildren, you can act in their behalf by raising this critical issue in your own family. While I can offer no conclusive evidence of the value of crafts in children's education, we know the alternatives are disastrous. So, for your children's sake, turn off the TV. Do something with your hands. You really won't be bored and you and your children will have a better life. The photo below is from this week's stained glass for kids class at The Eureka Springs School of the Arts.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful stained glass, I can't wait to see it in person!