"Self-esteem" failing Ontario schools

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
I don't know about Canada with regard to kids with "smart devices" in their hands so much of the time, which are in many cases appear not to be used to increase one's intelligence or knowledge, but used as extensions and mass social communication which only seems to amplify all the things kids tend to do as kids, from bullying, to looking for some individual "identity" in a sea of people and doing the same stupid things most kids learn from, along their journey to adulthood, but on a wider and massive scale.

"Fracturing" or fractured attention is something that appears to have been a result of the increase in ways to be distracted in our modern society.

In the "old timey days," kids could sit at a picnic table and talk to one another. Now, not only do kids either talk or not talk to one another directly, they are talking/texting to others on their phones. In some cases they text, instead of talk, to someone sitting right across the table from them. Add to that what has also affected adults when it comes to abbreviating everything and segmenting it into shortened time frames (so as many short segments can be jammed into a day, as possible) and people, including kids, aren't living in the moment and with social networking, things like bullying can be magnified. Comparing one's life with others, the same. Instead of seeing what just 100 other kids are doing and wearing and the cliques they belong to, one can see literally thousands examples of the same. The apparent goal for young facebook users when it first began, was to accumulate as many "friends" as possible. Thus, kids were adding people they didn't know much about, beyond talking to them for a few minutes somewhere, to their "friends" lists. Just the number of friends one could accumulate became some manner of status symbol for comparison.

What all these things seem to add up to, for adults in many cases too, is our not living in the moment, but being distracted by numerous things and instead of engaging with those we are in the physical company of, engaging with a device and someone(s) on the other end and we're thinking about the next "segment" of our day to begin, rather than be present in the moment.

The reason I said I don't know about kids in Canada, is that I believe communication services can be expensive in Canada and I'm not sure how connected kids are and how that compares generally with kids in the U.S. I'm also not sure what it has to do with "self-esteem", although I would agree that grading kids on "effort" instead of some solid indication of solid knowledge (like 2+2=4.....not something "around" 4) does not do kids any favors because once out of school or moving to upper level education, "effort" might work if they join a professional sports team or they are working to create something or discover (uncover) something new, but it's not going to work well were "results" are the primary measure of success. Still, effort remains an important factor because very little can be done without effort and even if one does not win a running race, if they lose by a nose, it's hard to claim they didn't put good effort into the race. I think a part of the problem might be how to both reward effort, but at the same time emphasize that with continued effort, kids (or anyone) may be able to achieve a better result. The other side of that is that added effort does not always means someone will achieve a better result because, in a running race for example, they may be a dwarf, racing against someone like Usain Bolt. It's just unlikely to occur, not for lack of even a massive effort.

There seems great difficulty in trying to keep anyone (kids included) focused and interested in the ultimate aim of "effort" and what result is aimed for, by rewarding them for their efforts, but making sure they understand that an A for "effort" is not exactly the same as an A for a complete result which in a running race, would be winning the race.

You don't want to discourage kids from continuing to try and make an effort to improve their results by repeatedly entering them into races they never win (and therefore get discouraged from even making the effort to run), but at the same time you want them to realize that while effort is really good, in many instances, if not most instances, winning will be the ultimate goal. In short, how do you get kids to keep running races they never win or improve their results? How do you keep them from getting discouraged? At what point do you realize and recognize they can't do something no matter how much effort they put into it and you point them to some other endeavor where their "efforts" will result in a top and successful result? Can you point them to another endeavor within schools and curriculum that are geared to try to cover all differences and levels of capability, that are to be found in a single classroom.

I think on top of all the things most people alive today experienced as children, before the internet and then smart devices came into common use, children have the added distractions and many of them, perhaps too many of them, are being distracted. As a result, they are having difficulty concentrating and focusing their thinking and attention.

Fractured thinking – How the internet affects how you think | Montessori Muddle

There seems to be disagreement about the effects of multi-tasking. Some suggest it improves one's capacities and abilities, others would claim it distracts. It could be both, but in different ways.

I know I am very wordy with my postings here and I realize that they could be edited a great deal and shortened by doing so, but I don't really have the time I already take to make the postings I make and I'm not making money from writing here, so editing posts is not a top priority, if not something I can spent a lot, if any time, doing. Having said that, in my early school days, I was graded down when submitting an abbreviated report or paper on any subject we were studying and I was encouraged to add detail and explanation. In addition, my work requires taking the time to read and comprehend material and the reading amounts to a lot more than a 280 character Tweet or a short Haiku. The reading I need to do is technical and takes concentration to not only read it, but comprehend it.

Over the years I have been noting what appears to be a substantial decrease of general knowledge among Americans to the point many people from other nations appear to be more knowledgeable not only in general, but about the history, geography and politics of the United States and the same with regard to global knowledge in the same categories. At first I was curious as to why, but I now feel a lot of it has to do with distractions and a range of changes in social behaviors that may not have yet caught up with technological changes.

Without judging people who have been divorced (because there are many reasons people do so and in many cases people should just not remain married and where there is abuse, physical or otherwise, people should not stay in marriages.), I would say divorce does in some ways, demonstrate the reasons why a family unit that functions at a basic supportive level, is important, especially when it comes to schools and education. In addition, I think income gaps in anyone's society also have an effect. If parents both need to work and in some cases work more than one job each, they can't be there for their kids, other than to provide food on the table, a roof over their heads and clothes on their backs. Thus it would appear, many kids go to school without the basic social prep parents that can be present with their kids more often, supply. These kids, never really taught how to act or never reprimanded for their misbehavior, end up in classrooms and disrupt other kids and it's not the fault of the kids that disrupt others or those disrupted, but it is a major concern because it takes away from learning when behavior disrupts classrooms.

After I was done with my education, some folks came up with the idea of changing the way things like our Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) were scored and in such a way that lowered the bar of equivalency to the tests we were given in our time. I think that also contributed to what has seemed a decrease in basic general knowledge in America. I also think that some focusing on specific fields of study and dropping some required courses that otherwise would lend to a more well rounded base education and wider general knowledge, has contributed as well.

Then there is what drives, distracts or detracts from anyone's thirst or quest for knowledge. Things like Twitter facebook, "Reality TV" and massive television choices, might be great innovations, but could they also have contributed to a deficiency in people increasing and widening their knowledge and social skills (when they are physically in the presence of others)?

I'm not sure it is any one thing, but more a combination of many things, perhaps one of the largest being the capacity for any society to settle in with technology that is constantly changing and changing the face of social interaction and what results from those changes.

It is an interesting subject and discussion. Thanks, for bringing it up.
The internet is certainly a serious issue. If you ask me, the modern generation of teens and twenty-something people spend way, way too much time on their computers, in the internet, they grew up that way.

Which actually affects their social interaction skills in real life: How Technology Affects Your Social Skills | Liberty Classical Academy

They can't even flirt without sounding awkward and creepy, and the result is pathetic: Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

Also: The great sex recession: celibate Americans at record high

Canadian Millennials are no better, they are apparently just masturbating more instead: Canadians are having less sex, but we’re still finding pleasure on our own


It's not really funny, it's sad, frankly...

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