View From the Hill
Carol ServiceThank you to all parents who attended and supported our Carol Service on Monday evening, helping to bring our year one step nearer to a gentle close in very fine and harmonious fashion. The evening was a calm and joyous moment in a busy end of year schedule and one that left the heart singing. Our end of service donations raised $1837.90, a very generous effort which will be gratefully received by a new Steiner preschool initiative in Colombia, Sacha Uku. Saffron Wadick is a former Glenaeon Preschool teacher and, after many years supporting, fundraising, visiting and working for Steiner projects in Africa and Latin America and three years living in Colombia, she is now opening a Steiner preschool in Colombia.
To Chaplain Lisa Devine, thank you for another year’s wise and tender words warming our hearts for the Christmas season. Our students and teachers put in a long day of rehearsal and then performance, and the students sang and played with gusto in bringing the impressive music to our community.
We acknowledge and thank our Music teachers Manu Prasad and Pru Borgert for the always appropriate choice of repertoire, the coaching of the students and the carriage of an exhausting schedule of preparation and performance: inspiring all our Class 4 to Year 11 students to sing so magnificently is a remarkable achievement. To Stuart Wright, the Alumni Choir, the music tutors who supported your efforts, and our fine organist, Brett McKern, we add thanks for their work.
It was a memorable festival of gifts!
School Parent Survey
As the recorded message often says, your feedback is important to us! At the end of every year we run a survey to gather feedback from parents about the school, and we look carefully at the results to plan improvements in the following year. Please take a few minutes to respond to the survey which has been emailed to you. The survey runs until December 12th.
I know there is no dearth of articles warning of the impact of social media on future generations and I don’t want to add to overkill on this topic. However, the flood of articles may just mean there is something in it. Here is a recent comment from British media that adds to the commentary.
Twitter will make children illiterate in 20 years, says novelist Howard Jacobson
'We will have children who can’t read, who don’t want to read... I can’t read any more as much as I used to. My concentration has been shot by this bloody screen'
Howard Jacobson, British novelist and journalist, said the nature of communication had changed so dramatically with the emergence of social media and smartphones that young people are losing their desire to read books.
Children will be illiterate within a generation due to the dominance of Twitter and other social platforms, a Booker prize-winning novelist has warned.
Howard Jacobson said the nature of communication had changed so dramatically with the emergence of social media and smartphones that young people are losing their desire to read books.
The British novelist and journalist told The Times that even he — a man who once liked nothing better than to curl up with “300 densely packed pages” of a late Henry James novel — could no longer focus on a book because his concentration had been “shot” by screens.
Within 20 years, he said, “we will have children who can’t read, who don’t want to read," adding: “I can’t read any more as much as I used to. My concentration has been shot by this bloody screen. I can’t do it now — I want space, I want white pages, light behind the page.”
Mr Jacobson, who won the Man Booker Prize for his 2010 novel, The Finkler Question, also warned that Twitter had played into the hands of Donald Trump, who used it to bypass the news channels favoured by “the metropolitan elite”.
The President’s claim in Nevada last year that he “loves the poorly educated” was wicked, the writer said, because its real meaning was: “I want you to stay uneducated”.
Figures show a decline in education standards across the Western world. The percentage of American adults who read literature was last year at its lowest level since records began in 1982.
Only 43 per cent had read at least one book in the previous year, according to the US Endowment for the Arts.
Figures also show that the amount of time youngsters are spending online has increased, with children aged five to 15 now spending an average of 15 hours a week on the web.
Mr Jacobson added that Twitter amounted to a platform “almost exclusively of statement”, which enabled the likes of Mr Trump to make exploratory and unproven claims that people will then perceive to be fact.
“There are many good statements in the world, but much of the best part of thought and conversation isn’t statement, it’s exploration, inquiry, irony,” the novelist said. “It’s feeling something out. You can’t feel anything out anymore — [people] think you are saying what you mean.”
It comes after a US study found that rates of loneliness amongst teens have soared and there has been a worrying decrease in mental wellbeing since the 2007 launch of the iPhone.
The number of teenagers spending time with friends nearly every day dropped by more than 40 per cent between 2000 and 2015.
The Children’s Commissioner for England recently warned parents to stop their children from “bingeing” on social media, comparing consuming time online “like junk food”.
Use of social media sites among children has also, however, been promoted as a way of building up their resilience. A recent report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that using social media helped children to develop their social skills, collaborate better with peers, and access help and emotional support more easily.