Art for Art’s Sake?

Are children the only people who can really partake in art for art’s sake?  Is it important to do this?  Is it a waste of time?

Many of you will have seen these videos already –  but I hadn’t so just in case I thought I’d post them.  I also thought it might be worth asking ourselves exactly what this boy is doing in the first video?  And why? And if there is a link between his work and the work of the artists in the second video?

Just wondering what you might think…

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Love And Protection

Given all the controversy in recent times about social action via social media, here is a very interesting initiative.

It seems like a great idea to me –

Especially as this is the response –

Here is an interesting newspaper article about this phenomenon –

And many thanks to Talesfromthelou for posting this in the first place –


Finns Finish First

Schools in Finland have turned out to have some of the highest test scores in the world.  How have they achieved this?

Not by creating a two-tier educational system – there are very few private schools in Finland.

Not by setting up a rigid system of standardised testing – there is only one state exam which pupils take at the end of secondary school.  All other tests and measures are designed by individual teachers in individual classrooms with their own individual pupils in mind.

Not by rigid academic streaming or emphasis on rote learning or ‘hot-housing’.

The answer to ‘how’ the Finns have attained their academic excellence is a lesson itself in both education and irony.

Since the 1980s every effort has been made to ensure that all Finnish children have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counselling, and individualized student guidance.

In fact, as the Finns weren’t trying to attain academic excellence when Finland’s students scored so high on the first PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey in 2001, they thought there had been a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland – unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway – was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity.

All of which would suggest that education is more a system of getting things out of children – developing their natural capacities – rather than putting things in. It’s a bit like gardening – with a suitable, healthy nurturing environment all plants have a good chance of thriving.  Children seem to be the same.

A good lesson for most other governments.



To see things in the seed, that is genius. Lao-Tzu

Did You Know…

Signature of Dr. Seuss

Did you know that The Cat in the Hat was written in 1954 using the reading vocabulary of the average 6-7 year old?

It was mainly written in an attempt to create something interesting for children that might attract them to read.

Theodor Geisel – aka Dr. Seuss – was supplied with a list of 348 words – he used 238 words (13 not on the list).  And he definitely succeeded in the interesting part.

Just in case that wasn’t good enough – four years later in 1960, Theodor Geisel wrote a book using only 50 words –

a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

I’m sure you’ve recognised Green Eggs and Ham from that list.  It is still one of the best selling children’s books of all time.

This may not seem much like the FUNDAEC rural university* at first glance but it uses the same logic. Rather than forcing people to meet the needs of the existing systems, it had a go at adapting the systems (in this case reading systems) to better fulfill the needs.

Clever Dr. Seuss…



Why Does This Make Me Cry?

This video seems to make me cry – but in a good way!