Saturday, May 13, 2017

What's really driving the fidget toy craze

I wrote an article last week for Intellectual Takeout explaining how I think the fidget toy craze reveals the lack of freedom and self-direction inherent in the mass schooling model.

In the article, I say:
"Through the process of mass schooling, childhood curiosity and exuberance for learning are steadily replaced by a system of social control that teaches children that their interests and observations don't matter. Is it any wonder that within this educational framework young people would gravitate toward behaviors, like fidget spinning, that grant them some semblance of freedom and control in the classroom?"
My article got picked up by a radio station, KNRS out of Salt Lake City, that interviewed me about fidget toys and their connection to the problems of mass schooling. Here is the 7-minute audio interview:

Like I say in the interview, it's not fidget toys that are the problem. Children (and adults, for that matter) outside of conventional schooling also enjoy fidget toys. In schools, however, they become a sort of lifeline in an otherwise oppressive educational environment. 
I conclude the Intellectual Takeout article by stating:
"Rather than complaining about this latest fad, and banning these fidget toys from schools across the country, we should look more closely at what the toys reveal: children and adolescents who are bored with and frustrated by the irrelevance of mass schooling and who crave education freedom and autonomy.
Education models, separate from mass schooling, already exist and are wildly successful at retaining childhood curiosity and promoting academic excellence. Perhaps these fidget toys can help turn our attention to those alternatives."

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