Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Current on Homework

This morning I was a guest on the CBC Radio show The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti. The topic was homework, about which I apparently never lack for things to say. Tremonti is a great interviewer, and I was happy to be able to share my family's homework "story." But there's much more I wish I could have said. For instance, I wish I'd mentioned the recent CAMH study showing disturbingly high levels of psychological distress among Ontario high school students; I would have liked to wonder out loud why there's been so little interest in figuring out the root causes of teen stress. But maybe I didn't raise that question because I know the answer: It's much easier to implicitly blame kids for their own troubles and individualize the problem of stress (by offering coping mechanisms and time management guidance) than it is to acknowledge one's complicity in perpetuating a school culture of overwork that harms kids. So once again there's an elephant in the room of the debates about teen mental health. (Spoiler: its name is homework.)

Here's the link to the interview.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Elephants and Puppies

From the Toronto District School Board's Mental Health and Well-Being newsletter:

Some of the activities that wellness groups have done in schools in the TDSB include: yoga before exams, mindful minutes on the announcements, speed friending, mindfulness bubbles, mentoring new students, teacher thank you cards, puppy rooms, and more! 

Conspicuous by its absence: encouraging principals and teachers to adhere to the TDSB homework policy and reduce homework loads to reasonable levels. Because why confront the elephant in the room when you can just bring in puppies?