Alternative-Learning Org

Home education, Natural Learning, Unschooling

Cognitive Benefits of Playing Video Games

Research shows that video-game play improves basic mental abilities. by Peter Gray  In two previous articles  (here and here), I summarized evidence countering the common fears about video games (that they are addictive and promote such maladies as social isolation, obesity, and violence).  I also pointed there to evidence that the games may help children develop logical, literary, executive, and even social skills.  Evidence …

Boy Diagnosed With ‘Fear of Growing Up’

Credit: Zurijeta/Shutterstock.com Enlarge A 14-year-old boy in Mexico had such an intense fear of growing up that he took extreme steps to hide or curb his growth, such as restricting his food intake and distorting his voice, according to a new report of his case. The boy's phobia started when he was about 11 years old. He had …

Brains of Autistic Children Are Surprisingly Hyper-Connected

From a non-autistic point of view, people with autism can seem somewhat disconnected in social and emotional terms. It’d be tempting to attribute this to differences in brain connectivity—wiring that never quite got connected—and in fact, this has been the prevailing hypothesis. But this week, researchers report that the brains of autistic children are actually …

Bullied Children Can Suffer Lasting Psychological Harm as Adults

Bullied children grow into adults who are at increased risk of developing anxiety disorders, depression and suicidal thoughts. (Credit: © Pixel Memoirs / Fotolia) Feb. 20, 2013 — Bullied children grow into adults who are at increased risk of developing anxiety disorders, depression and suicidal thoughts, according to a study led by researchers at Duke Medicine. The findings, based …

Unsolicited Evaluation Is the Enemy of Creativity

Creativity blossoms in a non-controlling, non-judgmental environment. Published on October 16, 2012 by Peter Gray in Freedom to Learn In my last post I wrote of evidence that children’s creativity has declined over the past two or three decades, a period during which children’s lives, both in and out of school, have become increasingly controlled and regulated by adult authorities. Here, now, is some …

All Work and No Play Make the Baining the “Dullest Culture on Earth”

Bateson called them "drab and colorless:" The culture where play is shameful. The Baining—one of the indigenous cultural groups of Papua New Guinea—have the reputation, at least among some researchers, of being the dullest culture on earth.  Early in his career, in the 1920s, the famous British anthropologist Gregory Bateson spent 14 months among them, until he finally …

Free Play Is Essential for Normal Emotional Development

Why Mother Nature motivates our children to play in emotionally exciting ways. In play, children practice many skills that are crucial for healthy development.  They practice physical and manual skills, intellectual skills, and social skills. I have written about all of this in previous posts.  They also practice emotional skills. In play, children learn how to regulate their fear and anger and …

Lessons from famous college dropouts

(CNN) — A college degree can be an important gateway to employment, a career and a better standard of living. But a college degree does not equate to someone’s level of intelligence or talent. For those seeking the best workers or leaders, there is a plethora of intelligent, inventive people without degrees who should not be overlooked.

Why Young Children Protest Bedtime: A Story of Evolutionary Mismatch

By Peter Gray The monsters under the bed are real. Infants and young children in our culture regularly protest going to bed.  They make all sorts of excuses. They say they are not tired, when in fact they obviously are tired. They say they are hungry, or thirsty, or need to hear a story (and then one …