Sunday, October 12, 2008
If I Hug You, Will I Hurt You? What If I Also Know Your Name?
This is a perfect example of those needing these the most being prevented from getting them. I'm talking about hugs.
I happened upon this video by The Free Hugs Campaign. Based on the real life controversial story of Juan Mann, a man who's sole mission was to reach out and hug strangers to brighten up their lives. (This information was also shared on Twitter, by @toddgilmore recently, which I always like to add is an awesome place to pick up interesting & valuable resources.)
An Interesting Video
As you watch this video (3:39 min.) I'd like to point you in the direction of point 2:18 where a young child, clearly encouraged by a trusted adult, moves in for the hug AND GEE, NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. In fact, I'd venture to guess that the little girl WAS impacted for life. Continue to watch, though as you see the very same behavior evolve as we so often see in our schools.
Is There Evidence Out There?
I recently had the opportunity to SKYPE with Dean Shareski about the fears that pervade our school system to the point where we don't allow our students to benefit from the true value today's world has to offer them. He gave me quite a bit to think about and a few great suggestions for moving some things forward in my district that (might) hit a wall due to unfounded fears. He suggested focusing on the LOCAL success stories. We're working on that currently. But honestly, I don't think that will be enough. When confronted with these concerns he simply asks if there's evidence out there to support these fears.
I think this will help a lot because the same people who make these decisions are the same people who are all about data, aren't they?
And although this post is about hugs, it also is about the unfounded fears in our school systems that prevent constructive and important online resources to be ignored.
An Open Question
So, I'd like to ask this question, "Is there evidence out there to support the fear that teachers hugging their students or allowing students to hug each other has actually resulted in harm?"
Is there evidence out there to support the fear that allowing students (and teachers, for Heaven's sake - Why do we LOCK out teachers too?) access to social networking sites or encouraging to them post information responsibly actually results in harm?
As I try to move some district-wide initiatives forward in the next few months, I need to be armed with all the concrete information I can get.