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Showing posts from August, 2017

Violence in Virginia reflects worldwide national identity debates

Violence in Charlottesville in U.S. Virginia this week between neo-Nazis and anti-racism groups is a symptom of resentment over social change, how history is remembered and the heroes communities decide to celebrate or reject.

In Virginia the clashes were sparked by heated debate about the future of a statue of Confederate General, Robert E Lee. "It was erected at a time when there was this rising myth of the glory of the south, the white nationalist south," says local councillor Kristin Szakos who has sought to move the statue from the public square, prompting outrage from the far-right. "Lee was a symbol of all that was good in pre-war southern society - meaning slavery, white people had dominance and economic power," Szakos told the ABC.

Hours after the Charlottesville violence, anti-racist protesters in North Carolina toppled a Confederate statue there - pulling it to the ground and stomping on it.

White nationalist organisers see themselves as defenders of ol…

Improvised, free-range play a wonderful antidote in the digital age

Suddenly, Canberra appears awash with real play spaces.

One's just opened at my local primary school complete with tunnels, a dry creek bed and undulations that children clamber around, and play games that they create rather than have created for them.

Being an unfenced public school, it shares the space with the neighbourhood after school hours and on the weekends, making the school more secure.

At nearby Ainslie Primary School there are now two so-called 'play pods' - shipping containers packed with things such as milk crates, crutches and loose wheels. The contents are neither entirely safe nor totally dangerous.

With children as young as six about to be subject to national tests on what they've learnt, play has never been more important. Unlike tests in which there are right answers, undirected play is open, not closed. It allows children to develop their own rules and to learn at their own rates. It actually helps them become smart.

Play, unmediated by rules or …