Sunday, 23 January 2011
Obesity Interactive Next?
Have you heard of Alcohol Interactive? I doubt if you'll find any information on Google so I have to trust the information given in today's Scotland on Sunday.
Alcohol Interactive is role play for ten to eleven years olds concerning, of course, alcohol. A couple of students from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh have been successful in receiving funding for a trial in primary schools throughout Scotland.
It encourages young children to act out the roles of drunks to 'educate them about acceptable levels of drinking'. Kirsty Hunt, one of the developers of the project, said: 'children were encouraged to act out the parts of both sober and drunk adults in a series of common drinking scenarios - from family weddings to Hogmanay - and then discuss the issues raised by them'.
"We used different methods to encourage children to feed back their understanding of alcohol while also helping them to learn about what is socially acceptable and what behaviours can lead to negative situations."
The Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (now known as Children 1st) don't seem too keen and neither do Alcohol Focus Scotland, but they're not protesting. They should be shouting from the rooftops at this exploitation of young children and insisting it is stopped right now.
As anyone who has ever been involved in teaching or participating in role play (with adults and/or children) knows, these occasions can produce far many more questions than answers and also negatively affect some of those who take part.
The project was assessed by Irvine Allan, a lecturer in drama:
The feedback from participating schools was excellent with teachers very clearly seeing the benefits of the project. I am extremely proud of what these two students have achieved and even since graduating they have continued to work with QMU's Alcohol Research Group to identify how they can further develop this important project for the benefit of the local community and ultimately society as a whole."
How can the project be assessed in only a matter of months? The effectiveness of this will not become apparent for years. Once these 10 and 11 year-olds reach 25 and are re-questioned, then and only then will a clear picture emerge. I would have no objection to a 10-year trial taking place in one or two schools but to roll it out through all Scottish primaries is foolish.
What's next? Smoking Interactive? Obesity Interactive? Save the Planet and Damn the Elderly Interactive?
My fury knows no bounds about this as I consider these children are being manipulated to suit the wishes of the Righteous. Children can be taught about the dangers of alcohol by other means such as video aimed at their age groups. To use role play, which is an intense medium, with such young children for this subject is completely inappropriate and could well do far more harm than good.
Why are our taxes being spent on this when more and more children are moving to secondary schools unable to do simple arithmetic or read a simple children's book? Fifty years ago - I make no apology for going back to my own school days - any child who didn't meet the required standards of the 3Rs, repeated Primary 7 until they did.
Now secondary school teachers will have pupils who perhaps haven't mastered the basics of education yet they'll be able to show how to be drunk and reel off the dangers of alcohol in the way we used to reel off our times tables.