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.

I'm raging.



John said...

I have been participating in Obesity Interactive for many many years and have not observed anything beneficial. Expensive, time consuming and leads to health problems. I did try to form a sex interactive group but there was a lack of movement

subrosa said...

John, I'm sure there would be a swift take up for your project here in geriatrics paradise. :)

Joe Public said...

"The project was assessed by ........., a lecturer in drama"

A qualified P1ss Artist?

subrosa said...

Quite possibly Joe. Honestly, I really do wonder at the lack of intelligent decision making there is within our education system(s).

Quiet_Man said...

I just want to be left alone to live my life as I want too.

Is this so hard?

I don't affect anyone else, I pay my taxes and yet I find idiots like this interfering everywhere I go.

BrianSJ said...

In 'The Culture Code' Rappaille talks about how we are imprinted in our early years. He contrasts French children who learn about wine as a matter of taste discrimination (can you detect the violets, the terroire etc) with US children who get no imprint and then associate alcohol with being drunk in their teens.

English Pensioner said...

Whether I wanted them to or not, both my daughters were well aware of the effects of drink before they were ten or so. Unless children remain permanently indoors and never attend any social occasions, it is very hard to avoid meeting or seeing someone who is drunk. We have a friend who's mother is an alcoholic, a remember one of my girls at quite an early aged asking about that "strange woman", and on another occasion, returning home late in the car, "why is that man lying on the pavement, is he dead?". Both had watered down wine available at Sunday lunch if they wanted it, the youngest preferred Coke and even now rarely drinks alcohol, the eldest likes a drink and but would never drink too much outside her home. This is what is needed, parents who introduce them to alcohol and take the opportunity to explain to their children the problems as and when they occur, without actually appearing to be preaching.

And when I was at school, we were told to go home and, in most subjects, try out what we have been learning at school today. So they go home and decide to give alcohol a try to actually see the effects for themselves! (Incidentally, I think a similar problem also applies to sex lessons in schools!)

Dark Lochnagar said...

Rosie, take this with the LGBT lessons across the curriculum, for children as young as 4, that I posted today, and we have an interesting combination.

Clarinda said...

I'm not surprised that the Children 1st charity are unhappy about these proposed dramatic vignettes. I doubt whether any real effort has been made to establish the ethics of potentially ridiculing (I don't suppose the 'acting' will be professional or subtle)of a significant proporton of the parents, families and friends belonging to the school register. I fear this pseudo-moral exercise will only serve to pile further humiliation, stigma and further hurt - even harm - on an already vulnerable cohort of children to little therapeutic or social avail.

I sympathise wholeheartedly with the need to approach the abuse of alcohol with a reasoned and measured methodology and range of actions. Children aren't daft and they don't need patronising by vacuous and crude role-play and the post-dramatic/traumatic discussion may only add insult to injury as the child returns home to the real life drama of alcohol abuse.

Puppet theatre has been effectively used in Afghanistan to shock and warn children about mines and other explosive devices. However no child is explicitly or implicitly stigmatised in the educational process. I dread to think what horror would be inflicted on these children if they were asked to role-play being blown up and killed. Role-play is not a benign mode.

School provides a captive audience for too many untried 'flavour of the month' fancies but alcohol abuse is far too serious a social problem to be jeopardised by ill-thought out strategies.

subrosa said...

Me too QM but it angers me my taxes are being spent on this type of thing when there are far worse social problems around.

Be warned. It'll be coming to England next.

subrosa said...

Exactly Brian. Some years ago I studied the difference in the cultures between the UK an Europe's attitude to drink.

Here alcohol is a taboo for anyone under a specific age. That's the problem. If alcohol was introduced as a part of living without hysteria then youngsters wouldn't need to get out of their minds.

You never see hoards of youngsters drunk in Europe - other than Brits of course - yet most countries drink as much as we do.

It's the old adage isn't it. Tell a child not to do something and how bad it is and guess what? They will.

subrosa said...

EP, I was given a drop of elderberry or parsnip wine well watered down at family celebrations from a very young age. There was never a hoo-ha but it was always explained that it was alcohol which could be bad in excess.

I also saw the odd drunk on the street who rolled out of the local pub at 10pm, but although they were frightening to a child they were never aggressive or threatening.

Unfortunately some people, regardless of how well their parents introduced alcohol became addicted to the stuff. I don't necessarily think that's a reflection on the parents, just that, back in those days there was little else to 'pick you up' as it was cheaper than grass and safer with a known label.

Auch EP, please don't mention sex education is schools. So much money ploughed into this and yet we have the highest STDs and teenage abortions in Europe. I really despair at how this is taught and many retired teachers I know do too.

subrosa said...

DL, do I have to read it? Yes perhaps I do.

I'm not looking forward to it though.

subrosa said...

Clarinda, eloquent as always. I do wish you'd take over this blog!

I'm sure you know that role-play is an intensive medium which can stay, even with an adult, for some considerable time.

Using it in this manner is bordering on abuse of these wee ones. There is a vast library of excellent material online which could be used to convey the message. Indeed some are in other languages but it wouldn't be difficult to buy them would it?

I think perhaps our Righteous are more left wing than many other countries. That's the problem.

Billy said...

Dear Dear - Alcohol - The biggest drug problem in the world and when they try to come up with ways to try and deal with it the "junkies" moan about it.

There is no worst problem in the world and to say they don't have the same problems in any other country is rubbish - it is getting worst everywhere.

The so-called "drug problems" are nothing to the alcohol problems but the people who drink somehow think they are different to these people. How anyone wants to stick any drugs into their body especially the poison that was developed for varnish and paintstripper, alcohol I don't know.

Drinkers, smokers, injecters, sniffers etc - all the same only some think drugs have got nothing to do with them.

subrosa said...

Well Billy, I make no apology for saying what I've said about using 10 an 11 year olds in this way.

I have experience of the power of role-play and used in this manner on children is utterly inappropriate.

Where you get the idea that folk who enjoy a drink think themselves different to others I don't know. Do you use salt? Do you drink coffee?

jacymock said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
subrosa said...

Sorry jacy, I don't do advertising.

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