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Marilee J. Layman

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10:14 pm: Mad Hot Ballroom
This was a fascinating documentary. New York City schools require fifth-graders to learn to dance ballroom and we see them from their disdain at the beginning of class to their exultation of winning or disappointment at losing. The kids, teachers, and dance teachers are interviewed which adds a lot to the film. One of the things that really stood out to me was that even at finals, there were kids who moved and smiled rotely. But there were also kids who clearly had the dance in them and would be moving as long as they could.

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From:green_knight
Date:September 17th, 2009 10:39 am (UTC)
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The really really sad thing about all of those project is that it doens't seem to matter _what_ they do. Horses.Chess. Ballroom dancing. Choirs. Fishing. Each and every project where someone takes the time to teach young people a skill and gives them confidence and something to strive for, appears to end in large numbers of 'hopeless' kids modifying their destructive behaviour and participating willingly; and the vast majority of them end up doing not just well at whatever they're coached at, but in life.
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From:mjlayman
Date:September 17th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure why that's sad.
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From:green_knight
Date:September 17th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
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It's this truth that is being discovered over and over and over again: things get really bad, somebody puts in the effort, and lo! the kids respoond. And nobody has managed to draw the consequence of proactively setting up schemes even when things are *not* all that bad and to give kids chances and opportunities anyway. It's not about _what_ you teach kids, what matters is that you take the time *to* teach them. And we don't manage to do that consistently at all.
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