fact or fiction redux

Someone was "asking about non fiction stuff like news or science stuff" with regard to when children start to "realize that some of the stuff on T.V., while not physically present in the room, could indeed directly involve them?" This was my reply:

Do you have a young child who likes to watch that sort of thing? If so, it may
be more helpful to observe the reactions of your own child than to look at
out-of-date studies of children living a different lifestyle with a much more
limited access to programming than your own child ;) Most little kids don't want
to watch the news unless it's the best way to spend time with a parent - and
"science stuff" is often too dry for a young child unless it's pretty heavily
jazzed up.

And then there's the whole issue of relativity in "non fiction" - endless
arguments are held on how this incident or that has been portrayed to change the
perception of "news" or "history". In the US there's an ongoing debate about how
to use our Constitution which stems in part from a disagreement over history,
and how to interpret history.

And science... ye gads, there are whole competing paradigms of scientific
thought in more than one area! What's real and what isn't on the subject of
(hmmm, which hot topic to pick...?) obesity? vaccination? evolution? climate?
electromagnetism? psychology?

On top of that, there's a little matter of human nature which adults share with
children - we Learn from a Variety of sources, including fictional sources. I
know gobs about the Napoleonic wars from reading cheesy fiction. I've learned
all sorts of things about science watching Star Trek - and so have my kids. My
daughter learned a lot about tidal waves by reading a book full of
fire-breathing dragons, and a whole lot about animal behavior from a series
about werewolves. Is everything she learned about animal behavior True? You
might as well ask if everything you read in a non-fiction book on dog training
is true - some of it will be repeated by other sources, some not, some
verifiable by direct experience, some not. That's a big part of how people
decide what kinds of information is trustworthy and which is not - not true of
false, because so much of that is relative, but worthy of consideration as fact.

Schools promote the idea that there's A history, A body of science, A cannon of
literature - but none of those things are true and people who are interested in
learning more will find that out, by looking for other sources of information.
Unschoolers get to do that from the start, not on the sly or for extra credit,
but whenever a subject intrigues them. Tv gets to be part of that process - part
of how they learn and explore the world - and it doesn't Have To Be categorized
by someone else as fact or fiction to do that. It's just one more source of

No comments:

Post a Comment