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The Origin Of Shopping Malls (via Origin Of Everything)

Ten minutes of video about why all shopping centres look the same, along with a bit of lead-up information.
Turns out suburbs and teenagers have something to do with it. And some guy named ‘Gruen.’
US in origin, but since similar developments occurred in Australia roughly around the same time the information seems to ring true.
And rows of shops pointing out with car parks in front of them are ‘extroverted,’ which must be why I prefer parking and going inside to a more ‘introverted’ experience.


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The Myth of ‘Learning Styles’ (via Olga Zhazan at The Atlantic)

The Atlantic is a print and online journal that deals with culture and politics.
This article about people having different learning styles (i.e. visual or aural), a proposition that simply entered public consciousness as truth a decade or two ago, has had profound impacts for teachers and communicators.
The substance of the article is the concept of people being able learn more effectively through the means that is most suited to them is not proven and doesn’t hold true when tested.
The rise of the proposition has more to do with individualism and self-esteem philosophies than effective education.
Just because you prefer a particular means of information communication, it does not necessarily follow that that particular means is actually most effective in every situation.

[a] study published last year in the British Journal of Psychology found that students who preferred learning visually thought they would remember pictures better, and those who preferred learning verbally thought they’d remember words better. But those preferences had no correlation to which they actually remembered better later on—words or pictures. Essentially, all the “learning style” meant, in this case, was that the subjects liked words or pictures better, not that words or pictures worked better for their memories.

A takeaway from this is to focus not so much on the learner, but on what is the best means of communicating the information at hand.
There will be different communication techniques that are appropriate for different outcomes, but the outcome should be a primary determiner of means, rather than the preference of the learner.

Read the whole article online at The Atlantic.


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Lawlessness And Anarchy

I came across the following observation arising out the biblical motif of the book of Judges: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Israel was not beset by lawlessness. People were not paying no attention to laws. They did not see themselves as lawbreakers.
Israel was beset by anarchy. They were doing what they saw as right in their own eyes. People were following the laws of their own devising.
Perhaps we are seeing a time in which our own culture is moving beyond a conscious rejection of authority, to embracing themselves as the only authority they heed.


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“A System Of Perfectionist Teenage Girls”

This article in Melbourne’s Age newspaper caught my eye.
It’s an interview with Claire Shipman and Katty Kay authors of a book called The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know.
Part of the article deals with what they describe as a “system we’ve all set up is one that creates this army of young girl perfectionists.”
The rationale behind it is explained in these terms:

Not surprisingly, it’s a mix of nature and nurture. It does seem that girls’ and boys’ brains develop a little differently. Girls, especially at puberty, start to really have much higher emotional intelligence than boys. They did before, but this is the time they double down. It leads girls to be more cautious, and boys don’t have that. Boys get a big boost of testosterone, stuff that encourages risk-taking. You build confidence by taking risks and struggling and failing and eventually mastering something. You need to be taking action to build confidence. But the system we’ve all set up is one that creates this army of young girl perfectionists.
From preschool through university, it’s all about sitting still, colouring within the lines, doing more than expected, trying to please teacher. So they don’t take risks, fail, mess up. There’s this whole conversation about boys struggling academically. But that means in the real world they know what to do. They’re learning lessons about taking risks, so they’re more ready to try something.
We were really struck by this idea of how is this happening with young women. They are outperforming boys academically. Then they enter the work world, and their confidence plummets. They’re just not learning it’s okay to take risks and fail.

The takeaway is setting up mechanisms for encouraging both girls and boys to learn from failure.

Read the interview here.


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The Book Of Books: What Literature Owes The Bible (by Marilynne Robinson)

Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead writes about the influence that the Bible has had on Western literature.
The Bible asks questions, raises issues, and proposes truths about ultimate destinies that culture has engaged with in various ways. To be unaware of that link is to only hear half a conversation.

“The Bible is the model for and subject of more art and thought than those of us who live within its influence, consciously or unconsciously, will ever know”.

Read her article at Comment.


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Perfectionism Is Just Chronic Insecurity In Disguise (via Sam Kim)

Sam Kim writes about the social media fueled anxiety that seems to be eating away at younger generations.

Courtesy of Ed Stetzer’s blog:

In a culture based on shame and superficiality, the elephant in the room, which is the pressure to be amazing, is always staring directly at us.
If we truly want to win the hearts of the next generation with the gospel, we must help reclaim their identity as the beloved, because only perfect love can cast out fear.

Read the whole post here.


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Seventy National Stereotypes Debunked – Or Not (via Condé Nast Traveller)

This video from Condé Nast Traveller features seventy people of different nationalities saying what the most common stereotypical perception of their country is.
Some of them concede that sometimes a stereotype is a stereotype for a reason.
And sadly, we don’t all ride kangaroos. Though sometimes we see them hopping down our main street.
I’m a bit crushed to find out they don’t say ‘Hakuna Matata’ in Tanzania.