The Brexit debate is no longer democratic

A simplistic view of democratic process is that it is about voting for what you want, but in reality democratic decision-making is far more complex: it’s about dialogue, and negotiation, and compromises both sides can live with. This is because democracy is founded on the idea that everybody has a valid perspective and therefore should have the right to contribute to decision-making – the aim then becomes a solution or compromise that satisfies as many of the interested parties as is realistically possible without compromising the central principle of mutual respect. “The Brexit debate is no longer democratic” の続きを読む

Real learning comes from curiosity


It’s my belief that we should leave children’s learning up to their own curiosity, because learning that comes from curiosity is true learning that they will remember throughout their life, whereas learning that they have forced upon them is shallow and soon forgotten. As an example, I want to reflect on my school-based maths learning.

At 16 years old I got an “A” in my maths GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education, a national exam in England), an exam that involved extensive algebra and trigonometry. Getting an “A” means that at the time I really must have learned the material, and yet now I can hardly do algebra at all. I can’t solve any but the most rudimentary of problems. “Real learning comes from curiosity” の続きを読む


(Read this post in English here)


例えば、私は16歳の時イギリスの公式算数試験で「A」を取った。内容は代数や三角法などで「A」を取ったなら解っているはずだ。でも今私は代数が解らないし、問題も解けない。2005年にイギリスの小学校教員免許を取ろうとしたとき、代数の知識は全くゼロから学んでいる状態だった。16才に覚えた内容を29才には完全に忘れていた。 “好奇心から学ぶ” の続きを読む

Computer Games: an early experience of competence and confidence

minecraft E 20per


For his birthday in January 2015 Boo decided he wanted Minecraft. In case you don’t know it, I’ll briefly explain: Minecraft is a computer game where you (along with other players) run around freely in a 3D world , building things and exploring – kind of like Lego if you and your friends could be the little Lego men and had an infinite number of blocks to play with (and an infinitely large bedroom). It’s a creative game that I was also really interested in playing, and once I installed it on our tablets we played together for at least a couple of hours every day. “Computer Games: an early experience of competence and confidence” の続きを読む



mincraft J 20percent

(Read this post in English here).

2015年1月の誕生日プレゼントとして、ブー(現在6才)はマインクラフト(以下マイクラという)が欲しかった。マイクラは3次元の世界で建物を 作ったり冒険したりするゲーム。例えるなら自分がレゴマンになって、無限のブロック(と無限の建物)の世界を走り回れる感じ。かなり 想像力を使うゲームなので、私も興味津々だった。誕生日で二台のタブレットにインストールしてからは二人ともあまりの楽しさにハマってしまい、毎日のよう に何時間もやった。 “ゲーム:実力と自信の体験” の続きを読む

Introductory post


Welcome to my new site. It’s a personal blog: I’ve got rather a lot I want to say, so this is where I’m going to try to say it. It’s hard to distill any clear theme, other than that I’d like everyone to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives, so I’m going to write about topics that hopefully work to bring that about. Education and childhood are probably the topics I know best, so that’s where I’m going to start.

I also like drawing, so I’m going to experiment with adding illustrations and comics to the posts. Actually the word “experiment” probably applies to this whole endeavor: I can’t even decide what language to post in – even this English translation (of this original Japanese-language post) is experimental. I’d like to share my thoughts in English, but my focus is Japanese (to develop my ability, and because I live in Japan) and having to write everything twice is somewhat onerous. We’ll see how it goes….

Since this is my first post, I’m going introduce myself. I’m from England, and came to Okinawa in 1998 after a year on the Japanese mainland. I spent eight years as an Assistant Language Teacher (originally on the JET programme, now I have JETlag…) which involved teaching communication-based lessons in elementary and junior high schools. I enjoyed this so much that I wrote a book about it which you can buy here. Nowadays I’m an part-time lecturer at four schools on the island: Okinawa University, Okinawa International University, Okinawa Christian University, and Okinawa Language Center. I’ve also worked at several democratic schools.

I live with my wife and two children, who may well feature in this blog so I’m going to introduce them too:

“Wonderwife” is Okinawan, and three years younger than me. She’s cheerful and positive and funny, and as such is very forgiving of my various foibles, for which I am eternally grateful.

“Boo” is six years old, loves making things (in real life and in Minecraft) and rarely stops talking…just like his dad.

By contrast “Gwiddles” (AKA “Gwiddling” AKA “The Gwiddler”) at four and a half still can’t actually talk (certainly not with any grammar). She has WonderWife a little worried that she may never learn human language, though I’m confident she’s just a late developer – I’m more worried about what she’s going to say once she finally does decide to learn to talk like the rest of us.

Okinawan Family Robinson
(translating the drawings from Japanese is also a bit of a task, again, we’ll see how it goes…)

Most of our weekends are spent playing in various parks and beaches around the island. When I can sneak a little freedom I go surfing.  And now I have a blog to keep me busy….

That’s all I have to say for now.  There might be more English-language posts coming soon, but in the meantime thanks for stopping by.




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