Thursday, 26 September 2013

Good intentions...

This Fox news report got me thinking about how important it is to consider all aspects of a problem/ solution to identify areas of positive and negative effect:

In this case, tackling childhood obesity is clearly a major concern and something needs to be done about it. Therefore it can be said that alerting and/or informing parents to the health issues of having an overweight child is a positive step towards educating people about better nutrition and exercise programmes.
However, is sending letters home the best idea? Doesn't it fall under the same sort of labelling that mental health statements can suggest; doesn't it put people into boxes - you're fat, you're not, you're fat, you're not...
Surely the fact that students are calling them "fat letters" suggests that it is already a point of ridicule within the schools, and at an age where an individuals value and respect is precariously balanced, is this going to cause more harm (eating disorders, low self-esteem, etc.) than good?

So, why am I blogging this?
Well, because of that fine (ethical) line between motivation and humiliation, to paraphrase the film clip title.

It has got me thinking that having looked at, and put in place, a range of ethical guidelines that my inquiry should follow, perhaps I could fall down at the 'best intentions' stage. I may have my students safety, well-being and interest at heart but who is to say that I don't create more, or different, problems by trying to understanding the current one?
I think this is where having a good network of peers, colleagues, and friends comes into it's own; by sharing, discussing and identifying topics from multiple points of view there is a better chance of foreseeing the unknown.

I look forward to commenting, sharing and debating with you all on blogs/ forums/ SIGs, and hope that you will engage with me and share your unique and insightful points of view with me.



Fox News. 2013. School 'fat letters': Motivation or humiliation?. [video online] Available at: [Accessed: 26 Sep 2013].

Durrant, A. 2012. Reader 3 The Networked Professional. London: Middlesex University.

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