Fun and Games – Part 2. This Time It’s Serious.

Continuing with the theme of our recent post on fun and games – here’s a link to a TEDx talk on ‘learning methods’ – by a 13-year-old!

“Lewis Tachau is a 13-year-old middle school student and avid online gamer. In this enjoyable TEDx Talk, Lewis talks about how his favorite online game taught him not just everything he knows about World War II, but also how to socialize with his peers, and share his interests, knowledge, skills, and thoughts with others, and how that builds upon each others’ work.

“All in all this makes for a great educational experience, offering me a feeling of community, opportunity for co-regulation and training in self-regulation — a well-rounded education, if you ask me,” he says.”

Here’s an incredibly articulate and confident young person who clearly enjoys learning alone at home, who feels that his links with others through the Internet as as real as face to face contact, and who has lots of social contact with his peers outside of his home schooling.

This week we were able to spend some time talking with some young people who are fortunate to enjoy one to one tuition with a series of subject tutors in a very unusual educational setting, in which they also have opportunities for peer collaboration. We hope to write some more about this form of ‘personalised learning’ in future publications.


Overcoming Adversity

A few days ago, linking around on t’Internet, ‘playing with ideas’ as you might say, I came across a friend’s blog that features a video of the Pythons performing their ‘4 Yorkshiremen’ sketch. If you don’t already know the sketch (assuming you’re either British and/or you speak English) – how old are you?

The sketch consists of 4 grumpy old men (played by 4 anarchic young men) who try to outdo one another by describing their deprived and abusive childhoods.

You were lucky. We lived for three months in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t’ mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi’ his belt.
Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of ‘ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!
Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to ‘ave to get up out of shoebox at twelve o’clock at night and lick t’road clean wit’ tongue. We had two bits of cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at mill for sixpence every four years, and when we got home our Dad would slice us in two wit’ bread knife.

Most of us feel we’ve had problems and obstacles to overcome in order to get to wherever we are on our journeys through life. This week 3Di has spent some time in the company of some young people who really have had incredibly difficult childhoods and have suffered all sorts of neglect and abuse, from persistent playground bullying to serious mis-diagnosis by health professionals that led to inappropriate medication. [See also Ken Robinson’s quips about Ritalin and the ‘ADHD epidemic’ at 3.36 ]

Happily these young people are now being properly supported through education and through life by amazingly dedicated and caring teams that work for one of our leading childcare and education charities. We salute them all, and thank them sincerely for their warm hospitality.


Overcoming Prejudice

Followers of 3Di on Twitter might have been more than a little puzzled by our tweets on Thursday night that related to the footballer Mario Balotelli. Here’s an individual who’s found himself in all sorts of trouble as a result of the real difficulties he’s had in controlling his tempestuous emotions, both on and off the pitch. He’s been suspended and fined heavily by his club for misconduct and indiscipline, and it’s not been at all clear that he’d be able to acquire any significant degree of “emotional intelligence” and self-discipline.

The game against Germany on Thursday was a revelation. Not only was Mario supremely in control of his aggression and passion – he also played brilliantly and scored two memorable goals with a header and a shot of incredible power and accuracy. Credit where credit’s due.

What yesterday’s reports on the contest seem to have failed to pick up is the real nature of Balotelli’s reactions to scoring those goals. Here’s what the Guardian had to say –

Mario Balotelli, Italy’s postman, celebrates first-class delivery

So “Il Postino” has delivered . . . Mario Balotelli ripped off his shirt, flung it to the turf and flexed his muscles . . . One myth has at least been dispelled: the striker is more than happy to celebrate a goal, and particularly one this special.

The crunched explosion of a finish from Balotelli’s right boot, dispatched so ferociously beyond a startled Neuer nine minutes from the interval, felt pivotal. A sign that a player who can infuriate as much as he dazzles can flourish at this level.

The nickname that is likely now to catch on requires a fuller explanation. On the eve of this contest, Twitter had been awash with a quote attributed to Balotelli who had apparently been asked why he refused to celebrate his goals. The riposte snapped back: “When I score, I don’t celebrate because I’m only doing my job. When a postman delivers letters, does he celebrate?”

His reaction [to scoring the first goal] had been ecstatic . . . flapping his shirt as he charged after Cassano . . . and embracing his strike partner.

Dominic Fifield’s match report was, however, less than astute. After scoring that important first goal Balotelli was not “flapping” his shirt. He was very deliberately pulling it to his face in order to kiss the badge of Italy on it – as a clear statement that he considers himself – as the only black player in his team – as Italian as any of his team mates. Mario has suffered more than his fair share of racism throughout his life, including plenty of abuse from Italian ‘fans’. In making this gesture he was perhaps saying far more than all the well-meaning words read out before the match by supporters of the anti-racism in football campaign.

He went even further after scoring his second goal. Knowing full well he’d get a yellow card for doing it, he nevertheless pulled off his shirt and struck a pose in the middle of the pitch – displaying his body with a gesture that proclaimed “Not only am I Italian – I am a black man who is proud of his ethnic origins and his skin colour!”

Brilliantly done, Mario, in every possible way. And no – he wasn’t celebrating his goals. Scoring goals is just doing his job, which, as he says, is not a cause for preening, self-congratulation and self-adoration. On Thursday night Mario was making mature political gestures that were subtle, serious, powerful and deliberately very personal.


Philosophy Corner

To enjoy something far less serious, have a look at the Pythons’ ‘Philosophers’ Song’ and  also a gem from ‘The Life of Brian’ here:

“You don’t need to follow me. You don’t need to follow anybody. You’re all individuals.”


Overcoming Stress and Anger

And finally, back on the subject of games, fitness and wellbeing:

One recent study concluded that self-propelled motion in the open air, not in a gym or on a treadmill, “had a 50 percent greater positive effect on mental health than going to the gym… Walking, running, biking and other outdoor activities through green space lowered stress.”

Another study links outdoor exercise to greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression… just five minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and self-esteem.

And all of these outcomes correlate with greater philosophical insight and steadier daily productivity. Well, that’s the working hypothesis of the study I’ve embarked on this summer. Results await confirmation.


An Italian sports newspaper has defended its decision to print a headline featuring a pun on Mario Balotelli’s skin colour after it came under fire from an anti-racism group.

Over a photo of Balotelli celebrating his second goal for Italy against Germany in the European Championship semi-final on Thursday night, the Turin daily Tuttosport ran the headline “Li Abbiamo Fatti Neri”, which literally means “We have made them black”.

The new row comes days after another Italian sports daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport, apologised for running a cartoon featuring Balotelli as King Kong. Balotelli, the first black Italian to make a major impression at national team level, suffered racist abuse during his time playing in Italy before moving to Manchester City.

The phrase used by Tuttosport in its headline is a slang expression meaning to bruise, literally to make someone black and blue. Gianni De Pace, the assistant editor, said it also referred to Balotelli’s skin colour, but defended the headline. “It was a reference to him being black, but it is just a pun,” he said. “It was also because when he took his shirt off he looked like a boxer who bruises opponents.

“There are three sporting newspapers in Italy and we have to make an impression with language which has an impact, but no one in Italy will have seen this as racist,” he said.


About 3D Eye

Gary Foskett and Clare Blackhall are educationalists, writers and consultants. We work with schools and other organisations who share our vision of how schools, businesses, etc should work in the 21st Century. We also run courses and contribute to conferences - speaking about our three dimensional model of intelligences and how schools, colleges and universities can develop the full potential of all their staff and students. We also offer consultancy for businesses and public sector organisations to support staff training and organisational change and development. For more detailed information read our blog at or see our website at
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