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Archive for August, 2012

I dislike the discussion of larp as educational tool in Finland. The whole discussion of WHY also not-roleplayer-teachers should use roleplaying seems to be circling around the subject, but not reaching good points.

Let’s admit it. We’re not Denmark. Here it can’t be a popular hobby used as an educational tool, because it’s not really even a possible hobby for primary school kids so they won’t be excited to learn through it.

“But it will motivate them with all the not-sitting-on-your-desk-and-learning-from-book -way.” You’re welcome anytime you feel like, to check the school of this decade just to see your point is old-fashioned: There’re plenty of other activities that are actively used in the class rooms that teachers already know how to use, that already have ready, tested teaching material so on. And PC and tablets and all IT is just so cool that roleplaying will easily lose the contest against if it would be just because of motivation. 

What about the special kids? As we know, people have gotten great results with roleplaying with traumatized kids etc. Jupe can probably do that, but I doubt that roleplaying would be a easily learnable skill that will make magically the kids open up and heal themselves up magically. So before suggesting that, please check that you know what you’re talking about. Breakable people must be handled with care.

All drama is also so important and role play is one of fifteen basic types of drama, if we believe the grand olf Finnish drama professor Østern. Finnish Core Curriculum doesn’t say that much about drama, it has sentences like:  The pupils will learn to express themselves in a versitile, responsible way, and to interpret the communication of others.

So now we should come up with reasons why roleplaying is better or more efficient way of teaching than making plays, process dramas or dialectic exercises. One good reason of course is that it’s not a goal itself, like a play is. It’s something that can be used as a tool, so pupils will learn simultaneously mathematics, home economy, parts of speech etc. But it still lacks something, same can be done easier by process drama etc, where a teacher can monitor kids more easily, as the space is naturally more definite. Between acts teacher can also teach or correct pupils.

Now that I have criticized most reasons why there should be  more larping in schools, I will tell you my better reasons.

A| Because of transfer. It’s commonly known problem that stuff pupils learn in school is loose from their everyday life. They know what’s 50% of 10 apples, but they can’t count 30% discounts at shops. They know how to count area of a hyperbola, but they buy too big sofas to fit on their living rooms. Etc. The power of roleplaying in schools isn’t in the motivational stuff or learning new things more efficiently, but to transfer already learned stuff to every day use, by making games that reconstruct one’s normal life and how the knowledge just learned can be put to real use.

B| Because you can’t understand society just by reading from it. By a roleplaying game it’s easier to understand why people have done terrible things believing them to be good, or how people have felt when they’ve been hounted etc. It doesn’t have to be at the Kapo level to make people think.

C| Because of immigrants. As we’re trying to grow up in the multicultural country, understanding others and making them to understand our culture is important part. By roleplaying we can also break some boundaries, take roles that one’s culture doesn’t normally support and that way educate more tolerant and understanding pupils. Both from immigrants and old inhabitants.

So please. Stop always bringing Østerskov up. It’s amazing idea and place, they have great ideas that can be modified to fit here, but it can’t be brought here and after some point trying to copy their ideas here will do more harm than good. This time the wheel must be partly invented again.

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Ropecon is over and I’m still healthy, as I were after Solmukohta too. I know it won’t work like that always, but I happen to get these days myself ill much less often than before. As I still get out of breath in stairs, so it can’t be because I’m in such a good shape or anything.

I will now describe what I do.

Medicine
Two to three weeks before the event I start more actively to remember to take my vitamins daily. And remember to do so during and after convention too. If I get any, even a small flue, I will go to doctor to check it, and if needed, take antibiotics to remove the cause, so there’s smaller chance that any unwanted bacteria would be left on by body. Usually I exaggerate the length of my “sickness” a bit, so they will check the lungs, ears and cheaks (maxillary sinus) to see everything is fine.

I also take my daily lactic acid yogurt to keep my stomach more stable. During these events and weeks before one usually drinks way more often than normally and sometimes catch less sleep. Not maybe to get drunk, but drink one or two at least. And those you can feel the next day, so taking care of stomach makes at least me feel much less stressed.

Attitude
But more important part than chemicals, is one’s own attitude. I’ve done my best to take it easy. These conventions should be fun and even though it’s nice to feel irreplaceable, it’s also the attitude that leads to the stress. Half of the organizers I know are the type that run in circles, sleep under info desk and go on by caffeine. And it’s okay, if you enjoy it, during and after convention, but it’s not really needed. You can always find a replacement for yourself for half of the convention, usually you can just make your own timetables so that you’re free half of the event. Nobody needs you if you’re not there.

Before Solmukohta I had my SK-working hours, when I answered emails, wrote visa invitation letters, updated the home pages and so on. When the event was closer, I did it of course daily, but I always had time off so I could go to gym or movies, read a book, have dinner or what ever so that I didn’t feel need to think or talk about Solmukohta. I also at parties a couple of times asked if we could talk about something else, which worked perfectly, so my life didn’t circle too much around SK.

Participant of organizer, during the event just sleep as long as you can. You might miss 4 morning hours of convention and breakfast, maybe one great program item and those sandwiches that they still talk after three years, but you will get so much more from the rest of the convention. If you have to do something at 12, you can go afterwards somewhere to take a nap.

If you’re a program organizer, but not very experienced one, ask your program items to be at the beginning of the convention, then you don’t have to stress about it whole convention.

Learn to admit your mistakes. Okay, something went wrong, instead of finding publicly or privately the one to blame, just say you’re sorry and will do your best not to see it happen again. They won’t think you’re an idiot for that, but you don’t have to gather so much negative energy. Shit happens, so what?

Of course the whole taking it easy -thing is hard to learn, but I would point out that I get more our from the conventions this way and I doubt that the over performing doesn’t make it any better.

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