Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Geography of Time

I was sent this movie this morning by my son who is at university in the UK studying Geography. The theory is that people mostly live in one of six main time zones: two in the past, two in the present and two in the future. One of the interesting things research has discovered is that the closer you live to the equator, the more present oriented you are - because the climate, seasons and so on are mostly the same and don't change over time. When I was thinking about places where I have lived I can certainly agree with that - perhaps it could even explain the Thai concept of everything having to be "sanuk" (fun).

Studies into the pace of life in different places by Robert Levine have shown that different cultures have different paces of life, even different countries and cities have different paces that can be measured, and that there are health risks that correlate with places with a high pace of life.

We are all born present hedonistic, and one of the (hidden curriculum) jobs of schools seems to be to take the present orientated children and make them more future orientated - or in some societies more past orientated. However large numbers of students are failing to succeed at school and the argument here is that in the new digital age students are living more in the present, in a world that they create, and as a result they do not fit in well with a traditional classroom which is passive and where they control nothing. This fits in well with my recent reading on autonomy and being self-directed: people who are overly managed are compliant but not engaged. Students who have little control or choice over their learning are similarly disengaged.

It's an interesting idea that understanding our own time perspective and that of others will help us to understand a little more of what motivates people.

No comments:

Post a Comment