Friday, July 29, 2011

Do shoes help us learn?

This week the NZ Herald has capitalised on the school holidays to run a series of articles about schools providing breakfast for children aged 5-12 yrs of age and the paper informs us that numbers of kiwi kids attend school with no breakfast. They also inform us that breakfast is necessary for learning to occur.

In the same week we have had agitation provoked by the media about schools stating that access to technology is necessary for students to learn.

Various social media have picked up on this as well as radio and television.  I was intrigued to see a mention of the Manaiakalani project on Google+  provoke this comment from someone:

Hmmm. I live 200m from pt England school. First reaction is to witter on about the kids needing shoes before laptops... Or for the dairy across the road to stop selling legal pot substitutes.... (more online)

This has got me thinking about shoes.  When did the wearing, or not, of shoes in New Zealand schools become an indicator of anything, let alone students learning?

And for a 'showing my age' statement; 
"I didn't wear shoes to school in the primary school years and I turned out ok!" Actually, I did when it was frosty. My mother sent me out the door with footwear on most days, but it quickly went into my school bag.  Things changed at high school when shoes became a compulsory part of the school uniform, but barefoot and carefree was a common kiwi experience in primary school. What was your experience with shoes and school, and how do you think they influence student learning?

Below is a quick survey to find out about wearing shoes at school - and I would love to hear  more of your story through the comments below....


  1. Thanks to people completing the Google Form (survey).
    If you want to see the responses, follow this link.

  2. What kind of tool makes the shoes/laptop comment? I mean if they live only 200m from the school they should be easy to spot. Should send the kids around to their house to teach them something using the laptops.

  3. Hello! My name is Justin Cometti, and I am from Fairhope, Alabama in the U.S. I am currently enrolled at the University of South Alabama and I am taking an educational media class EDM 310. I have been assigned to observe your blog for two weeks and summarize my findings on my class blog by September 12, 2011.

    I wish I could have enjoyed the barefoot and carefree kiwi way growing up. Currently our public schools in Alabama require shoes and they have a pretty strict uniform policy for students K-12. I don't feel that strict uniform policies are necessary in a child's elementary school years. Do you believe strict uniform policies help or hinder student learning?

    Thank you very much,

    Justin Cometti

    follow me on twitter: @jpcometti

  4. Hello my name is Kayla Williams and I attend the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL located in the United States. As a part of an assignment for my EDM 310 class, I will be observing your blog and posting a summary of what I have observed on my own blog. You can find this summary on the EDM 310 class blog.

    Being from another country, I found your blog to be quite foreign and unusual to me. Growing up in the United States, I was required to wear uniform since I entered kindergarten. It is a normal part of life to me. So to know that there are children around the world who do not wear uniforms, let alone go to school barefoot sounds so out of the ordinary! I personally believe that enforcing a uniform policy in school is the best way for students to learn because their attention is not focused on what to wear or what someone else is wearing. Our society can be very materialistic so by forcing everyone to look the same (as far as uniforms are concerned), it provides less of a distraction at school so students will be able to have a better learning experience.

  5. Hello,
    My name is Brianne Woods and I am currently a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL in the United States. I am currently enrolled in EDM 310, and as a part of my assignment I will be observing your blog and posting a summary of my observations on my own blog.

    I think it would have been really cool to experience the barefoot and carefree kiwi way. From the time I started school until the time I graduated I was required to wear a uniform. Personally, I like the idea of uniforms. I think they are good especially for elementary students. Although I like the idea of uniforms, I feel as thought they have no influence on the education of a child.

  6. Wearing shoes TO school has absolutely no bearing on wearing shoes AT school. Most primary Kiwi school children I know, uniformed or not (including my own), take their shoes off when they get to school, stay that way all day, then carry them home either in their bags or their hands. And no, I don't think it makes any difference to their learning.

  7. Hi,
    My name is Ashley Howard. I am a student in EDM310 and I have been assigned to observe your blog for two weeks.
    I always had to wear shoes to school because I had a required school uniform. I think that it would be really neat to have experienced school with out having to wear shoes. I feel so carefree when I don't wear shoes. I always liked wearing uniforms to school because I never had to worry about what I was going to wear the next day. Uniforms are also a good idea because everyone wears the same thing and the students see each other as the same.