Have you ever weighed your child’s schoolbag? Well, I weighed my son’s middle school first-year schoolbag and it came to a hefty 8 kilograms on an average schoolday (some days, it weighs more).  My son already suffers from terrible aches and pains on his shoulders and upper back by Thursday each week… and begs for a massage at the week’s end. Since my son does not participate in any of the afterschool club activities, it is certain that other children are bearing even heavier loads with their gym bags and such. I worry about when my daughter will begin middle school since she is petite and smaller boned.

According to medical experts, the weight of the bag shouldn’t be more than 15% of the child’s body weight.

Concerns in many countries are being voiced over this issue, and in the Philippines a law bill is under consideration to limit the size and weight of textbooks. I think a law is unnecessary, but I should hope that Japan’s MEXT or education ministry will propose guidelines to schools to lessen the physical burdens of students in Japan.  Read more on this issue at the links below …
Solon takes up heavy schoolbag issue – Worldnews.com In MANILA, Philippines  It’s a burden too heavy to thrust upon a young child—a stuffed schoolbag, that is. Lugging around a bag as heavy as the child’s own body weight has alarmed one lawmaker who is pushing several measures to protect young students from the dangers of carrying overweight schoolbags. Pampanga Rep. Carmelo Lazatin has filed a bill seeking to limit the size and weight of textbooks. …A bag that weighs more than 15 percent of a child’s body is considered overweight

Recently, learning strategies and brain-based learning have been at the forefront in news as well as on our forum … there is however, a continual debate over contents vs. learning strategies, see article links below:

Facing facts: History students need to know them
In his new book The Making of Americans: Democracy and Our Schools, E.D. Hirsch Jr., argues powerfully that our schools overemphasize “learning strategies” at the expense of actual content.
Critical thinking? You need knowledge
By Diane Ravitch
THE LATEST fad to sweep K-12 education is called “21st-Century Skills.” States – including Massachusetts – are adding them to their learning standards, with the expectation that students will master skills such as cooperative learning and critical thinking and therefore be better able to compete for jobs in the global economy.
Student Learning Styles Theory Is Bunk
By Daniel Willingham – The Big Idea behind learning styles is that kids vary in how they learn: Some learn best by looking (visual learners), some by listening (auditory learners), and some by manipulating things (kinesthetic learners).
In local news:
More foreign students than ever (Japan Times, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009)

Inokashira Park Zoo celebrates 55 years of elephant Hanako


Elsewhere in world news:

Valerie Strauss: 8 Things I Learned This Week
One of my daughters came home from school with a backpack so heavy that I decided to weigh it. It was 20 pounds; she weighs 84 pounds.