4th Unte Reader Jan-Feb 99

greenspun.com : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

4th Unte Reader Jan-Feb 99 Out to Lunch: A big meal and a long nap is still a way of life in Madrid By Joe Robinson To quote the author, "Birds do it. Cats do it. And Spaniards most especially do it-every day, in broad daylight." What an attention-getter! Robinson was referring to Spain stopping the world for a stroll home, a leisurely meal and a few z's. Grown adults-executives, teachers, civil servants do it from 1 or 2 O'clock to 4:30 or so every afternoon. According to Robinson, Common Market technocrats have informed the Spanish that this is not the way things will get done in the oft-threatened unified Europe. At this time when others view it to be a peak productivity period the Spanish reply with, "!Viva siesta!

Robinson claims that in Spain work operates under the command of life, instead of the other way around. Spain feels that no task is so critical that it can't wait a couple of hours while they attend to what they feel is more important such as eating, relaxing or catching up on sleep from a night on the town. Robinson reports that taking a long break in the middle of the day is not only healthier that the conventional lunch; it's apparently more natural. He said that sleep researchers have found that the Spanish biorhythm may be tuned more closely to our biological clocks. Studies suggest that humans are "biphasic" creatures, requiring days broken up by two periods instead of one up-till-you-drop "monophasic shift". Claudio Stampli, director of the Chrono biology Research Institute in Newton, Massachusetts suggests that the drowsiness that is felt after lunch comes not from the food but from the time of day. So there is a biological reason for siestas.

David Scott, an associate professor of recreation, park and tourism sciences at Texas A&M says, "We are an efficiency-oriented society perhaps being the dominant value in this culture. The faster things get done the better off we're going to be." On the contrary most Spaniards go home for lunch, or get together with family or friends for a glass of vino, and nod off afterwards. Unfortunately, Scott points out that socializing doesn't have a "yield". It's hard to develop relationships; those take time. The siesta lifestyle is rooted in a culture with values that are anathema to the ascendant economic order. Don't expect the rest of us taskmasters to adapt Spanish hours. However maybe a good compromise would be to put one quality-of-life item on the agenda each day. I would have to agree with Robinson's viewpoint that because life expectancy in Spain is two years longer than in the United States, Spaniards would have that extra life time for the additional output. I would prefer to socialize, eat, nap and live longer even though I would have to work additional days.

This end-of-the-school year period has me, and many of my colleagues, focusing our conversations on the topic of rest and sleep. Sleep debt, biological clock, circadian rhythm, insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy are all apart of our sleep-sick society. Getting enough healthy sleep has proven to be the single most important determinant in predicting longevity- and productivity. Rest is proving to be more influential than diet, exercise or heredity. But modern culture has become a study in sleep deprivation. Lack of enough rest cost us physically, emotionally and psychologically. We have learned rest has surprisingly powerful effect on our overall health, immune system to our psychological well being. I have seen first-handed with my students, colleagues and myself the many ways in which not enough rest can put us in harm's way, inhibit motivation and creativity, and rob us of the vitality that makes life worth living.

I have always thought that the after lunch "dip" which is experienced in school was due to food or lack of food. Spaniard has given more logic with more validity to the practice of mid-day regrouping. Siestas now make sense. I think that the Spaniards have demonstrated that productivity can coincide with their values. Or possibly it could be my personal values that it suggests to me that we could learn from their way of life.

-- Anonymous, May 10, 1999


Hi Patty, Ladd,and Tim, The meeting took place on Friday as you know and the results are as follows: You do need to include some evaluation in your research and some suggested ways are: 1.) How will your curriculum be evaluated? 2.) How did you decide what artifacts to include? 3.) What are your specific curriculum outcomes? (Student evaluation is only a part of this process.) 4.) A rubric needs to be developed on the last page to further explain your evaluation process. 5.) There is a MN Electronic Curriculum available on the MNCFL site under Grad Standards. These items need to be included in your proposal before submitting to Ed Lundstrom. This is all part of the learning process to make your research work the best it can be! Thanks, Mary Ann

-- Anonymous, June 06, 1999

Moderation questions? read the FAQ