Opinion / news: Children should see education as an opportunity, not a straitjacket

-An interesting comment piece published in The Telegraph, from a head-teacher, calls for moves to empower children, making them trust and believe in the power of education.

Peter Tait, Headmaster of Sherborne Preparatory School in Dorset calls for less emphasis on summative exams which can stifle curiosity and independent thought:

We need to move from a situation where pupils are being compelled into working longer hours and sitting more tests than almost any other country in the world, into one in which they are given a different mindset, that education is an opportunity that lies at the heart of advancement and fulfilment; something they want to pursue, not some straitjacket or artificial compulsion.

So what do we have: children being blamed for not working harder, cynical about what lies ahead for them; teachers being lampooned for the lack of effectiveness in raising performance and aspirations; schools sacrificing children on the altar of league table for their own ends. All of this is a disaster.

We seem to be looking everywhere and no where: the Far East, Australasia, Finland, as if there is some trick to it. There is not. Education is simple: it is about the effectiveness of the engagement, developing attitudes and a good work ethic, raising expectations, inspiring and facilitating ideas.

It is – and especially in this brave new world of technology – about setting students new challenges and the intellectual freedom to deliver. It is about engendering self-discipline; it is about the quality of what is delivered and acquired, not the quantity; it is about starting children on a lifelong journey, not subjecting them to a marathon, before their brains and bones are set.

Click here to read the full version of the piece via The Telegraph.

Image: Sherborne Prep School

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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