Be ‘boring and predictable’, teachers told – and don’t nag

The TES is reporting that independent school heads have said teachers should be “boring and predictable” rather than trying to be “matey” with their students.

Former Eton headmaster Tony Little said that teachers and parents had a responsibility to offer “stability” to teenagers.

“Young people need to know where adults stand,” he said. “It can be deeply disconcerting for a young person to have a teacher who is unpredictable…

“So stability and reliability, these boring words, matter in the lives of teenagers.”

Leo Winkley, headmaster of St Peter’s boarding school in York and vice-chair of the Boarding Schools Association, said his advice to parents and teachers was that “the best thing they can do is be boring”.

“Be reliable, be consistent and be predictable, because as you go though the adolescent journey there’s so much change around, and the last thing they need is unpredictability…”

Speaking at the annual gathering of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents elite private schools, Mr Little also said that the “worst thing” parents could do in trying to build a good relationship with their teenage children was to “nag” them. He said the phrase “and another thing” was “the most counterproductive phrase” a parent could use with a teenager because it caused them to switch off…

More at: Be ‘boring and predictable’, teachers told – and don’t nag


Would you go along with this advice from Tony Little and Leo Winkley or do you have a different perspective? 

Any alternative suggestions for the most counterproductive phrases parents or teachers use with teenage children?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Parenting, Private Schools and Teaching.


  1. TaviaAllan

    SchoolsImprove Don’t nag advice is for parents. At recent open evening students said they appreciated teachers nagging as caring

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