‘Reach for stars posters mislead pupils’: Teaching expert attacks ‘tidal wave of guff’ in classrooms

The Mail is reporting that Carl Hendrick, head of learning and research at Wellington College, Berkshire, has attacked the ‘tidal wave of guff’ in classrooms…

These ‘missives in mediocrity’ often tell pupils to ‘live your dream’ and ‘you can do it’ and ‘be all that you can be’.

But the glossy notices are ‘often reductively misinterpreted as “you can achieve anything if you believe”’. 

Mr Hendrick argues that schools should concentrate on boosting pupils’ confidence by teaching them well and providing ‘clear and achievable paths to academic success’.

Writing in a blog, he claimed that motivational posters ‘sit alongside a set of approaches that may well be doing more harm than good’.

But Vic Goddard, headmaster of Passmores Academy in Harlow, Essex, and star of Educating Essex, told the Times Educational Supplement he is a fan of the posters. 

He has one outside his room saying: ‘I am not telling you it is going to be easy, but I am telling you it is going to be worth it…’

More at: ‘Reach for stars posters mislead pupils’: Teaching expert attacks ‘tidal wave of guff’ in classrooms

 

See the original blog post from @C_Hendrick at: The scourge of motivational posters and the problem with pop psychology in the classroom

 

The final line of Carl Hendrick’s original blog is “As my old English literature tutor Prof. Chris Baldick once quipped in a lecture “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus and pop psychology is from Uranus.”

Do you agree, or – like @vicgoddard – do you think these kind of posters can play a useful role?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. Used sparingly they can be useful.  I used to tell my GCSE pupils just before an exam about the 7Ps:  ‘Proper Preparation and Planning Prevent Poor Performance’.

    But if overused they can incite cynicism (cue teenagers’ rolling eyes) or mockery.  I’m reminded of ‘Miss Snuffy’, the creation of Katharine Birbalsingh in ‘To Miss with Love’, who regaled her pupils with “Yes, we can! Choo, choo!” and inspired her Year 11 GCSE class (16 year olds) with “The Little Engine That Could”.

  2. MikeHaines20

    SchoolsImprove Take down the posters and put up children’s work – your walls are too valuable to waste!

  3. LeeCummins2

    MikeHaines20 SchoolsImprove are there secondary schools that do this really well. It’s something I know we need be better at.

  4. More opinions: “Writing in a blog, he claimed that ……..may well be doing more harm than good’.

    “claimed…” in other words – in his guesswork.
    “may well be”  in other words – he has no idea whether it does or not.

  5. More opinions: “Writing in a blog, he claimed that ……..may well be doing more harm than good’.

    “claimed…” in other words – in his guesswork.
    “may well be”  in other words – he has no idea whether it does or not.

  6. RachelAWickham

    MikeHaines20 SchoolsImprove or use as an ideas board. Recent work on Wilde created fab resource by students with freedom to own display.

  7. AlfredoNokez1

    SchoolsImprove Referring to the head of learning & research at Wellington as an expert has made me choke on my Saturday night CabSauv!
    T

  8. PHeadteacher

    SchoolsImprove Wellington guy hardly an expert. Wallsshould celebrate youngsters achievements and inspirational messages can only enhance

  9. PHeadteacher

    SchoolsImprove Wellington guy hardly an expert. Walls Should celebrate youngsters achievements and inspirational messages can only enhance

  10. PHeadteacher

    SchoolsImprove Wellington guy hardly an expert. Walls Should celebrate youngsters achievements and inspirational messages can only enhance

  11. WipeoutDave

    SchoolsImprove Interesting that it was just one person’s opinion without any basis in research and lacking any evidence.

  12. WipeoutDave

    SchoolsImprove Interesting that it was just one person’s opinion without any basis in research and lacking any evidence.

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