The Mail is reporting suggestions that British children may lose out to their Asian counterparts when they reach work “because they are so mollycoddled in class”.
A new global league table of ‘character education’ – to be released later this year – will compare the performance of pupils in more than 70 countries in life skills such as team-building, problem-solving and leadership…
Experts say students in Singapore, China and Japan may excel at these tasks because their teachers expect them to take more responsibility for themselves and their learning…
Andreas Schleicher, its director for education and skills, said this was an area where countries in East Asia have traditionally given greater emphasis on values in education, which created ‘a learning environment with more responsibility on individuals’.
He said schools in countries such as China and Singapore could ‘possibly’ beat the UK in the rankings because of these traditions, but stressed that it was too early to say for sure as the results had not yet been compiled.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has already begun a drive to instil ‘grit and resilience’ by promoting rugby in schools – a move about which Mr Schleicher has reservations. ‘I don’t see any reason why rugby would be a better way of teaching character than mathematics,’ he said.
‘I think teaching character has a lot to do with how we behave, what behaviour we value.
‘I don’t think it’s an issue of an additional school subject – it’s a lot more about how we teach.’
…Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham, said a culture of over-protection could be stopping British children developing good life skills.
‘Woolly-minded educationalists have persuaded our schools that it’s a bad thing to tell students they’re not doing as well as they would want,’ he said.
‘By trying to protect them, you’re not giving them the experience of the hard knocks that are inevitably part of life. It can counteract character development.’
There a lot of ground covered here, not least the fact that the results have not even been compiled yet, so it is all speculation.
That aside, what do you think of the suggestion that Asian countries might be preparing their children for adult life more effectively because they create learning environments that place more responsibility on individuals?
Or, by contrast, that in the UK we have created an over-protective classroom culture?
And what of Mr Schleicher’s apparent criticism of Nicky Morgan’s drive to get rugby into schools to teach character?
Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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