Why is it Always the Kids’ Fault?

tristam hunt

The UK’s Educational Secretary, Tristram Hunt, has called for schoolchildren to be given ‘concentration lessons’, to fight the effects of social media and digital gadgets.

You know what this makes me want to do?

Confiscate Mr. Hunt’s phone for the day. See how he copes without his “digital gadget”.

I bet he feels naked without his “distractions.”

And it’s this rank hypocrisy that is endemic among educational ‘experts’. Here are a few examples of the prevailing double standards I am referring to:

1. They call on teachers to instruct children to become more resilient when studies show that children are far more resilient than adults.

2. They legislate against lunches that c0ntain cheese and yogurt and crisps when the average staff room often contains cakes and biscuits and lollies.

3. They become obsessed with ICT to the point where schools are expected to heavily integrate iPads and interactive Smartboards apps, but then complain that such technologies are causing our children to lose concentration.

Why do we always focus on a child’s lack of concentration and never on a teachers ability to engage? Why is it always that children have lost the capacity to maintain concentration and never that the teacher has offered up a turgid series of worksheets and unimaginative activities?

If you think the children of today are that much worse than you or I when it comes to concentration, attend a professional development seminar and observe all the bored teachers scribbling on their handouts and staring out the window.

And yes, watch as many of them will reach for their digital gadgets at some point during the lecture to catch up with any Facebook updates they may have missed.

Pure hypocrisy!

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One Response to “Why is it Always the Kids’ Fault?”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    What an insightful commentary! Perhaps it comes down to a simple thought. People, adults and children, want to be led not driven. So much of what happens in our schools today is driven. You can drive a car, take it anywhere you want to go and provided you don’t abuse it there are no problems. But a car is a mere machine. It does what it was made for and it has no opinion about whether it wants to go to then beach or to the zoo. Despite their different appearances and the price you paid for them cars all do very much the same things. People are different. They are all at different places in their life’s journeys. They think in different ways. Some seem to be way out there, so different that you see no possibility of teaching them anything. That is all because of our faulty view of what teaching is. There is teaching, and there is learning. We are always learning. We do not always learn what somebody else sets out to teach us. Therefore the best that the best teachers do is that they set the conditions under which it is possible for children to learn. Some do it better than others, there is no doubt. But if you really want to leave children behind, stop trying to lead them and start driving. This applies just as much to children as to adults. I believe in these days more children are being left behind because they are being driven, rather than being led. And it’s no surprise that teachers are being managed in exactly the same way.

    I’m somewhat deaf. One year my family gave me a watch for Christmas. It had an alarm that they had set for 4pm. I had no idea. I couldn’t hear it. One afternoon during a very boring and pointless staff meeting the alarm went off. I couldn’t hear it until the principal asked whose alarm was sounding. Even then I was mystified, not having heard the sound. I wish I had had a cell phone then with some interesting games on it.

    Latin lesson. “Duco” means “I lead”. “Educare” means to “lead out”.
    This is where the word “education” comes from. I don’t have the time, but check out the multitude of Latin words for “drive”. One is “urgeo” from which we get urgent. I think you will get my point.

    Finally, what is important is rarely urgent and what is urgent is rarely important.

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