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Bring back school of hard knocks

Motivation should not be confused with fun, parents have told the pupil motivation inquiry.

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council warns: "It is important that children are not led to believe that life is one long computer game, interrupted only by Christmas and holidays at Disneyland.

"There are times when life can be boring, unpleasant, dangerous or scary, and it is important that children learn how to cope with these situations."

On home influences, the SPTC submits: "Parents affect youngsters' motivation but not always in the expected way. The over-ambitious parent can turn a child off, while the utterly useless parent can motivate the child not to copy their parent's lifestyle.

"Children may pick up positive messages from their parents and decide to follow in their footsteps, hence the number of youngsters who follow their parents into the same occupation whether medicine, the law, sport or theatre. Alternatively, children may feel that they cannot emulate their parents' successes and so they don't bother to try."

It concludes: "Education is essentially a human activity where the dynamic between the teacher and learner is critical. The important thing for successful learning is to get this dynamic right.

"Where the dynamic is detrimental, it is necessary to look not only at different teaching approaches but also, perhaps, a different teacher without anyone feeling that this failure in the teaching-learning process is the fault of either the pupil or teacher."

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