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Holding on to innocence

Wordsworth wrote that children come into this world trailing clouds of glory. It was an idealistic vision of innocence and godliness. But in the 21st century, clouds are gathering over childhood.

In her forthcoming book, Toxic Childhood, Sue Palmer argues that modern life is harming children and making them harder to teach. This will bring the grim satisfaction to teachers of having their observations recognised and documented.

The speed of change and today's multi-tasking society have not altered the natural pace at which human beings develop, or their need for human interaction.

Schools can make a difference, but only if they make sure they are child-centred rather than target-centred.

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