A question of confidence

31st May 2013 at 01:00

When we talk about the rise and fall of standards, it is worth remembering that high expectations are not imposed by teachers; they are imposed from within by children.

Children self-program. Improved results occur only when students raise their levels of aspiration, self-esteem and self-belief. Too much rhetoric from the UK government is aimed at teachers' role in raising standards, while they struggle to find a cure for the plague of exam pressure and hyper-stress inflicted on students.

In emphasising end-loaded memory testing to satisfy a political agenda, we take our eye off the ball, off the students, and off their innate needs and internal belief systems. The hothouse examination production line is the educational equivalent of factory farming.

Coursework used to make room for a more organic freedom of expression and creativity. All teachers will have experienced that magical moment when a child hands in an astonishingly thorough and creative piece of project research; a portfolio to be proud of. Why? Because they have engaged at a deep level with a topic of their own choosing. Because they self-programmed their own learning, and did so because they had confidence.

Education secretary Michael Gove promotes a one-sided view of our educational landscape. A "left-brain" view, full of local attention to detail but lacking a "right-brain" global perspective on what happens after the exams are over. Life happens next. And how prepared are our children to cope with that?

Paul Monaghan, Former academy vice-principal, now an educational consultant and clinical hypnotherapist, Coventry.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now