Ask a teacher

18th July 2008 at 01:00
Q: How do you phrase in a school report that a pupil is stubborn?
Q: How do you phrase in a school report that a pupil is stubborn?

Katherine, London

A: Tempting though it might be to insert something witty, cutting and clever to capture what you interpret to be the "stubborn" nature of your pupil, you should pause for a moment and reflect.

What do you hope to achieve? Is the comment meant as a pointer to help the pupil or is it a "sign-off" after a difficult relationship?

We can probably all recall a hurtful comment by one of our own teachers. Did it in any way change you? Proceed with sensitivity. And please, don't be stubborn about this.

Heather, London

A: How about "lacks flexibility"? If the stubbornness is work related, then the pupil might "lack flexibility in their approach to study and may benefit from experimenting with different approaches".

If it is more to do with general behaviour, they might "lack flexibility in management of relationships".

"Determination" is another nice euphemism you could try, as in, "determination can be a strength and a limitation".

Theresa, West Sussex

A: A skilled negotiator, this pupil will join historic figures such as Churchill and Thatcher in the pantheon of those who never gave an inch. But while this quality might be of supreme utility in matters of state and make an indelible inprint on history, I'm afraid that in the classroom it makes your sondaughter a king-size pain in the proverbial

Mal, Ebbw Vale.

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