Now there's the scrub

14th December 2007 at 00:00
Teachers struggling to keep their classrooms litter-free could take a tip from schools in north-east Asia.

Next time little Timmy drops a crisp bag, why not whip out a mop and watch his eyes widen as you tell him about the pupils in China who, once a week, all get down on their little hands and knees to scrub the floors. Tell him that if he drops litter again - and perhaps here start tapping the handle on your palm to a slow beat - that next week this honour may be his alone.

If that isn't deterrent enough, you could offer to make him window monitor, a role recently created in a school in Beijing. There, every Wednesday, pupils clamber out of classroom windows three storeys up and, standing protectionless on floorboard-width ledges, clean the glass.

School officials say that not only do the school windows now sparkle but the practice also has the benefit of instilling "fortitude and bravery into our young".

Maybe we can look forward to swimming lessons in which pupils are literally thrown in at the deep end and lunch breaks are spent tarmacking cracks in the playground.

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