Monday, August 07, 2006

UK: It's not cool to be clever

Teachers are being urged to stop using the word clever and talk about successful children to curb school bullying. Union leaders said hundreds of children were being targeted because they were considered clever, and some bright students were refusing school prizes for fear of being picked on by classmates.

Simon Smith, a teacher from Essex, told the Professional Association of Teachers conference in Oxford that being clever was simply not cool among today's children. "I have talked to various pupils ... and being clever meant that you were boring, lacked personality, were a teacher's pet and other things not polite enough to mention."

Wesley Paxton from Yorkshire told the conference that celebrity role models meant children no longer aspired to academic success. He said self-made men like Alan Sugar were proud of their poor academic achievements and others like David Beckham "do not give the impression of eloquence and intellectual capacity".

Ann Nuckley, an administrator from Southwark, south London, said many pupils in her school refused to come up on stage to receive awards. "I am ending up sending book tokens through the post because children won't come up and get them, which I think is extremely sad."

The PAT, which has 34,000 members, passed a motion that stated: "Conference regrets that it does not appear to be cool to be clever." Last year the conference heard calls from members to delete the word "failure" from the educational vocabulary and replace it with the concept of "deferred success".


Britain updates an old Soviet and Nazi system

Anonymous and baseless alegations by disgruntled and envious people will be dealt with how? No mention. Let's hope there is some consciousness of that problem anyway

A new scheme to tackle bullying and racism is being piloted in 20 Salford schools. The web-based project will enable staff and pupils to log in to a database and confidentially report any incidents of bullying - including the names of bullies. If the scheme is successful it will be extended to all schools and children's services and possibly social services and primary care trusts.

The Sentinel Anti-Bullying software being used will enable children to report incidents more easily and will alert appropriate staff so that the relevant support and action can be taken. This approach eliminates duplication and provides a single reporting base. It is aimed at encouraging more children to report any bullying or racism and giving staff and officials a truer picture as to the extent of the problem which will help them to combat it. The project is part of a national pilot and will run until the end of the academic year 2007.

Councillor John Warmisham, lead member for children's services, said: "Sentinel will enable Salford to meet national requirements in reporting racial incidents, but will go beyond this, combating all forms of bullying within schools and children's services, including gender and homophobic bullying. It was particularly important for us to have a mechanism that was specifically designed for children to be able to report bullying safely and easily. "The web-based access is secure and universal and is a medium which will appeal to children, which will help us to get a truer picture of the issues."


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