"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Saving Young Children from the Testing Genocide

From the London Telegraph:

Just as we are all in a state of angst about Britain's depressed, underperforming, over-eating offspring, teachers are recommending that children should stay well clear of formal school until the age of seven.

The Professional Association of Teachers said at its annual conference yesterday that children ought to be allowed to delay the start of formal education, allowing them more time for play. Are they mad?

Or is it just possible that the organisation could be plugging this for all the right reasons, having seen at first hand the consequences of the present directive regime of pressure and performance targets on fragile, five-year-old minds?

Increasingly, when I have visited schools and met parents, teachers and child psychologists, there have been discussions about why our children have to start school so early. Raising the starting age is not a radical idea - many countries have followed the practice for decades and their children do not suffer.

American research recently found that children who had "teacher-led, academic lessons" at the age of five did not display "lasting academic advantage" over those who began later. Moreover, they were more likely to suffer emotional problems as adults. . . .

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