A lot’s been written and spoken about comparing your child to others, whether their your own kids or other kids, we all know that it can be damaging to the self confidence of the child to compare them and their achievements to others. But in the real world, grown ups are compared to each other over a whole slew of criteria
- where you live,
- what you drive,
- how much money you earn,
- what you wear
I was recently listening to a radio call in show where after deputy PM Clegg proposed to start testing children at age five. One caller phoned in saying how damaging these tests would be to five year old children. The host of the show, as their job is, put forward the other argument that they will be tested and compared as adults so why not get them started now?If there is a child who is more advanced either academically or in sports is there really any harm to hold them up as a benchmark?
Is it really such a bad thing to aspire to be achieve as much as the highest achiever in the class.
Comparisons happen, I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it gives you something to work towards. I’m very passionate about education and I’ve seen that this competitive spirit has been taken out of our schools.
Being afraid to award those who do best and let others know they need to try harder has led to a continuous stream of mediocrity.
Perhaps at five years old is too early to start testing children. It’s true every child is different but then again are their circumstances. Some may be an only child with both parents at home who can give him/her a great deal of attention, others may be one of many children with a single parent who is working all hours. I feel at five years old a child doesn’t have the discipline and focus that an older child should have and needs more help to get them started along the path.I think rather than comparing our children a better approach would be to reward any high achievers and encourage the others to believe and want to aspire to reach those marks themselves. We could even reward improvements, like the most improved student or anyone who has managed to raise their grade by a level.The school I went to the children in the B and C streams pretty much stayed there, there was no promotion, they stayed in their streams. This pretty much led to no motivation to try harder. The government imposed this rather bizarre way of grading maths, according to sets, that is if you were in the second set the highest grade you could get was a C. So even if someone scored a hundred percent all they could get was a C. Why not let them take the same paper as the other kids in set one?
The education system at that time was so concerned with protecting them from failing that they never gave them a chance to succeed.
How you compare children with others in their class is useful to know where you need to focus attention on. I think though this obsession with comparing or not comparing with other children rather blurs the fact that we should all be comparing ourselves against ourselves and tracking our overall development whether we are adults or children. As always I’d love to hear your thoughts, please use the comments boxes below. Thanks for reading.
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