Pampering “shy children”

There’s two things funny about this story in the Telegraph. First, the British apparently refer to “math” as “maths.” Ha, ha. I didn’t know that. The second thing is that these experts don’t know what they’re talking about. I was one of these “shy children.” I didn’t ever want to raise my hand in class–even if I had the right answer. As I mentioned in my testimony, I attended a private school from Kindergarten to 10th grade. I did just the amount of work required to get an A in my classes and no more. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, and yes, I should have used my free time to study more, but it’s the truth. When I switched to public school, though, I discovered something interesting: the classes were two years behind private school (or at least the one that I had attended). What did that mean? You guessed it: I stopped studying completely. I already knew everything that was being taught. Even without putting any effort whatsoever into the classes, I got straight A’s.

What is it I am trying to say? Children will only work as hard as they are pushed. It’s human nature. I don’t think I’m a freak. I’d be willing to bet that most students only do the work required to get the grade that they want. For example, a B student will only do the work required to get a B, and the C student will only do the work required to get a C. We have to push children to work harder. Classes have to be challenging. I do know people who enjoy studying and go above and beyond what is expected of them, but I think those people are the exception, not vice versa.

All this feeling sorry for “shy children” who are falling behind is only going to make things worse. We need to convince children of the importance of getting good grades, and they will rise to the challenge. We can’t stop there, either. Children need to learn the importance of learning. I wish I had studied harder while I was in school, but I was convinced that I would never use most of the stuff (which I don’t). Although I was correct that I didn’t need most of what I learned in school, I wish I had discovered an enthusiasm for studying the things I did find interesting like “maths.”

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