A School Finally Gets It & Doctors Seek Parents Change Their Habits

Students to learn about failure

Life skills: St Hilda’s pupils Juliet Kaard, Arabella Matthews, Mya Teh and Giulia Naccarato. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

 Elite private all girls school, St Hilda’s Anglican School in West Australia has stopped over praising their children and have decided to open up their children to lessons of failure and disappointment to prepare them for the real world post-school age.

They have decided to give them some tests where there is work that is above their ability so they know that they don’t know everything after all. Also gone are stickers and constant praise for every good little thing they do. Their reasoning is so children learn to not need constant praise but to develop in them the ability to take disappointment without becoming upset. It would also help end the creation of a narcissistic generation created by their elders. They get my full support 1,000%.

Over-praising meant children were less able to cope with disappointments they faced later in life.

She wrote an article in the school newsletter in response to parents’ questions on why their children were no longer getting 100 per cent on tests and homework.

She said research had found that children who received top marks could develop the perception that learning was easy.

“When they do finally experience failure, they are unable to cope with this feeling,” she wrote.

“Praising children for the 100 per cent or the A-grade develops the perception that success is linked to a state of being smart and to achieve that mark, students have been known to risk cheating.

“Giving students the label of smart does not prevent them from under-performing but may actually cause it.”

Heaping praise on students also gave them a false sense of their ability and led to a sense of entitlement.

“We want to give students praise for what they have control over,” she said. “They don’t have control over their IQ because that’s what they’re born with but they have control over how much work they put in and their perseverance.”

St Hilda’s is regularly in the top 10 schools on Year 12 league tables.

Ms Quansing-Rowlands said as well as teaching academic subjects, schools had to help students develop life skills, such as the resilience and persistence they would need to survive in the real world.

“What we’ve found now is that some children can’t cope with criticism or the fact they didn’t get a sticker for participating,” she said.

Social researcher and author Hugh Mackay said schools such as St Hilda’s were on the cutting edge of a new way of thinking.

“We’re beginning to understand that it actually damages children to constantly praise them, constantly tell them they’re special and build up their self-esteem,” he said.




Walking to school a lesson in health

The West Australian © Wesley College Junior School students Edward Boniface, Remy Hamilton-Ducroz, Charlotte Boniface and Lachlan Edinger walk to school. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Australian Doctors are trying to encourage parents to change their behaviour patterns and that of their children because due to media sensationalism and political opportunism, parents fear their children being harmed so they drive them to school. They also seem to think that their children can’t walk far so they get to school early to get to school as early as possible so they can park as close as they can to the school to their mites don’t strain their sensitive little legs.

So Doctors are calling for parents to walk their children to school. While I believe that children should be able to walk to school alone, far too many people are scared of the boogeyman and so encouraging parents to walk to their children to school is a good start.

Why are Doctors pushing for a lifestyle change?

It’s because Doctors are now seeing children who are obese with illnesses that normally do not appear until adults are middle aged if not older. Children are getting diabetes, cardiac issues and some children are needing hip operations because their bones are breaking under the weight of fat.

Parents are being urged to break their normal routine and walk their children to school today to help them form healthier habits.

In its 14th year, National Walk Safely to School Day promotes safe pedestrian behaviour, the health benefits of walking and reduced car dependency by asking parents and carers to walk to school with their children.

Wesley College junior school students Edward Boniface, 7, Charlotte Boniface, 5, Lachlan Edinger, 6, and Remy Hamilton-Ducroz, 5, will be among those walking to school this morning.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said many children would like to walk to school but busy family schedules and safety concerns increasingly got in the way, forcing parents to drive their children to school.

Dr Hambleton said walking children to school set a healthy example and let parents assess any potential dangers along the route.

He said it would help children enjoy simple outdoor exercise with a purpose rather than giving them more time to watch television or play with electronic devices.

“It would be great if parents or carers could take the time to make the effort to walk to school with their kids,” Dr Hambleton said.




Pedal power charges kids

Subiaco students Jamie Forsyth, Russell Teo and Alix Murray. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian.

Another program is seeking to get parents to let their children to ride to school. Getting kids back on bikes and allowed to ride to and from school is an excellent way for our children to get exercise and it’s fun fun fun. Children enjoy riding.

In the 1970s, four in every five students rode their bike to school.

Today, four in every five students are taken by car.

It is a trend Bicycling WA chief executive Jeremey Murray hopes to reverse with initiatives such as tomorrow’s Ride2School Day.

Mr Murray said a record number of schools would be involved in Ride2School Day this year, from Karratha to Esperance.

“Riding to school contributes to the 60 minutes of exercise recommended for children each day,” Mr Murray said.

“Research shows that when children incorporate physical activity into their school journey, they are significantly more likely to get the recommended 60 minutes.

“Students consistently say they would rather ride or walk to school than be driven.

“An active journey is a healthy journey and a well-selected route usually means a quicker journey that reduces congestion and the madness of the morning drop-off zone.”




So get your children out there. It’s much safer out there then the ‘powers that be’ let on.


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