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Negative feedback or poor results in class cause more than a fifth of primary school pupils to ‘switch off’ from the lesson, TokensFor research suggests.
A survey asking parents to describe how their child would react in such circumstances found that 22.8% believe their offspring would simply lose interest in the subject.
The data, gathered by school tokens manufacturer TokensFor, also found that almost 20% of children would be self-critical and lose confidence, while one in 10 would believe they were right and the teacher was wrong.
The findings fuel an ongoing debate within the education sector about the role of competition in today’s schools. Some argue that a lack of competition and general ‘everyone’s a winner’ ethos may be setting unrealistic expectations for children in later life. Others suggest children succeed in spite of competition, not because of it, and that competition can actually harm productivity.
Amy Coghlan, sales and marketing manager at TokensFor, said:
“The issue of whether or not competition is of benefit to school pupils seems to split the teaching community in two. On the one hand, there are some teachers who see only negative effects from an environment in which there are no winners or losers, and where there may be a concerted effort to avoid singling out good performance. On the other, there are many in the profession who claim that children do not perform better in a competitive environment, and, worse, that such an atmosphere can lead to unwanted hostility.”
The results of the survey show that some parents are more optimistic about their children’s attitude. Around 21% believed that negative feedback would motivate their child to do better, while 16.4% thought that their child would seek help to improve.
Ms Coghlan added:
“What we can be certain of is that this long-running and fierce debate will not be resolved any time soon. Fortunately, the teachers I come across in my professional life are extremely dedicated and do all they can to put the children first. Sometimes the most heated debates come from a position of concern.”
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