Culture Watch: You absolutely have to read this article from Britain’s “The Telegraph” written by Allison Pearson. I picked it up when Kathleen and I were in London this summer helping produce the media for The Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary at the O2 Center. Essentially, it’s the story of a school in Lancashire that has banned naughty children. Actually, what they mean is (ignoring several centuries of compelling evidence) the school had decided there is no such thing as a a naughty child, there is only “unconditional positive regard”.
Please read the entire article, but if you’re in a hurry, here’s some bullet points that will make you realize why our culture is going down the drain pretty quickly:
– Teachers at the school (Barrowford) are not allowed to raise their voices, because it is “not respectful”. Faced with a wayward student causing havoc in a lesson, they must say something like: “You are having an impact on my emotional wellbeing.”
– Teachers can send a naughty – oops, slightly less adorable than usual – child to another classroom, but to avoid causing humiliation they are told to use the phrase: “You know I think you are wonderful, but your mistaken behavior shows me that it would be best for you to have some time here, where these children can help you to stop making that mistake.”
– And when a student gets kicked, punched, or otherwise hassled by other students, in this educational Utopia, a furious eight-year-old is taught to respond with my favorite line of all: “You’ve emptied my resilience bucket.”
What happens when these students grow up and have to leave their penalty free world? The Telegraph used a famous British illustration from World War II:
“Let’s pause for a moment and picture the global applications of unconditional positive regard. “Dear Mr Hitler, you have emptied our resilience bucket. Please give Poland back or you will have a serious emotional impact on our well being. Love, Britain.”
From now on, if you’re ever critical of my blog posts, I’ll gently remind you that you’ve “Emptied my resilience bucket.”
Any comments about this approach to teaching? Is this where the self-esteem movement has led us?