I don’t know about you, but my experience of children and especially of teenagers is that the harder you push, the more they resist. They get suspicious: what is the agenda? What is wrong with this thing? It must be something pretty bad if they are so keen for me to do it. Like an early bedtime or eating vegetables, adults have a way of presenting things that are good for kids that suggests they are not going to be nice or fun – and conversely, they manage to limit things that are potentially harmful in a way that implies that, really, this is the good stuff. This is what we’d all rather be doing or eating.
We need to face facts: wagging fingers and nagging rarely produce enthusiasm in children. Nonchalance makes things more mysterious. Rationing makes things more desirable. Refusing access makes things more precious than gold.
When it comes to Maths and English, we need to dare to back off.
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