Children Were Habitually Praised
New reports into the state of general education in Britain focus on the spoken word, according to the Guardian:
“In many other countries,” he says, “the spoken word has a much higher status.” The tradition of English classrooms is for the teacher to do most, and sometimes nearly all, of the talking. Pupils are asked questions that are framed to elicit “correct” answers; they are not encouraged to engage in a dialogue, still less to think aloud, reason and argue. “Progressive teaching” was hardly an improvement on this. (Plowden devoted just three out of 1,243 paragraphs to “speech”.) Teachers asked questions which, though ostensibly “open”, were unfocused and unchallenging. Children were habitually praised, rather than getting any kind of useful feedback. Talk of either kind, Alexander argues, hardly deserves being called dialogue, and it would seem pretty bizarre anywhere outside a school.
Contrast that with France or Russia, where children are expected, from an early age, to talk clearly, loudly and expressively. In Russia, particularly, the child talks to the class as much as to the teacher and it is quite common for children to go to the front and explain how they have worked through a problem. The manner of a child’s response – the clarity and the articulation – matter as much as, if not more than, the substance.
(Talking loudly and clearly is more important what you are saying? But okay, kids should probably be taught to be more confident and articulate.)