Sunday, December 14, 2008

Teachers should high-five pupils to improve exam results

British teachers are being encouraged to give inner-city pupils "high fives" before lessons to boost their performance in exams. As part of a Government-backed scheme, they are told to adopt more positive relationships with children to get them more interested in education.

It was also claimed pupils should be regularly applauded by other classmates when they do well. Future Leaders, a training scheme for prospective heads of urban secondary schools, said all teachers should use American-style positivity to get the most out of pupils.

Sir Iain Hall, a former headteacher and national director of training, told a teachers' conference: "When your children come into the classroom, how do you greet them? "Whether it is a high five, it is touching a child's hand, it is shaking their hands - we are teaching our future leaders to stand at the classroom door and greet every kid who comes through it. [It's about] establishing positive relationships all the time."

Sir Iain told how he had been inspired by the move after visiting schools in the US. He also recommended a technique - picked up at a school in New York - in which pupils gather in a circle and applaud a classmate. "The headteacher would say 'John, we appreciate you', and everyone cheers John," he said. "It is getting that positive relationship where children can relax and think 'Somebody believes in me'."

Future Leaders is backed by the Government's National College for School Leadership, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and the charity Absolute Return for Kids.

The stance has been criticised by traditionalists who said teachers needed to keep their distance to create a sense of respect for authority.

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