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Addressing toxic achievement culture

A toxic achievement culture perpetuates the view that it is only through achievement that a child gains acceptance and value. Picture: Google Image Search

A toxic achievement culture perpetuates the view that it is only through achievement that a child gains acceptance and value. Picture: Google Image Search

Published Apr 8, 2022

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According to Wikipedia, toxic achievement culture is the subtle and often unspoken expectation that it is only through the achievement of this or that standard, that the pupil has value and is acceptable and worthy.

This culture perpetuates all aspects of life. We want to lose weight now, we want to earn buckets of money now and learners feel they need to get the best grades in the best subjects now or risk a dismal future.

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We asked Jackie Cook, chief operating officer of Teneo Online School, to weigh in:

1. Jackie, in your experience, how do we lay a solid foundation for our children’s success?

The first thing parents need to realise is that every child is a unique individual whose cognitive, psychological, emotional and physical development is determined by their unique make-up and circumstances. It’s very important not to compare children to one another. Love, honour and respect each child for who they are and what their unique abilities are.

2. How should parents and teachers deal with individual levels of achievement in the school set-up?

Most schools are geared towards creating norms and standards in order to make teaching more manageable. The important thing is to be aware of each child’s development and to measure their unique progress. Remember, if you can measure it you can manage it.

3. How can we support our children in the age of online schooling?

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Online classes are often quite intimate and online schools can be quite good at tailoring support for each child based on their learning styles and aptitudes. The key, however, is that parents must remain involved and interested, and regularly check on their children’s progress.

4. What are the effects of overbearing parenting?

If parents insist on straight As, it can cause anxiety, depression, burnout and even trauma in children. Instead, we should encourage children to measure up against themselves.

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What is the most important piece of advice you have for parents?

The gold standard of good parenting (and teaching) is to always protect our children’s self-esteem. Children thrive when they feel supported.

IOL

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Related Topics:

education

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