May 15: Teachers’ role is to identify talent and build confidence

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From: Jo Conway, Harrogate.

I WAS interested to read “A bit of competition adds up at school” by Sarah Todd (The Yorkshire Post, May 12). We are all individuals with our own talents and skills.

The role of an effective teacher and parent is to study children from an early age and find out what skills and talents they possess. These must then be worked on and encouraged to create confident children.

Only then will all children progress to hopefully achieving their dreams. All humans deserve the opportunity of becoming who they want to be and work in a job that they love.

We are not all pre-packed and identical. Each individual is unique. You truly appreciate this if you are a parent of more than one child.

When I taught I was annoyed when non-competitive sports days came into schools. All children had to complete the course and they all got certificates. What did this tell you about your child’s achievement?

I saw children who excelled at musical instruments playing at assemblies. Children who were artistic having their art work displayed and children who were academically able, well, they knew it anyway and so did everyone else!

My worry was what about the poor child who excelled at sporting activities. He or she was not able to have his or her achievements seen and appreciated. I found this such a great pity. Here was a child who needed his or her confidence boosting. He or she had the attributes to succeed, the resilience, the grit and the determination. Over and over again as these children grew up I saw these children succeed where others failed, through pure grit and determination.

All children should have the time and place to demonstrate their talents. Children and adults must be recognised and this must start in the Early Years through using resources that provide differentiation, challenge and some “value-added” for all children.

A child’s “premium’ can then be truly recognised and appreciated and built on so that they progress from “fumbling around on his fingers to blurting out the answer before you’ve even finished the question”.

If this “mindset” of providing challenges is available to meet 
all abilities and continues through primary and secondary schools, the major work is achieved and the prospects for our UK economy will be secure.

These are thoughts from a teacher who worked 
at a continually “outstanding” school.