Debate of the week: Teaching patience
According to a leading figure in the education industry, a culture of "instant gratification" is making today's schoolchildren harder to teach.
John Dunford, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, which represents secondary school heads, made the claim at the association's general conference last week.
Dr Dunford blames children's continual exposure to the Internet, computer games and TV for making teachers' jobs harder. He said: "Youngsters live in a world dominated by reality television and celebrities where success appears to come instantly and without any real effort."
It is true that children have more distractions than ever before and, furthermore, that they can consume entertainment on their terms: they don't have to wait for their favourite programme to arrive on TV when Internet players allow them to watch what they want whenever they want.
However, the fact is that children have always been difficult to teach. Before the days of TV and Internet there were still distractions to contend with, such as playing outside with friends or even staring out of the window during class. Furthermore, children are by their very nature impatient and this has always been true.
Learning a subject on a one-to-one basis can be demanding but excellent intellectual training: this is because tutees have to concentrate and participate in their lesson with all of the focus on them. Time well spent indeed.