Can children learn to challenge authority?

Clio et cetera

Genericism is rife in the educational world and it takes many forms. One of its basic tenets is that the generic things we learn can easily be transferred from one domain to another. Common generic ideas include teamwork, critical thinking and creativity: people talk in terms of ‘teaching teamwork’, ‘teaching critical thinking’ and ‘helping pupils be creative’.

Yet I would argue that these are little more than platitudes. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

I remember once taking a group of boys who were rugby players on a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition. I had seen them playing rugby before and, although I know very little about rugby, it was quite obvious to me that these boys worked as a highly effective team. They had clearly worked hard over time to make their teamwork slick – the way they passed the ball and anticipated the movements…

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