Child Genius - the representation of chess

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Mick Norris
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by Mick Norris » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:02 pm

David Robertson wrote:
Stewart Reuben wrote:All successful youngsters can face problems when growing up. That is one reason why so many eschew the state educational system.
Can this horseshit be allowed to pass? Is Stewart Reuben a parent? Do we have to take his prejudicial, opinionated nonsense seriously? Is he a fit person to promote the affairs of English chess, given such a comment?

Answer = No

In all cases
Nothing new in that conclusion, though :roll:
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:03 pm

There is something about the subject of child prodigies which often invites mass over-generalisations. For me, the only generalisation that works is that all child prodigies are - to me - very likeable.

Otherwise ... nothing.

Of course some parents seem to push their children onto the show, but not all. There is no doubt to my mind that Natasha did not want Oscar to appear for any reasons of her own, and I also rather doubt that anyone can talk Oscar into doing something he is not interested in doing.

As for private v state schools; of course not all parents withdraw gifted children from state schools because of bullying! Many don't withdraw at all, for many reasons - good public schools may not be nearby, going to second rate public schools is often the worst of thing of al (at least it certainly will not protect a gifted child from harassment from the less intelligent/ambitious), funds may not be available, the child might have good friends in the state school, there may be political objections ... To the extent that parents do withdraw gifted children from the state sector, my hunch is that this would be to do with the limitations of the school to stretch and challenge the child more often than bullying.

PeterFarr
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by PeterFarr » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:27 pm

"Likes" :D

A lot of good sense in that.

Arshad Ali
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by Arshad Ali » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:33 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:As for private v state schools; of course not all parents withdraw gifted children from state schools because of bullying! Many don't withdraw at all, for many reasons - good public schools may not be nearby, going to second rate public schools is often the worst of thing of all (at least it certainly will not protect a gifted child from harassment from the less intelligent/ambitious), funds may not be available, the child might have good friends in the state school, there may be political objections ... To the extent that parents do withdraw gifted children from the state sector, my hunch is that this would be to do with the limitations of the school to stretch and challenge the child more often than bullying.
One could argue they're two sides of the same coin -- namely, an entrenched culture of mediocrity. I think Stewart is making a valid point -- with the proviso, of course, that one has the dosh to send one's children to a private school.

As far as I know, most British masters teaching chess at schools are doing so at private ones. Why? It's not just a question of money, I argue.

PeterFarr
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by PeterFarr » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:09 pm

That chess masters mainly work at private schools is entirely down to cash, I would suggest - and no blame to them for that.

I think Stewart was just wrong to say that many parents eschew the State system for the reasons he stated - the numbers can't support it. Soften the phrasing a little and say that Private schools have more resources / capability to support very gifted children, and that is a reason that some go private, then it would be hard to disagree.

I think this 'culture of mediocrity' is a very sweeping generalisation and unfair to the teaching profession; I don't think it's true at all.

Carol Williams
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by Carol Williams » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:56 pm

"The numbers can't support it" - I suspect this is because most people don't have the financial resources to send their children to private schools and those that have don't spend the money for the fun of it they want to try to ensure that they give their children the very best that they can give them and they know that the state school systems does not give them that - the question is: if you have money does your child deserve more than someone who doesn't have money?

"I think this 'culture of mediocrity' is a very sweeping generalisation and unfair to the teaching profession; I don't think it's true at all."

Sorry but this is true and I speak from 1st hand experience. When our son was achieving higher than the average he was pushed to one side and told to read a book so that others could catch up with him. The Headteacher at his school actually said to us "You go to school even if you don't learn anything" How can that be right? What worries us more is that she actually believed it

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JustinHorton
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:25 pm

PeterFarr wrote:That chess masters mainly work at private schools is entirely down to cash, I would suggest - and no blame to them for that.

I think Stewart was just wrong to say that many parents eschew the State system for the reasons he stated - the numbers can't support it. Soften the phrasing a little and say that Private schools have more resources / capability to support very gifted children, and that is a reason that some go private, then it would be hard to disagree.

I think this 'culture of mediocrity' is a very sweeping generalisation and unfair to the teaching profession; I don't think it's true at all.
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Arshad Ali
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by Arshad Ali » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:17 pm

Carol Williams wrote:Sorry but this is true and I speak from 1st hand experience. When our son was achieving higher than the average he was pushed to one side and told to read a book so that others could catch up with him. The Headteacher at his school actually said to us "You go to school even if you don't learn anything" How can that be right? What worries us more is that she actually believed it
There are reasons -- large class sizes and stressed teachers who have to do a lot of unnecessary paperwork. Paucity of resources can be another problem. And state schools can't choose their customers -- in contrast to private ones. So disruptive and bullying youngsters are inevitable. And a propos "going to school even if you don't learn anything," it's making explicit a dark secret of one aspect of state schooling -- it serves as a holding pen where formal learning is often incidental.

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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by JustinHadi » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:55 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:There is something about the subject of child prodigies which often invites mass over-generalisations. For me, the only generalisation that works is that all child prodigies are - to me - very likeable.

Otherwise ... nothing.
This.

PeterFarr
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by PeterFarr » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:24 am

Arshad Ali wrote:
Carol Williams wrote:Sorry but this is true and I speak from 1st hand experience. When our son was achieving higher than the average he was pushed to one side and told to read a book so that others could catch up with him. The Headteacher at his school actually said to us "You go to school even if you don't learn anything" How can that be right? What worries us more is that she actually believed it
There are reasons -- large class sizes and stressed teachers who have to do a lot of unnecessary paperwork. Paucity of resources can be another problem. And state schools can't choose their customers -- in contrast to private ones.
Its not fair to use one (admittedly discouraging) example as a basis for a generalised claim that there is a culture of mediocrity; I can counter the example above by saying that the State schools my children attend get as good or better exam results than local Private schools - despite being non-selective. Arshad Ali makes important points though, and as I said earlier, Private schools do have more resources to support gifted children.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:18 am

PeterFarr wrote:
Its not fair to use one (admittedly discouraging) example as a basis for a generalised claim that there is a culture of mediocrity
Maybe not, but was that story about schools not having sports days because there will be winners a total myth? If that attitude is still around, chess would be discouraged because someone wins and the other player doesn't.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by Matthew Turner » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:30 am

"Maybe not, but was that story about schools not having sports days because there will be winners a total myth?"

Probably yes. Here is a related piece on school sports fields from Tim Harford
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... _sell_off/

PeterFarr
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by PeterFarr » Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:11 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:Maybe not, but was that story about schools not having sports days because there will be winners a total myth? If that attitude is still around, chess would be discouraged because someone wins and the other player doesn't.
The sports day story is hard to believe - probably one example blown up out of all proportion by the usual suspects in the press.

State schools in general have a very competitive attitude these days, simply because they have to due to the league tables. Whether this is a good thing is open to question; perhaps exam competitiveness helps to push out sport?

I doubt if you will find many or perhaps any schools that have an ideological objection to chess; the issue is about finding teachers able and willing to take it on.

Tim Spanton
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by Tim Spanton » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:59 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:"Maybe not, but was that story about schools not having sports days because there will be winners a total myth?"

Probably yes. Here is a related piece on school sports fields from Tim Harford
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... _sell_off/
Here is a report from schools supply company School Stickers:

Overall we found Sports Day to be alive and well in UK Schools with 98% of schools having one.

We are, obviously, very interested in rewards. Both the actual rewards and the reward process. 20% of schools only award the winners, 70% award winners and participation, 10% only award participation. The majority of teachers like to reward both winners and participation.

Sports Day policy is a challenge as all Schools have to balance a number of competing goals: They want to help motivate the sports starts of the future (which supports an argument for rewarding winners); they want all pupils to engage in sport and life a healthy lifestyle (which supports participation); and they want to support their school community (which suggests team rewards or competitions). It is a tricky balancing act. The absolute favourite answer was for schools to respond to that challenge with a mixed answer. Rewarding pupils for winning positions, but also rewarding all pupils for participation (with stickers at the event for younger pupils or certificates at the end of the day for older pupils), and ideally run a team event alongside. Those schools with houses passed individual achievement into house points – creating a team motivation.

Every school is unique and the right conclusion differs from community to community but overall the vast majority of teachers consider sports day to be an great part of school life. So the only real losers are the unfortunate 2% (c.500 schools) who don’t have a Sports Day.

PeterFarr
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Re: Child Genius - the representation of chess

Post by PeterFarr » Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:38 pm

Yeah that was my fault for wandering off onto "not chess" - sorry about that.

Maybe we chess players get a bit too precious about media portrayal sometimes.

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