Over-indulged schoolchildren ‘more likely’ to misbehave

A new report has claimed over-indulged children are more likely to be tired and misbehave in the classroom.

A study carried out for the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said both parents and schools were falling victim of manipulative behaviour from children and offering rewards to keep them quiet.

The Cambridge University research for the NUT found a “noticeable change in the climate of schooling” as some teachers offered incentives such as snacks or ‘credits’ towards a day off school in a bid to encourage unruly pupils to pay more attention in the classroom.

Steve Sinnott, the NUT’s general secretary, said the influence of advertising was having an effect on primary schoolchildren both at home and in class.

“Parents seem to be trying to cope by over-indulging their youngsters,” he said.

“Indulgent parents are struggling in a commercialised world to deal with poor behaviour on the part of their children and that spills over into schools, making it more difficult for teachers to cope with youngsters.”

He added: “A youngster who is being trained at home to get their own way by throwing a tantrum – I think it is pretty easy to see the impact that would have in the classroom.”

Examples of poor behaviour included a mother who struggled to get her five-year-old child to sleep at 03:00 GMT as well as a seven-year-old who smashed his Playstation games console in a tantrum before pestering his mother to buy a new model.

However the report said there was little evidence that using incentives within the classroom encouraged anything other than letting badly-behaved children win rewards for mere attendance of lessons.

“Motivation to listen carefully and courteously to the teacher or one’s fellow pupils rests on a desire to win a free can of cola rather than from a growing understanding among class members of their interdependence as human beings,” it added.