The aggressive pursuit of personal success by adults is now the greatest threat to British children

The Good Childhood Inquiry by Richard Layard argues that “excessive individualism” is to blame for many of the problems children face. In an earlier Learning Lab post, I mused on the connections between individualism, the drive towards personalisation and Layard’s earlier work. Does the emphasis on structuring learning around how an individual wants it come at the expense of Layard’s more positive sum game in which we care positively about the well-being of others? The end result of which being that the only ‘learning outcome’ students are interested in is how well they do in comparison with their peers? Layard argues that, “Individual freedom and self-determination bring many blessings but in Britain… the balance has tilted too far.”

Perhaps a project where learners are encouraged to support each other and their assessment is based on the quality of support they provide would encourage Layard’s more positive sum game? Interestingly, Chris Jobling and Matthew Allen seem to be working on such a project 🙂

One Comment

  1. Chris … no so much “working on” as “proposing to work on”.

    I think that this “individual choice” agenda has become a political smokescreen that actually hides the fact that there isn’t really any choice at all. It merely moves the blame from the centre to the periphery. So that if you can’t get the health care you need or the education you want for your children, it’s “not my fault gov” (pun intended). Presumably if students don’ get the “personalised learning” they, as fee-paying customers of higher education, expect, they will blame their teachers and University rather then themselves.

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