Tenacity trumps talent in school: agency

Self-confidence and tenacity are more important in school than any innate talents a child may have, said the Education Agency (Skolverket) in a report released on Wednesday.

Tenacity trumps talent in school: agency

The report authors said it was time to abandon the idea that talent lay behind children’s success in school.

“It’s quite common to say that children with good grades are talented. But we want to question that viewpoint, Education Agency spokesperson Karolina Fredriksson told the TT news agency.

“We wanted to pinpoint that how children are taught can be very significant.”

The report on high-performing students looked at grades, gathered feedback from pupils and parents, and referred to international and Swedish research into what makes a child perform well in school.

The Education Agency report concluded that emotional factors were key.

“For example, that the child believes in him/herself,” the report summarized.

Enjoying school and having a good relationship to the teacher were also key ingredients of success. As was diligence.

The study aimed to find ways to spur on children who found learning easy, as well as offering support to students who learn more slowly.

“Students who have an easier time reaching the requirements set out in the curriculum should receive guidance and be stimulated to reach further,” the report authors wrote.

The report also found that the children who performed well in school were more likely to have well-educated parents.

“We have to compensate when a student doesn’t have the same favourable home environment,” Fredriksson said.

Finally, the report cited international research that indicates that talent is nurtured through education, rather than being a static personality trait.

TT/The Local/at

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Inquiry calls for free after-school care for 6-9 year-olds in Sweden

Children between ages 6-9 years should be allowed admittance to after-school recreation centers free of charge, according to a report submitted to Sweden’s Minister of Education Lotta Edholm (L).

Inquiry calls for free after-school care for 6-9 year-olds in Sweden

“If this reform is implemented, after-school recreation centers will be accessible to the children who may have the greatest need for the activities,” said Kerstin Andersson, who was appointed to lead a government inquiry into expanding access to after-school recreation by the former Social Democrat government. 

More than half a million primary- and middle-school-aged children spend a large part of their school days and holidays in after-school centres.

But the right to after-school care is not freely available to all children. In most municipalities, it is conditional on the parent’s occupational status of working or studying. Thus, attendance varies and is significantly lower in areas where unemployment is high and family finances weak.

In this context, the previous government formally began to inquire into expanding rights to leisure. The report was recently handed over to Sweden’s education minister, Lotta Edholm, on Monday.

Andersson proposed that after-school activities should be made available free of charge to all children between the ages of six and nine in the same way that preschool has been for children between the ages of three and five. This would mean that children whose parents are unemployed, on parental leave or long-term sick leave will no longer be excluded. 

“The biggest benefit is that after-school recreation centres will be made available to all children,” Andersson said. “Today, participation is highest in areas with very good conditions, while it is lower in sparsely populated areas and in areas with socio-economic challenges.” 

Enforcing this proposal could cause a need for about 10,200 more places in after-school centre, would cost the state just over half a billion kronor a year, and would require more adults to work in after-school centres. 

Andersson recommends recruiting staff more broadly, and not insisting that so many staff are specialised after-school activities teachers, or fritidspedagod

“The Education Act states that qualified teachers are responsible for teaching, but that other staff may participate,” Andersson said. “This is sometimes interpreted as meaning that other staff may be used, but preferably not’. We propose that recognition be given to so-called ‘other staff’, and that they should be given a clear role in the work.”

She suggested that people who have studied in the “children’s teaching and recreational programmes” at gymnasium level,  people who have studied recreational training, and social educators might be used. 

“People trained to work with children can contribute with many different skills. Right now, it might be an uncertain work situation for many who work for a few months while the employer is looking for qualified teachers”, Andersson said.