Monday 10 September 2007

Happiness classes make children unhappy

I argued here that plans to give schoolchildren classes in 'happiness' were anti-educational. Now it turns out they don't even work. According to the Sunday Times:

Classes in happiness and emotional wellbeing, intended to tackle ill-discipline and improve social skills, may instead leave children depressed and self-obsessed, according to a new report.

The research, which draws on the findings of more than 20 international academic studies, describes the government programme in secondary schools as a 'large-scale psychological experiment'.

It finds little evidence that the classes, which encourage children to express feelings openly and empathise with others, lead to any long-term improvement in emotional wellbeing or academic success.

Carol Craig, the psychologist who led the research, concludes: 'A focus on the self can create an obsession with how you feel and can lead in some kids to depression'. Now there's a surprise.

Let's hope the report gives Ed Balls pause for thought and stems the tide of initiatives that risk replacing education with feel-good therapy.

(via Norm)

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