Boring teaching leads to unrest

November 15, 1996

DISAFFECTED school children such as those at the Ridings School in Halifax are not just a British phenomenon, according to European Union researchers.

A group of educational academics including representatives from France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and United Kingdom is investigating why children misbehave across Europe and what can be done to stop them.

The Fadiese (Formation Accompagnement du Developpement des Institutions Educatives des Systemes Europeens) project aims to collect information over the next three years on the attitudes of teachers and students with a view to establishing a European resource centre for teacher training. It will focus on relationships in the classroom, disaffection, teachers response to curriculum changes and science education.

Researchers have chosen to concentrate on science education because it offers easier comparisons across Europe than many arts subjects.

Charles Bowles, senior lecturer in science at Sunderland University and the project's science research coordinator, said science also showed particular problems with disaffected pupils.

"Italy and France have had similar difficulties to those at the Ridings School in the last two years," he said. "Science has problems because it is one of the areas which unless it is taught in a dynamic way can be awfully boring.

"We are trying to find studying points for teaching boring areas which can stop disaffection." Mr Bowles is also conducting separate research to discover whether A levels are in fact the gold standard of Europe they are claimed to be.

Pilot studies will start in 14 schools in England and France in April next year matching the physics Baccalaureat and A level.

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