Teaching the important life skill of artful dodging

Teaching deceptiveness or real world skills? It may be both.

BBC News – Perse School pupils let off punishment for clever excuses.

Witty pupils at a Cambridge school are being let off for minor offences if they can conjure up quick and clever excuses for what they have done.

Mr Elliott, whose independent school caters for pupils aged three to 18, said he wanted to help create a “quick-thinking, communication-savy generation” and stated many pupils had risen to the challenge.

“Getting children to talk their way out of minor misdemeanours is a wonderful way of encouraging such creativity and fostering good communication skills.”

Sam Leith, an author and expert on rhetoric, said rather than teaching children how to lie, Mr Elliott was training pupils to “bend the truth”.

“I think it is a brilliant idea that you get the pupils to learn to be pragmatically witty and quick on their feet,” he said.

True. But a few issues arise with this. For one, people are often naturally gifted with wit or not. It can be honed by practice and learning methods but some will just be better at it than others. Second, can this be taken to far? Will you ALWAYS attempt to weasel out of a situation instead of ever learning to full-on face up to a mistake? That’s an important lesson to learn too.

  2 comments for “Teaching the important life skill of artful dodging

  1. November 24, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    This is nothing new. It sounds a lot like law school to me.

  2. November 24, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I’m not going to argue that lies are ALWAYS bad, but I will say that there’s usually a better alternative to lying, or even ‘bending the truth’. In any case, I’d be a lot happier if they were teaching ethics. Of course, in order to teach ethics, one would first have to understand ethics, and it doesn’t sound like this Mr. Elliot would be qualified to teach it.

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