With Referism we also need Positivism…

22 Jun

This post was written as a guest post for Subrosa who has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here.

Being positive should be an imperative for us all.

The power of positive thinking.

Think yourself well!

Believe in yourself!!

Believe in your own strengths, capabilities and potential!!!

Easy to say but not so easy to do and even harder to deliver longer-term. Do pessimists outnumber optimists? As an optimist I have to believe that they don’t, but I wonder sometimes and when all is said and done pessimism and negativity have been drilled into us since we were very small children.

That’s a fairly harsh thing to say is it not? Well, I’m not suggesting that our parents are to blame, They should be, and are for the most part, our most vociferous supporters, although there are always exceptions unfortunately.  So no it’s not parents.

It’s school.

Wow. Major accusation. Teachers are now mobilising to find out where I live and come and sort me out. How dare I say such a thing!!! Well, firstly I have friends who are teachers and I know the time, effort and care they put into their classes. Secondly it’s not really teachers either although again there are exceptions. Thirdly, I was a wean/bairn (choose depending on your East/West orientation) for a few years myself and I was no angel and only a very few of my classmates were.

Think back to when you first went to school. How was it for you? How long was it before you didn’t want to go back? How long before you started badmouthing education in general? How long before you and your friends bitched about school whenever you were there or whenever the subject came up?

Weeks or maybe months I’d guess. So say you start school aged 5 and then you leave at 18. That’s 13 years of serious learning to be negative. I’d suggest that after 13 years we all got the hang of it and in fact we would probably have managed a First BA Hons Degree if one had been available and we wouldn’t even have needed to study or read a book or go to a lecture. If only all subjects were so engrossing and easy to comprehend.

The peer system ensures that negativity is maintained. Did you stand there with your friends and wax lyrically about how wonderful school was and how you just couldn’t wait to get back there and get stuck in? No? I thought not.

Of course there’s always an exception. In India, for example it’s different. There’s not the same type of bitching. Education is a prize in itself. The names of students who win scholarships, prizes or any sort of educational recognition have their photograph in the local papers and are revered in their community.  They may also be featured in the Indian version of Heat, appear on I’m a celebrity… or Big Brother. Okay the last bit isn’t true but you knew that. The Indian kids might, at times be negative, but not for long they need  to be positive and reap the rewards of a good education.

I was involved in a school project for five years, which helped me better understand the dynamics of schooling.  Students overcome the negativity but then peer pressure keeps them in it. I wondered how things could change. I didn’t come up with an answer. I did come up with a measurement however, which may be a useful indicator of educational success perhaps.

We would know that education was working and our children had bought in to it if we drove past a school before eight o’clock in the morning and there was a queue of students and teachers waiting to get in. They’d be waiting to get in because in the school they would have access to information, knowledge and resources. They would recognise the value of these and the value of making the most of the time in school to get as much out of it as possible.


We have this unique opportunity in Scotland and a moment to begin to shape a new nation. I’d suggest that our new nation does not have to follow what’s happened in the past or even follow the examples of other countries, which we may or may not admire. Amongst other things I suggest we promote positivism and in particular, helping our children to remain be positive as they can be as they go through their education.

If we could deliver that I am certain we’d have an outcome, which would impact positively on the confidence of the entire population of Scotland the New!

This post was written as a guest post for Subrosa who has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here.

If you enjoyed this blog article please link to me on Twitter account “@TediousTantrums”. I will then tweet you as more political articles in the same vein are published.

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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Education


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