Is education always looking to far beyond the now? And is this the cause of the mental health issues?

I have been dubious of WWW/EBI for a while…maybe it’s down to my own education and my own way of learning and that leads me to be negative towards it BUT there will be more pupils like myself in the world today and I want to explain why and how it links to some of the things I teach.

So what’s my problem with WWW/EBI? It’s the idea that we are ALWAYS tell pupils that no matter what they do there is always more to be done. I am not against this for progress but I am against this as the only means of the communication from a teacher to a pupil. When I was at school I would focus on the EBI and the WWW would go out the window. It would feel to me like a slap in the face. It wasn’t…I know that logically, but my irrational anxious brain doesn’t work that way.

How many more of those pupils do we have in the classroom today?

What I fear is the we don’t let pupils live in the now enough. Having recently read an interesting blog about Buddhist views (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/a-buddhism-critic-goes-on-a-silent-buddhist-retreat/) it reminds me of how much all people struggle to celebrate the little things and how we could do this a bit more in the classroom.


I am currently teaching my son to ride his bike and it has been a real struggle for him to let go and have a go. Again this might be down to his personality but I also wonder if this fear of failure is set in the classroom where every time we give a WWW/EBI we might be say…”You tried your hardest and worked really hard but you’ll never get there, there is always more to do“.

So what can we do? Teach pupils to be mindful. Allow them to just have a WWW every now and again. If we keep setting more and more goals then surely in the end the pupils will just give up the motivation.

For example – you are learning to run a marathon, you are running with a personal coach who says “just run to that post”. You get there and then they say “right now the next post”. This works well as it pushes you that little bit more and is a good technique. But now imagine he tries this for another 50 miles! You aren’t going to keep going…you are going to resent them and the system and give up and go home.

I think we need to teach pupils to set internal goals. I think knowing how to do this and manage this becomes more effective than us seeing the issues and making comments. Self reflectors who look internally rather than externally can be very effective (and link back to Buddhism, if you look externally at what others have then happiness is hard, or near impossible, to find).

We need to balance our classrooms. I fear the anxious pupils in front of us could be worried about what they are going to be picked up on next. By no means do all teachers do this and many educators celebrate exceptionally well.

What can we do?

  1. Celebrate the WWW and leave the EBI off every now and again.
  2. Let pupils set their own targets – this helps pupils set and complete manageable goals and learn to look internally rather than externally (a excellent skill).
  3. Have lots of ways to celebrate (e.g. postcards home, class rewards, house points or whatever your school does).
  4. Use the word yet. Make sure pupils know it’s all about I can’t do it…yet! This is really important to let them know things need progress and work. Things don’t come easily and they will get there in the end. It’s the effort put in as much as the end goal.

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