Boring lessons 'are preparation for life'

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Teachers say children need more boring lessons to help them deal with the world beyond the classroom door.

Pupils needed to get used to the idea that life wasn't a constant "Disney ride", said delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference yesterday. "I don't have the energy to do all-singing all-dancing lessons every day, five-days-a-week, each term," supply maths teacher Zoe Fail explained, to loud cheers. "Children are not bored enough. They are over stimulated. Being bored encourages thinking skills and imaginative play."

Barry Williams, a lecturer at Hertford Regional College in Cambridgeshire, said that those who believed his teaching style was dull "just don't understand the nuances and subtleties of my lessons".

"When they say to me: 'Mr Williams, that girl is looking out of the window staring at a tree,' I say: 'Do they not recognise the advanced stages of Zen Buddhism which I have brought into my lessons?' I am in fact producing adults who will be able to watch party political broadcasts."

Teacher after teacher said that they believed their students to be incapable of handling the mundane aspects of everyday life beyond the television screen or interactive whiteboard.

Antoinette Lavelle, from Cottesmore St Mary's RC Primary School in Hove, said: "In some lessons the skills you are practising might be boring, but are very important in the development of knowledge, such as learning times tables or long division."