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Hewett Academy defends talk highlighting self confidence of Donald Trump

09:23 11 March 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

He is the American presidential contender whose controversial comments sparked condemnation from leaders across the world – but should he be a role model for our children?

That is the question prompted by an assembly at the Hewett Academy which saw vice-principal Antony Little highlight how Donald Trump’s levels of self-confidence helped him rocket to the top of the Republican polls, despite holding divisive views and facing more experienced rivals.

News of the talk to Year 11 pupils was criticised by some people on social media, who raised controversial statements and positions Trump has taken since declaring his candidacy last June.

One Twitter user, @stan_f_, said: “The story about Hewett encouraging people to be more like Donald Trump actually just sounds like satire.”

However, the school said the assembly was to highlight the importance of confidence and was not an endorsement of his views.

Controversy has swirled around Mr Trump since he entered the presidential race, centring on his claims Mexico was sending rapists into America, his apparent mocking of a journalist with a disability, saying former Vietnam prisoner-of-war John McCain was not a war hero, and calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US.

The latter issue led to worldwide condemnation.

Despite this, he remains ahead in the Republican polls, and has won the most delegates in the race for the nomination so far.

Hewett Academy spokesman James Goffin said: “Donald Trump was discussed by staff and students as part of an assembly looking at the importance of confidence, with students themselves first raising Mr Trump’s name as the most well-known presidential candidate.

“It touched on how – despite views that many find objectionable – Mr Trump is favourite to win a presidential nomination ahead of other apparently more reasoned and qualified candidates, in part because of his immense self-belief.

“At no time were Mr Trump’s views in any way endorsed.

“The assembly also looked at research on exam performance that asked students how confident they felt ahead of a test where they had no prior knowledge of the topic, and that showed a link between confidence and performance.

“Using current affairs can be a useful way of engaging students in otherwise abstract subjects, and we believe our students are more than capable of reaching their own judgments on Mr Trump’s views – which they were already well aware of from news reporting.”

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

13 comments

  • Self-confidence, arrogance, hubris, aggression, charm, deceit, cunning, beauty: all are neccessary to succeed in the world today, but as human nature never changes, I suppose that's always been the case. I'm not sure "intelligence" is absolutely essential!

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    catharthis

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • The Inspiration Trust were very careful not to be seen to publicly endorse Trump's views but why were they only debating him and not the other presidential candidates? Would that not have a more reasonable and measured thing to do? Despite I am sure their very careful PR management (I'm sure the Hewett will have a newly appointed PR spokesman in its ranks) they have let their mask slip here. You only have to look to the top of the pile for evidence of this. The Dame herself is the very embodiment of ruthless ambition and self confidence triumphing in the face of a lack of real talent so it stands to reason that they will tacitly endorse Donald Trump. It's not exactly a great message to be sending out to the students however. I doubt if Bernie Sanders would get a mention in one of their debates. Go figure.

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    Nick Collins

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • Try again. The articles says quite clearly that the assembly was to highlight the importance of confidence and not an endorsement of his views. So polls and comments about role models are not entirely appropriate!

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    andy

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • The talk appears to be about style over substance and how it is possible to be successful without any logical reason. It does seem to hold this man up as a role model and he is probably a safe example to use as he is not a UK politician. I suspect Putin could also be used. Trump inherited wealth but that wealth has decreased under his management so he is not a very good businessman. I like Daisy's points that it is easier to take risks if you have something to fall back on, I would also add it is easier if you have nothing to lose. The desperate and the comfortable are the ones who will be our risk takers!

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    JohnnyH

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • Bransons confidence and self belief probably came fairly easily, as he is from a background of relative affluence and a public school education at Stowe-not exactly going to be destitute was he if Virgin went belly up. Trump also comes from a background of wealth-although of relatively recent immigrant origin and on one side of the family not exactly scrupulous in business if reports are to be believed and a consistent vein of shadiness all through his life. Trump has all the characteristics of a spiv. So neither are really apt as role models for Hewitt school pupils, nor are local businessmen who have left a trail of bankruptcies and debts behind them in their climb to success-no matter what their later philanthropic deeds or political involvement. But then the assembly was not about role models apparently-so I guess some posters failed the comprehension element of their GCE-GCSE English Language .

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • Year 11-that's fifth formers. 16 year olds, and the EDP wet hens don't think they are capable of dealing with an assembly discussing self confidence and its role in success? I doubt very much that any teacher extolled Trump as role model, but the issue of supreme self confidence is interesting . Public school pupils often seem to ooze self confidence and assurance and maybe it is this which has given them an edge over state school pupils in top university admissions and in high profile careers. One expects also that despots and dictators have not been lacking in self confidence so the key point as detailed at the start of the article is Trumps success despite his several or many failings. I see nothing wrong with examining this issue and everything wrong with those who are too thick to see the point.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • A far better role model for children is Anne Frank and an understanding of Anne should help in the understanding of Trump.Hitler's not a proper role model either,nor Stalin.

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    Peter Watson

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • Yes, Truthy - that's exactly what came to mind when I read this. Leading through fear, spouting rhetoric, saying everything is 'good' enough times people start to believe it, removing the undesirables. Remind you of anyone? (I don't mean the little Germanic man with the moustache and the snazzy black and red arm band by the way)

    Report this comment

    JRedding

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • From what is written in the article, I don't see that they were endorsing Trump's views. Reading Jon's comments, one could equally use the same logic as a reason to discuss an issue which the article says was raised by a student. There is nothing in the comments made by the Hewitt School to lead to the conclusions and analysis stated by Jon. There are many other leaders prominent in the world that people feel are objectionable - should they also be excluded (censored) from a debate? I am not a Trump supporter but he does appear to be attracting many millions of Americans to vote for him and could win the presidential election. If so, would Jon seek to ban him from UK media and refuse to have anything to do with America? What limit would you want to impose on free speech?

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    andy

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • Donald Trump is being increasingly portrayed as the new HitlerBoogy manwhatever negative attributes the media can conjure up. I don't support Donald Trump but this HUGE campaign to discredit him with out of context comments and mocking him for things like his appearance demonstrates our failures more than his. If I'm told someone is stupid and racist and horrible i will ask "okay what makes you say that?" and you dig through the context and find its misplaced judgement or because they've been told that instead of working it out themselves its pretty annoying. I've not met many people (even though I'm sure there are) who can make a good argument as to whats wrong with Donald Trump but I've met a lot who will instantly say something bad and mock him, spouting "hes stupid" (well no hes actually very successful and regardless of his tactics they're working), hes racist (well no banning muslims isn't a race its a religious belief that any race can subscribe too) he looks stupid (great so we measure people on how they look rather than the quality of their produce...... ) The man clearly has confidence and there is always something of a lesson to be taken from famous influential people regardless of the views, we don't refuse to do history lessons on the basic that Stalin,Hitler etc were very famous and therefore kids might see them as role models. No we learn about them so we can understand, which sounds like good education to me. We've become so wired into instantly thinking something negative when hearing his name, that any association to him his really upsetting people and then you add kids to the equation and "oh no, save the children" mentality seems to be kicking in. People really need to get perspective and a sense of proportionality.

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    Lindon

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • Regardless what your political leaning is and whatever your thoughts on Trump´s statements, positions or actions. It´s a terrible lesson about "confidence" to use a man who´s "confidence" is described as: “Remarkably narcissistic,” said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behaviour. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.” It´s a logical fallacy to argue that he is where he is due to confidence, it is more about a zeitgeist in the underbelly of the US, media framing and privilege. But I´m guessing they´re not teaching critical thinking at Hewett. It´s a dangerous lesson to make students think that being narcissistic and self orientated is the route to success when all data shows the future of work is about your ability to collaborate, empathise and unite. Trump is the antithesis of that and therefore a bad lesson in role model for confidence.

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    Jon Harman

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • Well connected leadership that is constantly spouting rhetoric to people unhappy with the current situation, backed by a slick PR machine which throws money around like there is no tomorrow. However, lets leave that aside and deal with Donald Trump shall we? If IT ran the campaign he might already know the outcome. (waits for comment to be deleted)

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    TheTruth

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • You couldn't make it up... Why not use someone like Sir Richard Branson who had the confidence and self belief to set up his own successful company and is respected. No instead they chose someone who is a racist bigot a real danger to the world. Lies about his own wealth and installs fear. Yeah nice one IT nice one...... What is next on your agenda?

    Report this comment

    nobbly1

    Friday, March 11, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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