Universities : Celebrity Culture Undermining Schools

LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) – An unhealthy obsession with celebrity culture is damaging students’ academic success, a survey of teachers has found.

Many pupils are ignoring career aspirations to pursue instead the chance of fame, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) says.

Almost two-thirds of the teachers surveyed said sports stars were the type of celebrity most pupils wanted to emulate while more than half the students wanted to be pop stars.

The celebrities students aspired to be most like, the survey said, were David and Victoria Beckham.

Many of the teachers said their students simply “wanted to be famous for being famous”.

Almost half of the 300 polled said pupils tried to look or behave like the celebrities they most admired, fuelling fears that girls particularly dressed in an “unsuitable”, or provocative way.

“We are not surprised about infiltration of celebrity culture in schools — it reflects the current media obsession with celebrity and the effect of celebrity culture on society as a whole,” ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said in a statement.

“Celebrities can have a positive effect on pupils. They can raise pupils’ aspirations and ambitions for the future.

“However … celebrity culture can perpetuate the notion that celebrity status is the greatest achievement and reinforces the belief that other career options are not valuable.”

Elizabeth Farrar, a primary school teacher from Scunthorpe, said: “Too many of the pupils believe that academic success is unnecessary, because they will be able to access fame and fortune quite easily through a reality TV show.”

After the Beckhams, the celebs the students most admired were, in descending order: Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard; actress Keira Knightley and “Doctor Who” star David Tennant.

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