By Tim Taylor
Why do primary school teachers lie to their students?
In answer to this question we first have to ask what we mean by a lie. In the Chambers dictionary a lie is defined as:
- an intentionally false statement: they hint rather than tell outright lies | the whole thing is a pack of lies.
- used with reference to a situation involving deception or founded on a mistaken impression: all their married life she had been living a lie.
My reading of this is that lying involves an intention to deceive for unscrupulous reasons. For me, the motivation is all-important when we are talking about adults ‘lying’ to children. If adults lie to children to deceive them for unscrupulous reasons, then this is reprehensible and has no place in a classroom (or anywhere else). However, if adults create an imaginary scenario or context for or with the children, with the primary intention of developing their learning, then the motivation is principled and it should not be called lying. I prefer the term make-believe.