An unhealthy obsession with celebrity culture is damaging the academic success of British students, a survey of teachers has found, with celebrity couple the Beckhams the favourite inspiration.
Many students are ignoring career aspirations to pursue the chance of fame instead, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) survey found.
Almost two-thirds of teachers said sports stars were the type of celebrity most pupils wanted to emulate while more than half of students wanted to be pop stars.
The celebrities students aspired to be most like, the survey said, were Los Angeles-based David and Victoria Beckham, arguably Britain's most famous couple.
Soccer player "Becks" topped the poll, with more than half the teachers saying their students modelled themselves on the 32 year-old. In second place, with almost a third of the poll's vote, was his 33 year-old wife and pop star "Posh".
In an era of reality television "stars" and a media fixation with celebrities, a majority of teachers sd ceailebrity culture negatively impacted the aspirations of their pupils.
Many bemoaned students who "wanted to be famous for being famous".
Almost half of the 300 teachers polled said pupils tried to look like and/or behave like celebrities they most admired, fuelling fears that girls particularly dressed in "unsuitable", or provocative styles.
"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," Association of Teachers and Lecturers 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."
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard ranked third on the favourites list with 26 percent, actress Keira Knightley fourth (25 percent) and "Doctor Who" star David Tennant fifth (23 percent).
Other celebrities on the list included US heiress and socialite Paris Hilton (sixth) and Leona Lewis, a winner of Britain's "The X Factor" television talent show (ninth).
One primary school teacher from Scunthorpe, in the country's northeast, Elizabeth Farrar, 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."
Labels: Actor, Actress, Celebrity