Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Oh dear

This teacher's blog post is a description of what home educated children are missing out on. I don't know how any LA can know that's a typical example of a school lesson and yet still threaten a HEing family with a School Attendance Order.

Also, I think I'd 'strop' if I had to spend my days subjected to some elements of this list of 'triggers' - wouldn't you?:

  • Arguing with them.
  • Enforcing the rules.
  • Reminding them of the rules.
  • Asking them not to interrupt you when you are talking to another child.
  • Setting work.
  • Correcting their mistakes.
  • Asking to see their work.
  • Looking at their work.
  • Talking to them.
I wouldn't mind being talked to or even argued with, but I'd find it very patronising and provoking to be constantly reminded of an externally-imposed set of rules, as if I couldn't be trusted to behave reasonably well without them. As for being instructed to produce 'work' to prove I'd learned something: I'd be asking them to explain how my learning might benefit from this, and if they constantly looked over my shoulder and criticised my efforts, yes, I'd be tempted to 'strop' also.

My sympathies are with the students and the teachers. This is not education. This is a sick parody of education that bears no resemblance to the development of intellect as I understand it.

Looking at the comments, I liked this one though:
"Once I'd reminded them I got paid anyway and started to read my book they'd sometimes demand that I taught them just to annoy me.

It made me wonder if there is some hope, after all.

41 Comments:

Blogger Baz said...

Crikey. Well I read your post, and read the blog.

Personally, I think the reactions of the teachers there is disgusting, particularly the way they refer to both children and the parents.

Still, there is one voice of relative sanity in the comments. Dunnno who it is at all ......

8:53 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL! Looks kind of familiar ;-)

9:02 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

That sounds deeply distressing all round. I know i wouldn't be up to it. My borthers girlfriend is in her first year of teaching at a school in Notting Hill, apparently with the class expected to do poorest in the country EVER.

When i think of her, full of ideals and a disire to do well for kids, stuck in that kind of warzone all day, i could weep.

9:10 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Merry said...

I'm ill, apologies for the typos.

9:11 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

:-( Get well soon, Merry! xx

And yes, it's incredibly distressing. Maybe she should take a good reading book and be prepared to use it, as that commenter suggested!

I see there's more interesting discussion on other posts there.

9:17 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Allie said...

I've read that blog before - and it is very depressing. What is the point of all that conflict? I think it is such a waste of the energy of those teenagers and teachers.

9:36 am, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Clare said...

How sad that they post such unpleasant comments about the pupils as well - I can't imagine sending my child to be taught by a bunch of people who think children are 'thick' just because they're refusing to conform to a ridiculous institution that makes no sense at all...'sensible' would be a more appropriate word to use IMHO!

Clare
x

9:40 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

I think it's a difficult one, because if you have to deal with such abuse day-in, day-out then it begins to change you.

My friend's partner works in an inner-city school - he has been repeatedly physically assaulted. A parent of a child at the school was stabbed OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL GATES. Well, you get the picture.

He has been to court with re. to the physical assaults he's suffered, there's no remorse, they appear that they couldn't care less and other young people laugh about it.

Clare, I'm sorry but I cannot excuse the behaviour of the young people. Yes they're being forced into an insitution that makes no sense to them - but that can never excuse the abuse etc. that they perpertrate against anyone (as other young people are also subject to such treatment). There is no way that such young people are acting in a 'sensible' manner.

My eldest son's arm was broken by such young people - and there was no remorse, they used to laugh about it, throw comments at him should we walk past. He was only 7 at the time, it took some 3 years of counselling and *still* it hurts.

I doubt the teacher thinks all young people are 'thick' - but when one has had to deal with young people who have gone past the point of caring (for whatever reason) then that does something to you.

I have worked on volutary projects with young people excluded from school (etc.) it was one of the things that helped push me towards HE.

They were genuinely interesting and capable young people, far less rowdy out of school (although they had their moments, including a rather amusing *knife incident*), but I'm under no illusions as to what bored (or generally unhappy) young people can do and am rather sceptical as to whether the dissolution of schools would address that.

To say that their disaffection is because of the compulsion to attend school is far too simplistic.

9:51 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

I just can't accept the idea of trying to force people to learn. As Daniel Quinn pointed out, schools "do a superb job of keeping young people out of the job market."

Seems like a totally pointless endeavour to me, in many cases. An expensive price to pay.

10:05 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Oh absolutely, I don't think that forcing young people to learn is particularly productive and indeed would be one of the people up the front cheering should schools be completely overhauled into something more like a 'learning centre' etc.

Although there would be potential childcare issues etc and of course, not every parent wants their children at home with them and for some children, home can be a living hell.

However, schools are not the root of all evil in this case (although they are a contributory factor).

It's almost like a different subculture where such behaviour is accepted - it's absolutely fine for your 4 year old to stand on the roof of your shed peeing into next doors pond and swearing at other children as the children a couple of doors down from me do. They're killing nextdoor's fish and skimming CDs etc. into our garden and swearing at my children. Their parents just aren't interested.

What would one suggest in such an instance? Or should their education continue to be a street education of beating up, getting beat up, drugs, etc?

School may be a contributory factor in such behaviour, but it isn't the sole reason. Abolishing school as we know it will still not address such social 'difficulties' and it is naive to think that everyone will welcome non-coercive support.

10:28 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"It's almost like a different subculture where such behaviour is accepted - it's absolutely fine for your 4 year old to stand on the roof of your shed peeing into next doors pond and swearing at other children as the children a couple of doors down from me do. They're killing nextdoor's fish and skimming CDs etc. into our garden and swearing at my children. Their parents just aren't interested.

What would one suggest in such an instance? Or should their education continue to be a street education of beating up, getting beat up, drugs, etc?

School may be a contributory factor in such behaviour, but it isn't the sole reason. Abolishing school as we know it will still not address such social 'difficulties' and it is naive to think that everyone will welcome non-coercive support."


Oh Nikki that's bad bad news :'-( I certainly lead a sheltered life. But I did spend my teenage years with destructive, disturbed people and was one myself, to some extent. The ones who 'kicked off' the worst then were children whose parents simply didn't care about them, as you say, for whatever reason.

That's the problem that needs solving, then? So what prevents a parent from caring about their child? It's surely the most counterproductive, self-defeating position for a parent to be in - I can't imagine any of them taking it up voluntarily, it wouldn't make sense.

10:38 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Right, had an Alpro choccy dessert and a think.

To clarify further:

How could a package be tailored to meet the needs of the most 'disaffected' (and I use the term loosely, because I have some *issues* with it as a label)

In my experience a more gentle, stand off approach, in a much smaller grouping with some discussion with the young people was a much more positive way of moving forward with them. However, respect is something that has to go both ways and one can aim to treat a young person with dignity and respect and still get treated like s*** in return.

One of the difficulties in providing the 'open' learning centres that I would so much like to see come into existence on a wide scale would be engaging some of the most vulnerable young people in our society.

There are people who are illiterate and innumerate - clearly the school system has not worked for them, but would any alternative be better?

Without supportive parents willing to consider their children's education would such illiteracy and innumeracy be addressed?

I'm not saying that such things should be compulsory as I firmly believe that children who are in the company of others who are seen to be reading and writing in a positive way will eventually be motivated to either learn themselves or seek to support to learn.

However, the concern would be where such behaviour was not the norm. Who are we to impose our ideals upon others? There is a sector of society who place no value on 'education' as they see it, although naturally an education (of sorts) takes place, but I cannot see the wider population as a whole accepted it as such.

10:46 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

With the exception of the homicidal and the suicidal, everyone wants to survive and wants their children to survive, so most people will make decisions to further those aims. If they're making decisions like 'I don't want to learn," and "I'm not going to care about my child," something fundamental is totally wrong somewhere?

"There is a sector of society who place no value on 'education' as they see it, although naturally an education (of sorts) takes place, but I cannot see the wider population as a whole accepted it as such."

I wonder what would happen if they (or their children) were given the choice.

Most people seem to see progress in terms of literacy and numeracy and they're obviously not the only kinds of important intelligence. Other activities are just as vital, aren't they?

10:59 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

"That's the problem that needs solving, then? So what prevents a parent from caring about their child? It's surely the most counterproductive, self-defeating position for a parent to be in - I can't imagine any of them taking it up voluntarily, it wouldn't make sense."

Sadly it doesn't really have to make sense, in some cases it just is. Some people are simply to caught up in keeping themselves 'happy' to worry about their children. Add to that going out to work and leaving children to fend for themselves, drug addiction, a new relationship, any number of things, including an uncaring family environment when growing up - so many, many factors that weave together.

So you get children in nappies being cared for by their 4 year old sibling in the street at gone 9pm whilst their parent is in the pub, you get a couple of children hanging around the neighbouring block of flats at gone 11pm because their mum has a 'special friend' over (one of a regular turn over of 'special friends') or a 2 year old wandering the streets with a mobile phone (in case she needs it) - and yes, every one of those examples I have dealt with :(

I know of someone who has had 7 children, the first given up to her parents to bring up, the next two volutarily put into foster care. The next one has been beaten repeatedly by her current partner who is a drug addict and has taught the next one down (whose around 4) how to roll a spliff (amongst other things - because quite frankly the fact that they smoke draw is really far down the list of other drugs they do). No. 3 has also been in care, on and off. Oh and they have a baby, about the same age as Ned, who apparently is a lovely sweet thing, but is largely ignored (the eldest's comment being it's a wonder that she hasn't been put into care, the mum 'doesn't like' girls...)

Oh yes, SS have been called repeatedly.

I'm at a loss really - but it's hardly an isolated thing.

10:59 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Most people seem to see progress in terms of literacy and numeracy and they're obviously not the only kinds of important intelligence. Other activities are just as vital, aren't they?

No, of course they're not, however, they are rather useful for living in today's society. As I've said though, it's a value judgement, because I am ever frustrated with why people would want to spend their entire lives getting drunk and watching football (for instance). I just don't class a 'survival of the fittest' street ed. as an Education (with a capital E).

I spent the minimum amount of time I possibly could at school in the final couple of years (my point emphasised somewhat by setting fire to a school hut, amongst other things). IMHO the two years that I avoided school were some of the most productive, education-wise, that I have ever spent :)

However, much of that was down to an interest in reading and a lot of time spent in shabby pubs listening to people argue politics (and dodging the odd flying chair).

It's not a route I'd particularly want for my own children as at times it was rather 'hairy'. However, my own experience is that I learnt better outside of school.

BUT, I think it depends a lot upon the individual and their motivations etc.

11:07 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

No, you're quite right. That's tragic and there are no easy answers.

It makes me wonder what kind of an upbringing that mother had herself, but it's too late of course to try to go back and fix that and anyway, how many generations back would you have to go?

I wish we still lived in the kind of communities that could help in those circumstances, where enough of the neighbours were like you Nikki, so that the children were not left to fend for themselves.

There was a similar family near our old house and their children would be in our house most days, being fed, played with, talked to etc. That's how things happen naturally isn't it? When one mum can't or won't cope, the others rally round.

11:09 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

To add - it would take quite some time to get school out of society's system. It would require a huge shift in societal thinking.

I think initially that offering a choice would not be truly a choice as people would be (possibily naturally) suspicious and therefore would probably 'go a bit mad'. It would take time for some parts of society to settle down and realise that it was truly a choice.

Erm, if that makes sense. Not sure I've explained myself well there. I can almost feel my husband poking me in the back and chanting 'Come the Revolution' - LOL.

11:12 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL! Yes I agree with what you say there :-)

Something's going to change soon though Nikki, because things won't continue indefinitely as they're described in that blog post, will they?

I guess it's just a question of which way the change will go - either much more, or much less compulsion. I can't see half measures making much difference either way.

11:15 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

It makes me wonder what kind of an upbringing that mother had herself, but it's too late of course to try to go back and fix that and anyway, how many generations back would you have to go?

Well, pretty much the same as her siblings (she's one of 6 and I know the other 5) all of whom are parents themselves and all (apart from one whose child doesn't live with him) are great, concientious, kind - basically trying to be the best parents they can be (and that's all one can really ask for, we're none of us perfect). None of them were exactly 'angels' as kids (or now, on occasion), but all are doing what they can by their children and all of whom are deeply concerned about their nieces and nephews.

Their mum has tried to help and had some of the children live with her, rather than them go into care, but SS can be rather fickle and at times foster care has been unavoidable. I have sat with her and listened as she's poured out how worried she is for the children, asking why her daughter behaves like that (and it's not just the children, she's done some shocking things to the rest of her family).

I think some things 'just are'.

11:19 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"I think some things 'just are'."

That's what Baz says too :-)

Does not compute with me, no matter how hard I try. I just can't seem to stop wondering why why why, and yet my old taoist teacher taught that the most useful ability in life is to be able to just ACCEPT.

Looks like I needed extra lessons!

11:27 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Allie said...

I think there are both structural explanations (like the loss of major employers that kept whole communities in work) and individual ones (like people having bad things to deal with in their heads) that partly explain these social phenomena.

But it is tempting to think that these are 'modern day' problems - I don't think they are. The schools are the location of more of the conflict these days because the young people are kept in them for more years.

Children roaming the street uncared for has always been the case in some places.

11:46 am, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Yes, Allie, you're right and indeed it was, in part, concern for these children that was a factor in the invention of mass schooling (although there was a further political etc. agenda too). However, I'm aware that people here will be far more experienced in such a discussion that I :0)

I live in a mining village - in fact, we still have a working colliery here (tenuously). I'm not from this part of the country, but my husband is from this village and remembers the miners strike. I've heard interesting stories (I was very, very young when the strike happened) and it's legacy still echoes through the streets.

I used to live in Solihull (and had the school trip to the rover plant) and later in Coventry. Peugeot and Marconi were big employers to the community I lived in and the effect of reduncies (etc.) was pretty devastating to whole families in an area already classed as 'deprived'.

The village I live in now has unemployment way above the national average and parts of it are extremely run down. Quite a lot of people simply shrug their shoulders because 'that's just the way things are'. Drug abuse is rife - especially heroin, a high rate of teen pregnancy (there's daycare attached to the local comp, as there was where we used to live in Coventry) and amongst some, an expectation to never work. Living on benefits is seen as the norm by some, others have jobs where they are little valued (and know they're not). All of this has an effect.

Education does not equal intelligence and therein lies part of the problem, because intelligent, capable people are not necessarily treated as such. Naturally this has a negative effect and this is passed on and on down the generations.

It isn't a new social problem - however, I think that there are certain additional factors within society today that add additional pressures that may not have necessarily been present years ago.

Perhaps it's a case that no matter how the possibilities for gaining an education (as I see it) are presented, that some parts of the community will never want to engage.

But I do consider it as it is an argument to be used against the concept of 'learning centres' and indeed, that of autonomous education

My concern with schools is that there appears to be a move towards more 'draconian' measures with insisting that young people stay until they're 18. I really wonder about how people can think that such compulsion is a good idea!

PS. Now where I live sounds absolutely awful, but it really isn't, although it has it's share of problems there are really lovely people here, we live round the corner from the local swimming pool and park and are surrounded by woods and fields to explore. Cherry and apple trees grow by the roadside and there's great blackberrying to be had. People are, on the whole, friendly and although gossip is rife and plenty of scandal to be had re. the Parish Council and other petty politics, I rather like living here :0)

12:13 pm, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Oh and on the teen preg. front, I was one (hence I'm not quite 30 with a near teenager) as were quite a few of my friends - so I'm not demonising it in any way, however, it does appear to be more prevalent in communities considered to be 'economically deprived'.

12:15 pm, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"Children roaming the street uncared for has always been the case in some places." If you've got children at home in the school holidays, for e.g., and they're playing out with children who are badly cared for at home, the whole crowd of children naturally gravitates towards the houses of those families who like and respect children - of which there will be many, in a mixed community.

The whole crowd of children, where we used to live, used to spend their holidays in one house or another, and the one house where they weren't welcome was naturally avoided. In this way all the children were cared for and fed and we parents who did care shared the load between us, of all the children IYSWIM.

So in the holidays, the children with parents who weren't looking after them were probably happier and better looked-after than they were in term-time.

It sounds idyllic and it wasn't always, but it did work and it is how natural communities do work, if there are enough adults at home to facilitate it. It started to break down when some of them started to go out to work and had to find official full-time childcare instead.

12:15 pm, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

This is possibly the crux of the problem?

"Education does not equal intelligence and therein lies part of the problem, because intelligent, capable people are not necessarily treated as such. Naturally this has a negative effect and this is passed on and on down the generations."

We don't seem to value our own people any more. Is that the result of globalisation? Or increased mechanisation?

12:23 pm, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

"Children roaming the street uncared for has always been the case in some places." If you've got children at home in the school holidays, for e.g., and they're playing out with children who are badly cared for at home, the whole crowd of children naturally gravitates towards the houses of those families who like and respect children - of which there will be many, in a mixed community.

Yes, I've found this to be true. We've always operated an open door policy here with a headcount at meal times (which is how my mother operated too, I remember my brother's friends turning up whilst my brother was out and my mum would just feed them and let them hang around till he got home. They even used to help themselves to juice etc. :)

Quite a few of my friend's children help themselves to the fruit bowl.

I have had children here whose parents are out at work and the children have been left. I've also picked up stragglers when we've gone out for walks etc. One of the photos I posted on my blog ages ago from the allotment included an 'extra' who my younger son 'sort of knew' who asked if he could come along and help. As long as they're polite and curb the swearing etc. whilst they're in the house, they're welcome :)

We don't seem to value our own people any more. Is that the result of globalisation? Or increased mechanisation?

That is certainly how it appears and is demonstrated, in part, by the wages etc. paid to those people paid to care for some of the most vulnerable members of society (i.e. the elderly, the very young and people who need some form of additional support).

A friend of mine (the partner of the teacher I mentioned) works as a support worker. She has a good degree in Politics, but chooses to work as a support worker, not least because it is part-time and she does shift work which enables her to spend quality time with her children and minimises the requirements for additional childcare (which is generally covered by her mother or aunt in the day and her partner when she works nights/weekends). It is a requirement now for support workers to be qualified at NVQ3 so she has recently gained this qualification. She says she has never felt so patronised in her life. That at times the members of her study group were spoken to as if they were incapable of understanding some of the concepts presented to them.

There was a discussion of the word 'exhausted' and whether they understood what it meant (!) and the use of other 'big' words, at which point she snapped slightly and put forward 'patronising' as a suggestion ;0)

12:40 pm, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

"There was a discussion of the word 'exhausted' and whether they understood what it meant (!) and the use of other 'big' words, at which point she snapped slightly and put forward 'patronising' as a suggestion ;0)"

I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall there! ;-)

12:59 pm, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

There's an interesting comment here by someone called Elaine C. Maybe repealing the NC would be enough to solve the problem?

Then again, I seem to fall into the trap highlighted by people like Gatto and Quinn, of assuming school is supposed to help people learn and assuming it's actually meant to work properly.

Total waste of time, trying to solve a problem that isn't meant to be fixed! *Rolls eyes @ self*

1:10 pm, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous lucy B said...

In my experience of working with disaffected and 'illiterate' young people (I facilitate creative writing activities) is that often, when they realise that someone is interested in what they have to say, and that there is some point in putting what they have to say onto paper, they work incredibly hard at making it happen. One 'illiterate' 6 or 7ish year old recently in one of my sessions wrote a poem:

great
shouting,
stomping,
teacher ...
makes me feel half a centimetre tall."

He didn't want to read it out to the rest of the class himself, but asked me if I would ... and when I did and he got a spontaneous round of applause, the teacher sniffed and said: "well, he can't usually write anything at all." :-/

1:50 pm, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Yes, Elaine C makes an interesting point, particularly: They went on to learn when they were ready for it which wasn't always when they were teenagers.

I think there's much to be said for learning when one is ready (and motivated) to do so. As I've commented (on Carlotta's blog I think) I hated maths as a subject at school, found it deathly boring, the teacher was clearly not overly keen on me and quite frankly I had better things to do with my time. Yes I could do the basics, but I just wasn't interested in building upon that.

Years later I attended college and maths just sort of fell into place, it made sense and I enjoyed it. Permutations - no problem :)

I think school as it stands atm is not a positive thing - however, some people do enjoy attending and do 'do well' afterwards (in whatever way). However, such people would likely do well at any alternative too.

Perhaps a move towards discussing with young people what they are interested in learning (rather than a prescribed curriculum) might be a step in the right direction.

Yes the compulsion might still be there, but giving young people a greater say over how they spent their time whilst there might help?

Perhaps more flexible hours - so that a young person might be required to attend x no. hours, however, there could be the option of a more 'cross-curricular' approach, where for interest, an interest in motorbikes could cover the more narrow definitions attached to a curriculum. It could include practical activity that would engage those interested.

Of course there are schemes like this existing, however, I think they need to go even further as generally vocational quals have, as I understand it, literacy and numeracy tagged on as a YOU MUST LEARN THESE THINGS demand.

It wouldn't be my ideal, but it might address some of the issues of boredom that some young people have.

1:58 pm, April 10, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

great
shouting,
stomping,
teacher ...
makes me feel half a centimetre tall."


And there was me about to shift the sleeping baby (off my legs which are loosing all feeling now) when I read this - that's a great piece of writing!

I agree that there has to 'be a point'. Having to write something because the NC requires that you write x about y is fairly pointless (unless you are genuinely interested in y and feel that you have something to say about it).

I think that there are teachers out there who genuinely inspire and I think that is because young people can perceive that the teacher is genuinely interested in them as people and this might be, in part Elaine C's success, in that she appears willing to give the young people some credit for being in charge of their own destinies and confidence that they will go forward when they're ready. The recognition and what comes across as respect of the different backgrounds also comes across in the post (if a little 'paternalistic')

However, I don't think teacher's jobs are made easier by any tightening of legislation over what must be taught in schools (etc.) because it kills the spark that (IMHO) should have brought the teacher to teaching in the first place.

I've heard a few primary school children complain about the readers in school being boring and perhaps that doesn't help when learning to read?

I worked in informal ed. for the Youth Service and vol. projects, we supported young people who were considered to be 'disaffected' and spent a lot of time listening, making things (I've learnt a lot from those sessions) and playing games etc. Also workshops on drugs, contraception, etc.

What struck me is that really, listening was what was most wanted, they wanted to be seen and heard and initially there is lots of bravado (etc.), but eventually, they wanted to discuss things with someone who listened and respected their POV. That's not to say that there wasn't disagreement - but that they weren't shouted down and told they were stupid, just that there was a difference in opinion (and sometimes a discussion as to why, how, etc.)

It was an infinitely rewarding job, although also quite draining at times, but I was there at a time when I was increasingly questioning school as a concept and this ran contrary to many of my colleagues who accepted school as the norm (etc.)

2:16 pm, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Lucy, that poem is incredibly powerful isn't it? I hope it made the teacher in question think a bit differently.

"However, I don't think teacher's jobs are made easier by any tightening of legislation over what must be taught in schools (etc.) because it kills the spark that (IMHO) should have brought the teacher to teaching in the first place."

This is exactly what I think Nikki. And they're talking about doing the same to home educators! I dread to think what kind of a world they seem to want us all to inhabit, and why.

" I was there at a time when I was increasingly questioning school as a concept and this ran contrary to many of my colleagues who accepted school as the norm (etc.)"

It amazes me that so many people do that, instead of exploring the alternatives.

2:42 pm, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous oldandrew said...

Thanks for the link.

A couple of points:

"but I'd find it very patronising and provoking to be constantly reminded of an externally-imposed set of rules, as if I couldn't be trusted to behave reasonably well without them."

The fact is many (most?) children need to be reminded of the rules and can't be expected to behave reasonably well without them.

With regard to the suggestions that children behave this badly because of being made to go to school and learn the curriculum then I suggest you take a journey on a few buses full of teenagers, or go to certain parks near here after dark and see what their behaviour is like.

Schools do not force anybody to become violent and abusive (not even students that don't like school) what I am blogging about is the fact that schools do nothing to discourage this sort of behaviour.

Everyone can declare that the source of behaviour problems is their own particular bugbear (not enough home schoolers, the content of the curriculum, even the irregular spellings of the English language). It all fails to explain why many other countries don't, and many other eras didn't, have the same problem.

The most persuasive explanation is also the most obvious, they behave that way because they can.

1:42 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

The fact is many (most?) children need to be reminded of the rules and can't be expected to behave reasonably well without them.

I think society as a whole does (that's what law is for - I was almost tempted to type wot then :)

I think perhaps it's the form that such rules take, or their perceived relevance to the individual that perhaps is part of the problem - and I am NOT saying that children should be allowed to do whatever they fancy (e.g. as someone who has set fire to school desks in the past, I would absolutely not condone my own or other children doing so!)

Schools do not force anybody to become violent and abusive (not even students that don't like school) what I am blogging about is the fact that schools do nothing to discourage this sort of behaviour.

As you can see from my previous posts, I would agree that school isn't the root of all evil (it is merely a contributory factor in a much wider range of social issues).

With your current experience of working within secondary schools, what would be your ideal way of addressing some of the problems you have to deal with day-in, day-out?

Do you think that an increased school-leaving age helps your profession in any way? Because from what I see, it can only serve to potentially make life even more stressful for teachers.

Do you think that a move away from the Nat. Curriculum would be a possibility?

Should there ever be enough money in the education pot (and I'm sure those pigs would be winging it past our windows if that ever was the case), do you think that a diversification of options available to young people, or even a firm move towards individualised learning plans (as has been mentioned in the media recently - although I cannot claim to have read much about it, rather busy here) would be of any support in that (hopefully) it might encourage more young people to be motivated in their learning and therefore (hopefully) sufficiently interested as to divert them away from disruption through boredom?

Of course some young people will not be motivated to learn in a school environment for the term of 'compulsory schooling' and indeed, might carry that through into adulthood, however, might it address atleast some of the young people who at present are not being engaged by school?

2:03 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger dottyspots said...

With regard to the suggestions that children behave this badly because of being made to go to school and learn the curriculum then I suggest you take a journey on a few buses full of teenagers, or go to certain parks near here after dark and see what their behaviour is like.

As someone who worked in inner-cities doing detached youth work, I have (including being threatened and assualted - personal attack alarm standard issue for the job). It takes quite some persistance and patience to build up postive working relationships with 'disaffected' young people and there will always be those by whom you are viewed with a certain level of contempt, however, the key is to try to engage those that you can and hope that in time, the less interested may also follow.

2:09 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Hi oldandrew, thanks for reading and commenting.

The discipline issue is very interesting and obviously by no means 100% the fault of the school system.

BUT I just discussed it with my 16 year-old son, saying "If children behave badly just because they can, why do you - who has no restrictions or external controls on your behaviour, behave so well?"

And he said: "Because I have no restrictions or external controls on me! I've got nothing to rebel against, so no reason to behave badly. A schoolchild is up against constant controls on his behaviour, so he will behave badly. He has to release the pressure when he can."

2:10 pm, April 12, 2007  
Anonymous oldandrew said...

Sorry but verbal abuse and violence is not the result of "external controls". If it were adults would do it far more often than children.

Most children aren't verbally abusive or violent regardless of the "controls" and as I said earlier the ones that are don't start behaving well once they leave the school gates.

Characterising what would, in normal life be criminal behaviour, as "rebelling" isn't helful either.

10:07 pm, April 12, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Do you only know about schooled children though? Or do you have actual experience of unschooled children? I have experience of both, which is why I think the external discipline is the problem. Having said that, I have known home educated kids with behavioural problems but these tend to be the ones with the strict parents.

A child brought up with no restrictions in an attentive, caring environment is a very well-behaved child. I know this because I have 5 of them.

4:54 am, April 13, 2007  
Anonymous Lucy said...

really enjoying your blog - found you through EF. Thank you for this post - I'd just been blogging briefly about so called 'low level disruption' which seems to to take up much of the school day and that teacher's blog describes it very well. In other words, am stealing link from you but thanking you too :)

7:31 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Hi Lucy - glad you stopped by! Oh I love your blog :-)

7:35 am, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Baz said...

I'm not sure Oldandrew will read this but I just wanted to point out that these days, its widely accepted that while battery farming will guarantee production quotas, it also produces poor quality produce.

Its also widely accepted psychologically that if you label someone, and treat them in a certain manner, they will live up to that tag, particularly if they have little or no positive influences to work to.

If I came along Andrew, and told you that for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week you were going to sit down, listen, concentrate, produce copious amounts of work and do 2/3 hours of homework a night in subjects of MY choosing, alot of which you'd have no interest at all in, then I think you might start to rebel/resent me for it.

And when you complained about it, or said that you were bored, and I said "tough" and put you in detention over breaks and at the end of class for being "difficult" you'd resent me even more.

And if I adopted the attitude that your "difficult" behaviour made you the scum of the earth and a product of "tosser parents" (as your colleagues on the blog Gill linked to seem to have decided) when I know absolutely nothing about you or your background - and continued to reinforce my opinion of you - eventually I think you'd feel an awful lot like having a go back at me, and society as a whole.

Remember, you can walk away from your job any time you choose. It might have a few unpleasant side effects on your bank balance, but at least you would retain your dignity.

Compulsory educated children don't get to do that. They HAVE to atten, from the ages of four upwards. And while it may suit some, it certainly doesn't suit all - what about their dignity?

8:09 am, April 13, 2007  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home