Friday, 2 September 2011

Just so we're clear...

This is a BAD idea:
Ministers are scrapping a requirement for teachers to record instances when they use physical force, as part of a wider move to "restore adult authority" in the wake of the riots in England.
Here are some reasons why neither I nor any teacher I know thinks this is good:
  1. Pupils should not be afraid of their teachers, as this is a barrier to their learning. If you are afraid of your teacher, you are less inclined to view your education as an opportunity, and more likely to view yourself in opposition to it.
  2. There are plenty of alternatives to force in dealing with classroom behaviour issues. If you do need to use force, you have already lost your authority.
  3. The link with the riots is specious. It is not a coincidence that the riots happened in the most deprived areas of London. The underlying cause is inequality, not a lack of caning.
  4. I didn't get into this job to beat children. However annoying it is when a lesson doesn't go to plan, grabbing hold of a kid is not a solution to the problem.
  5. This whole thing feeds into the right-wing myth that the primary cause of bad behaviour is a lack of discipline. This is part of the whole hang 'em, flog 'em, dose of national service bollocks. As Lenin recently noted: Greece has national service. It is not 'discipline' that is the problem. Discipline is an issue for the army and a prison, not a free society. Yes, we need a certain level of co-operation to do our jobs, and yes there needs to be an understanding that there are consequences for poor behaviour, but this has to be based on the understanding that co-operation and good behaviour are beneficial to the individual students and their peers, not 'cos I'll give you a clip round the ear if you don't. Which can be complicated and tedious, but has the benefit of not being neolithic.
As you were.