Education and discipline – who’s responsible?

If you read my post yesterday then you will know Jamie Oliver is now trying to tackle education as a whole, after having tried to tackle school meals.

The 2nd programme of the series aired on Wed night and it got me thinking about something else in the lives of our younger generation.  Discipline.

As I see it, in the UK, there has been a gradual decline in discipline in school (and outside it) for young kids.  I believe the reason this is so is that Government policies have created a divide between academic education and social education.

The distinction being that academic education is all about subjects and social education is about how people interact with others.

This division has meant that teachers are only expected to do the academic side, whilst the social side is left to the parents.

The issue this creates is that kids spend more time at school than they do at home , so they get little social education.  And, because the teachers have lost a lot of the power they used to have in enforcing the social education, they cannot play that role and be the role models they were.

Like it or not, one of the best ways of ensuring people understood and learnt how to behave socially was through discipline, but now you can’t do that.  And kids know it too, so they keep playing up disrupting the class and generally not learning and not allowing others to learn.

When I watch the below, I’m astounded by three things:

  • they way they behave – or the fact that they don’t know how to behave in social situation
  • they way they talk – again they don’t seem to understand when the appropriate times to use certain language is
  • their sense of entitlement – to ‘respect’; to being treated ‘as equals’.  Sorry but you’re a kid and a student.  Never, in any school, should you be a teacher’s equal

When I was a kid if you misbehaved, you would be screamed at or something would be thrown at you.  It hurt like buggery but it was never done out of malice, it was done with a purpose of teaching right and wrong and that is how it should be.

Like my view with other public roles (police etc), in order to do their job properly they need to be given the rights to do it.  No point in bitching about ineffective teaching and policing if they’re not empowered to be so.

Anyway, rant over.  Watch the series!


4 thoughts on “Education and discipline – who’s responsible?

  1. Thoughtful post. I haven’t watched this show, but in response to your ideas, I wanted to add that I’ve been a teacher for 22 years and have not noticed any shift in the school wanting us to only focus on academics. We have always had to teach/enforce academic and social behaviors. What has changed is that where I used to have a student or two in each class that I had to make special efforts to work with in regards to their social behavior–now it’s sometimes 1/3 to 1/2 of the students. A lot of factors have probably contributed to this: different (often lax or absent) parenting, upbringing (focus on technology/solitary play vs playing with friends), and the cultural focus on entertainment above all else. Traditional schools must change their structure in order to adjust to these trends. There’s no going back. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t teach social manners and behavior–but that we have to do MORE than that to even keep up. And we have to acknowledge that sometimes, more of a teacher’s time currently is being spent on discipline/manners than on academics.

  2. Hi TW,
    Thanks for reading and for the comment, it’s great to have a perspective from someone in the firing line, as they say.
    My thinking (and I admit this is very much ‘outside looking in’) is that teachers are in an impossible position where they have to teach a subject to kids that misbehave and yet are not given the powers and structural support (school, government, etc) to deal with it and that was more my point. In my days teachers were the law and you knew where you stood – if you stepped out of line you’d be dealt with (no ifs or buts). It seems to me that now kids are given more ‘protection’ and are well aware of that leaving teachers a bit powerless and needing to find alternatives (again shifting the focus away from teaching).
    And whilst this might be a gross generalisation, the disruption affects the class as a whole.
    You should try to watch the programme – it is a interesting idea. I’m not sure that using celebrities will be that effective. A more interesting series was the one what the BBC ran a few months back about how changes to how schools operate can affects students (the name escapes me now).

  3. Pingback: Education and discipline - who’s responsible? | Γονείς σε Δράση

  4. Pingback: Just show me how it works | The general musings of Andre Santos

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