Discipline in Schools: No surprises here

The header for the article in “The Sunday Times” in Perth on 10th June, 2018 read “Be Firm with Us” (page 13).

A researcher, Helen Egeberg, from the School of Education at Edith Cowan University had surveyed adolescents in Year 10 from six Perth secondary schools (both public and private).

Results showed firstly, that more that 80% wanted teachers who ensured that behaviour in the classroom remained under control. Contrary to the popular notion that teenagers really just want to “muck around”, instead, the opposite was true. This comes as no surprise to some of us in the helping professions who understand that we all feel safe when behaviour is being controlled whether it is in the kindergarten, the schoolroom or the workplace. Adolescents want to both feel safe and be able get on with the process of learning.

Secondly, the results showed that more than 85% of the students also wanted teachers who cared about them as individuals and who respected their ideas and suggestions.

It’s the same age old principle that makes for effective parenting, effective teaching and effective managing, namely, the balance of both structure and boundaries as well as care and support.

It’s not hard really. It’s just a real pity that so many parents, teachers and bosses don’t get it.

 

Researchers found that Behaviour in Secondary School predicts Income and Occupational Success later in Life

How you behave in school predicts life success above and beyond family background, IQ and broad traits. That was the title of the academic article just published by M. Spengler and others in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2018) and published by the American Psychological Association.

In short, students who show interest in school report greater income 50 years later regardless of parental income or IQ.

Being a responsible student, maintaining an interest in school and having good reading and writing skills will not only help a teenager get good grades in high school, but could also be predictors of educational and occupational success decades later, regardless of IQ, parental socioeconomic status or other personality factors, according to the research.

Educational researchers, political scientists and economists are increasingly interested in the traits and skills that parents, teachers and schools should foster in children to enhance chances of success later in life,” said lead author Marion Spengler, PhD, of the University of Tübingen. “Our research found that specific behaviors in high school have long-lasting effects for one’s later life.

Perhaps this finding is not surprising. If a student learns some sound effective habits (eg., being organised, having good study habits, showing “stickability”) in primary and secondary school, then it might well be expected that those students would go on to be more successful than their peers.

However, what is going to ensure that we actually set up our adolescents for that success?

How do we do that when many would argue that the school system that we have is hardly “interesting” and is in fact, archaic. Some have asserted that the school system which was originally set up to teach the agricultural workers how to read and write as we moved in the industrial era to work in factories, really hasn’t changed much since that time. Some have rightly asserted that one of the biggest mistakes in our so-called enlightenment was to close down technical schools

How do we do that when many would argue that the school system that we now have is hardly “interesting” and is in fact, archaic. That school is out-dated and irrelevant.

Some have asserted that the school system which was originally set up to teach the agricultural workers how to read and write as we moved into the industrial era to work in factories, really hasn’t changed much at all since that time. Many have argued that schools are behind the times especially in relation to computers and technology and that many of the students are well ahead of their teachers when it comes to software and technology.

Some have rightly asserted that one of the biggest mistakes in our so-called enlightenment was to close down technical schools or colleges which were at the heartland of our trades. These colleges were an absolute boon for those students who didn’t really learn from a book, but were very much hands-on learners. A generation of apprentices came out of these technical colleges and they loved their work.

Where is it written that life is all about getting an ATAR score in Year 12 so we can all go to University? 

Many adults have asked why in school they weren’t taught important life skills like budgeting, opening a bank account, learning to be emotionally intelligent, understanding how to communicate and listen effectively, learning what leadership is all about, learning how to be innovative and entrepreneurial, learning how to start and manage a business and so on.

If the researchers are accurate about their findings that school behaviour and interest in school predicts later success, then as a community we’d best take a long hard look at whether we have the best school system for setting up our adolescents for that success. Many would argue that we don’t.

An ‘F’ Grade for Education

Dr Stephen Covey wrote in his book “The 8th Habit” that “We live in a Knowledge Worker Age but operate our organisations in a controlling Industrial Age model that absolutely suppresses the release of human potential [bold type mine]” (Page 15). Just substitute the word “schools” for “organisations” and you have it.

Our schools were originally designed to put students in rows in order to learn to read and write so that they could move off the farms and into the factories for the Industrial era. Not much has changed really.

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Bullying at School: What To Do About It?

Although we know that bullying is common in schools, many teenagers however, will not let on that they are being bullied at school.

Adolescents may not want to say that they are being bullied because:

  • they don’t want to look or sound weak or “pathetic”,
  • they don’t want the parents to go to the school and somehow embarrass them,
  • they don’t want the teachers to know that they can’t handle it,
  • they are afraid of any further retributions if the bully finds out,
  • they don’t want to be seen as a “dobber” getting others into trouble.

Although the adolescent may not tell you initially that he or she is being bullied, typically, there are some signs… […]

Bullying at School: How Common Is It?

How Common is Bullying?

Bullying is an age-old problem.

Research in Australia by Dr Ken Rigby over a number of years where 38,000 students have been surveyed indicates that 15% of children say that they are bullied weekly.  Of these, 5% say that they are not really bothered by it at all, but 10% report feeling distressed, angry or sad as a result of the bullying. […]