Wednesday, October 10, 2012

State schools "desperately avoid preaching"

There is a "moral vacuum" in state schools in the UK, or so this article claims. I found it interesting after discussing ethos in education the other day. A teacher in a struggling inner city school has written an anonymous condemnation.

Children are routinely being allowed to get away with bad behaviour as schools desperately avoid being seen to “preach” to pupils, it was claimed.

In a provocative article, Matthew Hunter said that schools regularly resorted to using rewards to bribe unruly pupils instead of imposing proper boundaries.

There is little attempt to instill values:

Writing under a pseudonym, he said many schools now failed to instil children with traditional values because of the dominance of the “teach, don’t preach” doctrine.

“Rules exist, but are broken on such a regular basis that it would probably be better not to have them at all,” he said.

“Pupils know that their school is chaotic and that most of their misbehaviour will go unpunished. Thus, on a routine basis, justice is not seen to be done.

“Personal responsibility is never developed among the pupils, as they are so rarely held to account for their actions. Only misbehaviour of an extraordinarily extreme nature (such as hitting a member of staff) is sure to be met with definite consequences.

“The idea that senior staff will deal with the most serious infringements does not exist. Far from being the school’s ultimate moral arbiters, senior members of staff perceive themselves as administrators, often unknown to the pupils.

"Progressive" has turned into "amoral" in practice. Saying that sounds conservative, of course. But why should it be necessarily conservative to lay some stress on character or disposition?


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