Recent events have made me rethink some of my notions about education. Since children have been unable to attend school and yet still receive a reasonable education, learning from home (thanks to modern technology,) many of our previous ideas about attending schools, are appearing increasingly obsolete.
In Australia large numbers of children living in remote areas, have been taught this way for years anyway.
Suddenly the purpose of sending children to school no longer seems to be, solely to impart a traditional-type education. The buzz word of the moment appears to be “socialisation.”
Huh I thought,
“You mean to help them get used to the idea, of being mocked, harrassed and bullied,” If this was not your experience, then let me know where these fantastic schools are!
Yeah let’s get them used to the real world…
If we are sending children to school so that they learn to socialize, we need to do a much better job.
This is probably a shocking statement, particularly coming from a teacher. I am approaching the end of my career and feel compelled to speak my mind.
I am sure children did not need to learn what it was like to have their face rubbed in the dirt or to be kicked in the crotch, or to have cookery ingredients tipped all over them. All real experiences (either mine or experienced by somebody I know.)
If we consider teaching children to “socialize ” to be an important aspect of sending children to school, we need to do a rather better job of it.
I firmly believe, I was conditioned for much of the mistreatment,
I endured in my intimate relationships, not by my parents but by experiences at school. Unlike many people, who have experienced abusive relationships, my early years at home, were very happy.
The day I was set upon, when it was my turn to ring the school bell, had marked my loss of innocence. Especially when I was later chided by the headmistress, for having ripped the coat of my attacker, which I must have grabbed to save myself, as I had fallen to the ground.
As a teacher I know, I have likely made similar mistakes. I would dread afternoon registration, as I had recognised I would be swamped dealing with issues, which had happened at lunchtime. For a while, I adopted circle time, following lunch break, so we could work through any calamities which might have occured, by discussing it together.
If parents are now recognising that socialization, should be a primary aim for children attending school, it looks like the curriculum may need to be totally rewritten.
When I was learning to teach, we were told social skills were part of the hidden curriculum. It now looks like social skills, may need to come out of the “hidden” curriculum and sit proudly next to the other subjects.
Empathy needs to be taught and showing empathy towards others, should perhaps be richly rewarded, even above academic achievement in my view.
Whilst I may not have liked every facet of Montessori preschool education, I was really impressed with the way the teacher had dealt with an incident in her class. She had grabbed both children by the hand, had made them look at each other and had said,
“Hi John, this is George.”
She had then proceeded to talk about George, his interests, his family.
“He doesn’t like it when you kick him in the head.” I do not recall the exact offence.
Here is the bad news. I remember researching moral education, in my early years of teaching, only to discover, it was less about what I said, than about the way I behaved. This presents every teacher with challenges. It is much easier to deliver a nice, tidy lesson, than to always model the kind of behaviour, we seek to encourage.
Hands up, who is still working on some aspects of their own behaviour. (Please don’t let me be the only one.😊)