Old school is best
5th September 2010

In the following comment piece, published in today's Sunday Herald Sun, I argue that student misbehaviour is a significant problem for teachers and that schools must be be given the freedom to implement more traditional forms of discipline and classroom management.  See below:

WHEN it comes to our classrooms, it's clear that teachers have lost control and, as the saying goes, the inmates are in control of the asylum.

Figures quoted in the Herald Sun show 50,000 Victorian children have been suspended from state schools in the past three years, violence and bullying are endemic and many new teachers resign because of badly behaved students.

What's to be done? Years ago, discipline was strong, teachers were respected, children did what they were told and a good classroom was well-ordered and quiet.

Children faced the front of the room and open classrooms, group work and child-centred learning had yet to be invented.

It's time to admit that new-age, progressive education does not work.

Forcing 40 to 60 primary schoolchildren into an open learning space, making them work in groups, calling them "knowledge navigators" and expecting teachers to be guides by the side is a recipe for disaster.

Instead of being facilitators, teachers need to teach. Children, especially boys, need structure and discipline.

And schools need to have strict policies about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and immediate consequences for breaking those rules.

Forget the time-out room and psychobabble about punishment being bad for a child's self-esteem.

Teachers need to realise education is not a popularity contest and they will get more respect from children if they act as authority figures instead of pretending to be every student's best mate.

One of the reasons non-government schools do not have the same discipline problems as government schools is because they have the power to suspend students.

Government school principals, on the other hand, can only act after consulting head office, filling in reams of paperwork and jumping through the hoops.

It's time to make government schools more like non-government schools by getting rid of bureaucratic interference and giving them the power to make decisions at the local level.

Schools should be free to design and enforce their discipline policies, ranging from suspension for the most serious offences to after-school detention, picking up rubbish and the old favourite of writing out lines.

Meanwhile, helicopter parents need to stop hovering over their children, spoiling them and giving in to their every wish. Education begins at home and young children need to be taught respect and how to behave.

I'll always remember teaching in Melbourne's western suburbs and being told by Greek and Italian parents that it was OK to give their boys a clip over the ear if they caused trouble.

Try that now and you would lose your job and the child would be entitled to stress counselling.

Parents should also turn off the computers, throw away the Game Boys and ban their children from Facebook and mobile phones.

Research shows new technologies scramble the brain and turn children into hyperactive, restless automatons.

The alternative is to return to the printed word. One of the benefits of making young children read on a regular basis is that it teaches them to concentrate and to sit still for long periods of time.

Activities such as reading, memorising poetry and mental arithmetic also help develop thinking skills and make it easier for children to succeed at school.

After being sacked for trying to discipline a student, a British teacher recently won $106,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal.

He said: "There are so many kids whose education is being massively disrupted by the bad behaviour of other children and the teachers can't do anything about it."

Victorian teachers face the same problems as their British counterparts and, unless action is taken very soon, thousands of innocent children will continue to suffer because of the disruptive few.



Archived News

> Curriculum review endorsed
> School discipline
> National curriculum review announced
> It's ability not SES
> SES not the issue
> Return phonics to the classroom
> Alan Jones interview - school funding
> Gonski a threat to non-government schools
> Greens Party policy a danger
> Gillard's education plan empty rhetoric
> Education failing boys
> PM's Press Club Speech
> Gonski review cultural-left
> Gonski review cultural-left
> News
> UK primary curriculum back to basics
> Ban competition in sport
> Gonski a danger to non-government schools
> Gonski a danger to Catholic and independent schools
> Gonski a danger to Catholic and independent schools
> Gonski report penalises non-government schools
> Don't attack non-government school students
> Responses to OECD report miss the mark
> Choice and diversity in education benefits all
> Greens Party intent on destroying non-government schools
> Government schools elitist and discriminatory
> The left has lost the culture wars
> National testing for mums and dads
> Gillard's educrats attack non-government schools
> Fairfax Press biased against non-government schools
> ALP's multicultural policy contradictory and flawed
> Failed education revolution
> School funding review
> A real education revolution - what does it take?
> PISA test and Australia - what does it mean?
> MySchool website used to attack non-government schools
> Greens Party to cut funding to non-government schools
> Coalition best for education
> Greens Party to destroy non-government schools
> Gillard's school autonomy proposal all spin
> Gillard My School tests flawed
> Gillard My School tests flawed
> Liberals introduce school vouchers
> Non-government schools deserve funding
> Muslim curriculum biased
> Gillard still a closet socialist
> NAPLAN tests flawed
> Draft national curriculum dumbed down and PC
> ALP education revolution fails
> Yesterday, the ABC..
> Australia's national curriculum debate
> Australia has high social mobility
> British schools shadow minister likes Dumbing Down
> US academic critical of high stakes tests
> University entry must be based on merit
> Quadrant has just released a..
> Hi, much of the Rudd/Gillard..
> Hi, the Spectator has a brilliant..
> ABC radio's Counterpoint has an..
> In case you missed it..
> Rudd's education revolution denies school autonomy
> Donnelly book launch
> Rudd's education revolution 3 out of 10
> US experts say no to value-add

Sign in and have your say


Latest Blog

1st January 1970

Read Full Post!


$20.00 plus $6 postage
(within Australia).

Latest News

Old school is best
5th September 2010
In the following comment piece, published in today's Sunday Herald Sun, I argue that student misbehaviour is a significant problem for teachers and that schools must be be given the freedom to imp...

Read entire article...

Sign up to our Newsletter...