The news is full of sorrowful tidings and painfully stupid decisions, testing children constantly instead of putting into operation the policy that ‘Every child matters’. In countries where this policy is put into operation for example , Finland, this country is always in the top ten of the OECD list of the most educated, happy and economically successful countries. It is no accident that those three attributes go together. Finland is a difficult country in which to make a living, the winter is harsh and long as it is so close to the Arctic circle. So the people look to their greatest natural resource, one of these is timber. But the greatest of all their resources is the adaptability and intelligence of the Finnish people; like all the Scandinavian countries Finland has an excellent welfare system and an education system based on the philosophy, Every Child Matters. Teachers are extremely well educated and looked upon with great respect, in the way we regard doctors and engineers. Teaching is an intellectually demanding job where many different skills are required. It is not a matter of educating the few who learn very quickly and easily, it is a cooperative effort to make sure that every child can read and write and understands mathematics. In most classrooms we are grading the children from the top to the bottom, very pleasant for the few children at the top and constantly dispiriting for the majority who are told that they don’t measure up to the standard expected. If instead cooperative behaviour is encouraged maybe the disengagement of many pupils who are struggling would disappear.
There are a differences in the speed at which individuals learn, of course our strengths vary in a number of ways; what is damaging is the feeling of failure. In recent times the constant grading of children is very disheartening, more especially when very little actual help is offered. A much more cooperative attitude in the classroom would be of enormous benefit to everyone: to the children who are struggling to learn and to those who learn quickly and easily. If one group helps the other they both gain in understanding and bullying will not gain a foothold because the learning has become a shared experience. Bullying is in large part based on jealousy, which often comes from a member of staff who tacitly encourages some children to pick on a very talented child. I have experience of this happening to my son, he loved reading and his use of language was not typical for a boy of 12 years. One teacher in particular tacitly and openly encouraged the children to bully him. Holding the view that bullying is something trivial and they will grow out of it. Unable to see the lasting damage that was being done. We know that some adults indulge in this kind of behaviour, usually those who are very dissatisfied with the lack of success in their own lives, some go on to physical violence, as we hear so often in the news.
Just as young children are reprimanded when they kick , bite or scream until they learn that his behaviour is unacceptable. As early as possible bullies should learn that their behaviour is not acceptable and they will be punished for it.
I have been a teacher and a lecturer for a number of years. I am married with two sons. I'm interested drama, films, TV, books, society in general, poverty and riches and political systems.
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