Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Don't dare to diss me

An interesting article on Spiked by Neil Davenport who, apart from blogging and writing is a politics teacher based in London (though he does not tell us where exactly in London). His point:
New Labour kids’ have been more flattered, mollycoddled and freed of responsibilities than any generation before them. These days, as young people progress through the education system, they learn that there is a whole raft of medical reasons why they can’t write neatly or behave properly in class. They also know that if their exam grades are slightly disappointing, they can always blame the teachers. And New Labour’s social-inclusion charter also means that schools cannot automatically throw kids out, even in the sixth form, for not working hard enough or for their poor behaviour. Local education authorities can fight to ensure that a suspended child is reinstated and then attack the school for failing to provide ‘adequate support’ to address the pupil’s ‘psychological issues’.

Historically, one of the functions of schools has been to teach children the importance of personal responsibility. Punctuality, enforcing homework deadlines and reining in disruptive behaviour are all important mechanisms for socialising young people. School is not about teaching kids to be blindly obedient to authority, of course, but it should guide them towards becoming morally autonomous individuals with a sense of responsibility to themselves and to others. However, New Labour’s therapeutic framework, which has infected a great deal of England’s education system, has effectively destroyed these civilising values. As any teacher will tell you, teenagers are now strikingly adept at screeching from the therapeutic hymn sheet. The ‘how dare you?!’ line they indignantly trot out effectively says: ‘How dare you pass judgement on or criticise me? It will damage my self-esteem.’
Read the whole piece. Well worth it.

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