The late great Dale Carnegie wrote:
There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything … Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.
It’s a shame that policy makers and school administrators don’t seem to have read any of Carnegie’s work because had they absorbed the quote above, perhaps they may have come up with something better to offer students.
People think that school represents the perfect place to undo parenting errors. They think that by bringing in a new school rule or program, that children will be set for life. Some of the rules and regulations in a school near you include:
– Anti-bullying programs
– Sex Ed programs
– Junk Food policies
– Playground no hugging rules
– Toilet rules
– Drug programs
– Anti-gambling programs.
And it goes on and on ….
Is this really a bad thing? What’s wrong with scrapping junk food from school?
Of course nothing is wrong with instilling healthy eating habits, teaching children about what constitutes bullying and how important it is to avoid drugs. But to be successful you’re going to need more than a worthy cause.
The problem with schools taking on these issues is that schools already have a stigma for most children. Whether we like to admit it or not, most kids hate school and they hate what they are taught at school. So whether it’s a math or science lesson or its a discussion about the dangers or excess sugar consumption, the chances of breaking through are difficult. It requires a positive and creative approach.
And let’s face it, the programs eluded to above often look and feel like schoolwork. They often consist of worksheets and paired activities and feature mini-quizzes. Why do the people who put together these programs think that if they put an animal mascot on the front of the pack and crossword on page five that kids will warm to the content? No child has ever been fooled by such a gimmick.
And inflexible rules are worse. Sure, it’s not ideal for kids to be eating chips or popcorn at school, but taking away their treats is yet another way of reinforcing the stigma that schools are overbearing, ruthless and prison like. I just read that Brussels want to ban yogurts and cheese from school lunches. If I was a school kid in Brussels I would want to go home and douse myself in cheese just out of spite!
It is such a breath of fresh air when a great anti-bullying initiative or healthy eating idea surfaces. One that captures the students’ imagination and encourages rather than bans, nurtures rather than smothers.
If you want children to listen they must want to listen. Don’t shove draconian rules and anti-bullying packs down their throats. Give them something that doesn’t look or feel like school work.
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Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans