Posts Tagged ‘Association of Teachers and Lecturers’

Are Parents Creating a Generation of Spoilt Children?

April 4, 2012

I think teachers should be very careful when criticising parents. Whilst I have no doubt that parents who don’t demand help around the house often breed lazy kids who lack independence and motivation, school isn’t necessarily the place to gauge whether or not a child is spoilt.

Teachers have been instructed for many years to become emotionally distant. This philosophy has become very prevalent and the results are as gloomy as the methodology. No teacher adopting this style of teaching can ever compare themselves to a parent. When parents set boundaries they do it with love and deep concern. If a teacher decides to become emotionally distant, they lead their students to believe that their boundaries are set without a deep-rooted connection to the child. The child comes to believe taht the rules were set for selfish reasons, because “it’s not as if my teacher cares about me anyway!”

That’s why I am not sure the connections made in this article are necessarily accurate:

Some middle class parents are turning their children into “little Buddhas” by “waiting on them hand and foot” at home, a teachers’ leader has said.

Association of Teachers and Lecturers general secretary Dr Mary Bousted warned spoilt children had “disproportionate” consequences for behaviour in schools.

Parents needed to be confident in saying no to their children, she said.

It come as the union debated calls for tough behaviour sanctions in school.

The ATL conference in Manchester earlier heard that measures such as detention, suspension and exclusion, were failing to deal with behavioural issues.

But Dr Bousted laid the blame firmly with poor parenting in both poor and middle class homes.

While acknowledging most parents did a good job, she told reporters: “Children without boundaries at home resent boundaries imposed at school.

“We need to be confident in saying we can go so far but no further we need to be more confident in what we think is reasonable.

“How many parents ask their children regularly to contribute to the running of the house?

“Far too many children are waited on at home hand and foot. They don’t do the washing up and they don’t do the hoovering and the don’t have to make their own beds.

“We are not doing them any favours if we make them into little Buddhas at home,” she said.

“And it certainly doesn’t do them any favours in school”.

I also don’t agree that this style of parenting is more prevalent in lower and middle class families than wealthy families.

At the end of the day, until our teachers uniformly dispense with strategies that preach distance rather than concern, we can never connect symptoms in the classroom to habits taught from home.

Boundaries are more likely to be respected when the child feels that the person setting them respects them.


Teachers Concerned About Violent Video Games

March 28, 2012

Whenever teachers dispense parenting advice, the outcome is almost never a positive one. As much as I agree that children who are exposed to violent movies and video games are worse for it, I think it is essential that teachers spend less time judging parents and more time concentrating on the curriculum.

Still, in a perfect world, parents should reflect on some of the criticisms conveyed by teachers:

School pupils are being allowed to stay up until the early hours of the morning playing games that are inappropriate for their age, said Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

She said many parents were failing to adhere to age-restrictions on the most violent games, raising concerns that children are growing up desensitised to aggression and bloodshed.

It was also claimed that over-exposure to screen-based entertainment was robbing children of valuable time interacting with friends or playing outdoors – harming their education and long term development.

It follows repeated concerns from psychologists that watching violent films and playing games such as Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Modern Warfare makes youngsters more prone to violence.

Speaking yesterday, Dr Bousted said: “I think what we are talking about, first of all, is the amount of time children spend locked in their room. The fact that children spend hours locked in their rooms playing computer games, which means they’re not interacting, they’re not playing and not taking exercise.”

Some of these games were “very violent”, she said, and risk having a major effect on “tender young minds of children and young people.”

Dr Bousted said that many teachers fear parents are ignoring age restrictions on computer games, which often ban their sale to children aged below 18.

“The watershed tends to work quite well, but with online TV and video children and young people are probably watching inappropriate content over a range of media,” she said.

It would be great to share criticisms with parents without fear of reprisal. But, in my experience, the importance of having parents on side means that these criticisms can interfere with a healthy parent/teacher partnership.

What About Parents that Bully Teachers Online?

October 25, 2011

Unfortunately, teachers and Facebook aren’t always a match made in heaven.  Whilst the vast majority of teachers on Facebook are responsible and mature enough to stay out of trouble, there’s always a news story popping up about tasteless comments a teacher made against students or minority groups.  This month it is Viki Knox, a Special Education teacher who was rightly condemned for her anti-gay comments on Facebook.

The media storm resulting from the Knox case and others like it serve as a timely reminder to teachers on Facebook that they must be extremely careful not to offend (something which shouldn’t be hard to do).

But what about the myriad of incidents of parents and students ganging up on and bullying teachers?

More than one in seven teachers has been the victim of cyberbullying by pupils or parents, and almost half know a colleague who has been targeted, according to a survey published today.

Students have set up “hate” groups on social networking sites calling for specific teachers to be sacked and have even created fake profiles in their names containing defamatory information.

Schools must make clear to pupils that such behaviour will lead to punishment, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said.

Schools seem to be increasingly soft on parents that bully teachers.  Turning a blind-eye to Facebook campaigns and insulting comments against teachers is not acceptable.  Teachers so often feel isolated and powerless against taunts from parents.

Who do they turn to for support?

When schools claim to have a “zero tolerance for bullying”, they ought to include bullying of teachers by parents.  Any parent caught bullying a teacher online should be subjected to the same penalty as a teacher.  They should be told to take their child and find another school.

If you think that’s harsh, try being a bullied teacher.  I’m glad I’ve never been bullied, because I guarantee you, it’s not easy!

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