Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Fascinating classroom stuff

Via Frank Chalk, who makes a wonderful observation.

Kids in UK primary schools are supposedly better behaved now than in the 1970's.

The findings, based on observations of more than 70 educational psychologists in 141 classrooms across the UK, found a "fairly steady upward trend" in terms of improving behaviour.

Mr Apter, district senior educational psychologist at Wolverhampton City Council, said that class size did not appear to be a significant factor in behaviour, or the number of other adult assistants in the classroom.

The key to this improvement was the teacher, said Mr Apter, and their constant verbal engagement with pupils - which he says has been described as the "motor mouth" approach.

"Primary teachers work incredibly hard now - it's something that educational psychologists often comment upon. They are engaging pupils around the classroom, they seem very much compelled to get results," says Mr Apter.

The energy of this teaching style and the focused approach of teachers, he says, means that pupils are less likely to drift off or misbehave during lessons.

I went to two schools in the 1970's. I started in a state school in a country town, and whilst I did fairly well academically, the teachers had gone all "new age" and couldn't control a handful on 8 and 9 year olds. I started to run amok - we'd shoplift cigarettes and chips and that sort of thing (at age 8!)

Then I went to a very good private school, which the Headmaster ruled with an iron fist (I am talking about the Head of the junior school). I acted up on my first day - probably within my first hour - and was immediately dispatched to the Head's office to be caned. The shock of going from the anarchy of the state school to the military school approach was quite profound. It straightened me out pretty quick, and I started to achieve good academic results, and also turned into a reasonably human being.

Most kids have a naughty streak running through them - mine was certainly pretty wide and deep. You can talk some kids out of being naughty, but others just need to have it belted out of them. I was definitely in the second group - even at age 8, I could bend those new age state school teachers around my little finger when I was busted doing something bad. I don't think they believed that a kid of that age could be so manipulative and criminally minded.

Thank goodness I ended up under the wing of someone that was not so enamoured of new age wank. It hurt at first, but the results in the long run were much better.


Anonymous said...

Elements of this blog seem to suggest a hint of naughtiness lingering still. Am I right?

Saphire McBoo

kae said...

Discipline seems to be what's missing.
Of course, you can't punish the kids or anything, you can just give them a good talking to these days, and even then, if you upset their self-esteem woe betide you!

Worked for teachers in the 60s on me, and it worked for my Mum, a teacher for over 50 years, well respected and loved by parents and students alike!

Word ver: terans!