In an article reviewing the 2010 Behaviour Survey by Parentline Plus, Teacher Support Network(TSN)and the National Union of Teachers, Sue Atkins highlights concerns that behaviour in schools has declined over a number of years. Among the statistics quoted by the educational professionals surveyed are that 70% of teachers have thought about leaving the profession because of this increase, 81% have experienced stress as a result of bad classroom behaviour and 79% feel that they are unable to teach effectively because of it.
One of the recommendations from teachers the report says, is that schools should offer support to parents on understanding schools approach to discipline. Jeremy Todd, chief executive of Parentline Plus commented: “It is vital that schools work with parents to engage them and ensure they understand their important role in their child’s education, including reinforcing the school’s messages about acceptable behaviour.” He went on to say: “Simple techniques and confidence building in parents whose children are not able to behave in class can be very effective and enable children to stay in the classroom and behave, preventing them from permanent exclusion.”
For me, we seem to have lost a step in all this. Why should schools need parents to engage in THEIR behaviour expectations? Are schools requirements of behaviour so different from those of society? Most school behaviour policies contain lists of rewards as well as sanctions for pupils meeting expectation of sitting down and listening. What is so special about these expectations? Should there be rewards and why do we need sanctions? Surely, behaving in a reasonable way is something all children should be able to do?
Moving into the anecdotal here – I remember you did not want to be told off at school because it was likely to result in another telling off when you got home (and a clip round the ear!). Schools and teachers were respected much like policemen. Are we now in a situation where behaviour at home is at odds with that expected in schools?
Surely part of parenting is to prepare children for the world they are going to join, be part of and hopefully contribute to? That attaches a responsibility to teach them the correct rules of engagement. Yet again it seems that schools are expected to do the teaching (see a similar situation here )
If that is the case, then parents do need to find out, sign up and promote the school’s behaviour code. However, I am saddened to think that it has come to this. In order to do their jobs, teachers need to feel safe and confident in their classrooms. Yes they need to offer a varied and interesting curriculum for their pupils so that boredom does not lead to ‘off task’ behaviour. It is the balance between this ‘chicken and egg’ situation that hopefully will keep our talented staff in our schools.
Whose responsibility is it to have good behaviour in our schools?