BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: Education  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 13:40 GMT
Disruptive pupils undermine teachers
Teachers
Teachers say pupils lack respect for authority
"It's the constant day-to-day bad behaviour that really grinds teachers down," says Amanda Haehner, a south London secondary school teacher.

A survey of teachers suggests that a third expect to leave the profession within five years - with disruptive pupils one of the biggest reasons for quitting.

School might be the only time when children are told 'no'

Amanda Haehner, teacher

And Ms Haehner, who is also an official of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, says that the problem is getting worse.

"There is an increasing lack of respect for authority, with more defiance, more confrontations, teachers having to ask and re-ask before pupils co-operate.

"Pupils expect to be given respect, but they don't want to give it back in return.

"There are complaints from teachers who find themselves being sworn at - and who find that very little is being done about it."

Aggression

While violence in the classroom can grab the headlines, it is the daily, low-level grind of aggressive and selfish behaviour that is sapping morale.

"Teachers are sick of it," she says.

Problems with behaviour are part of a "bigger picture" of social attitudes, she says, with teachers expected to pick up the pieces from families that have never enforced discipline.

"Parents might have avoided confrontations with their children - and school might be the only time when children are told 'no'."

Pupils also reflect a more self-centred way of life, with young people less used to sharing or working together.

"They have the idea that the right of the individual over-rules the rights of the majority."

Flexibility

Schools need to be given more control over who they include and exclude, she says, and parents need to support the idea of behaving well at school.

"It doesn't help that teachers are undermined by ministers," she says.

And she says that exclusion appeal panels, which can overturn exclusion decisions, should be scrapped.

Pupil behaviour could also be improved if schools had more flexibility over the curriculum and teachers had more autonomy.

She says that the emphasis on tests and targets can limit teachers' scope for motivating pupils and can lead to disaffection.

But there is an over-riding need, she says, for society to think about the type of places schools should be.

"We need to have a very hard look at education as a whole, rather than in a piece-meal way."

"In the end, you can't teach someone who doesn't want to learn."

See also:

28 May 01 | Education
06 Dec 02 | Education
19 Nov 02 | Education
26 Mar 02 | Education
06 Apr 00 | Education
07 Jan 03 | Education
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Education stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes