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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mainstream Education


There is concern that some students are just not succeeding in mainstream schools, that their behaviour problems are simply too extreme and that it is becoming a health and safety issue for teachers.
This in the Herald today…

Graham Young, president of the Secondary Principals' Association, says schools are increasingly having to act as social welfare agencies.

He believes it is time to ask whether teenagers with serious behaviour problems should be educated separately.


Here’s what I think – yes there needs to be some type of alternative education centers set up for kids who would drop out of school anyway or get expelled because of their behaviour issues. I’m on the board of trustees for Youthline, and we run an alternative education center that has some amazing kids in it, but who simply don’t work in ‘mainstream’ education. But alternative education needs to be seen as a last resort, and my beef with Graham (I was arguing with him on Radio NZ last week) is that he is the sort of guy who would use alternative education as the first resort to disruptive teenagers as opposed to the last resort.

I don’t think ‘mainstream’ education works for everyone and difficult kids do need extra resources and help, but in a world of education as business, troublesome students become a problem to the bottom line by supposedly damaging their precious bankable reputations. Of course you can’t have teachers threatened or other students held back – but the threshold has to be high so as to not allow schools the ability to just dump the problem kids and keep the ones that will make them look good. Alternative Education centers for those deemed too much trouble have to be heavily resourced with very low teacher/student ratios, and the Government would have to cough up a lot more cash for this to be feasible.

18 Comments:

At 27/9/06 10:24 am, Anonymous Semisi H said...

I'd favour sticking all such kids in the army, learn a bit of discipline, teamwork, respect for authority, sense of pride etc

 
At 27/9/06 11:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck you man, the Army dosent want your rubbish. Fuk the Army dosent even have enuff bullets to play with. They gotta point the broomstick and yell bang! Go back and play with Sione's knutts you phule!

 
At 27/9/06 11:16 am, Anonymous deano said...

Alternative schools- sure, not a bad idea, but if they cost a lot more per student than normal schools (remember this is our tax dollars we are talking about here) then I am not in favor. If they cost relatively the same amount, then worth a try.

As a teacher myself I am a bit bewildered by all the teachers complaining about out of control students. Yes they are there- but no, you don't have to put up with them. If a student does something violent, you write it down, and report it. The student only has limited amount of chances with violent behaviour. If they slip up too many times or too strongly, they are expelled.

 
At 27/9/06 11:20 am, Anonymous Sione said...

I resent your racism anon...too gutless to put your name to your post huh?

 
At 27/9/06 11:26 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck you Sione. My name is Sione too. If you were right here i'd take my chandall off and slap u round the fukken ears with it!!! Now get back on the subject so we dont put little boys in jail with those old bastards, who wanna do bad things to them. Thats what Don Brash would do aye!!!

 
At 27/9/06 11:29 am, Anonymous Sione said...

Anon was obviously one of those students who didnt quite fit 'the mainstream' ha ha. Don't worry there are always those 'adult education' classes you can go to...

 
At 27/9/06 11:30 am, Anonymous Semisi H said...

All the evidence points to Don 'Juan' Brash being into chicks, not dudes, dude.

 
At 27/9/06 11:32 am, Anonymous Christian said...

Maybe we could bring back workhouses for these kids, the devil makes work for idle hands...

 
At 27/9/06 11:34 am, Blogger bomber said...

...
OI YOU KIDS - Anon, cut the personal abuse shit - I don't want to start banning people for not playing nicely in the sandpit ok - Deano - I'm honestly shocked that you are a teacher (in the nicest possible way)

 
At 27/9/06 3:06 pm, Anonymous deano said...

Not all teachers are bleeding heart ultra-liberals wearing fake-ass bone carvings Bomber!

 
At 27/9/06 3:07 pm, Anonymous deano said...

(although you've got to pretend to be one to get into T-Col)

 
At 27/9/06 3:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, so we're stuck with things how they are?

As usual, some of us are so afraid of damaging the self-esteem of those 'who simply don't work in 'mainstream' education' that these kids get chance after chance until they finally drop out whenever the government lets them, sans literacy, sans workable skills.

Bomber paints a nice picture for alternative education centres, and if the cost if more, then hopefully it will be balanced out when the kids avoid the ultimate alternative education centre currently re-educating Tim Selwyn.

As long as the AECs don't make the kids ride in a special orange bus, or wear uniforms with arrows or anything, isn't it aces all around?

And it's a bit easy to characterise this as a debate driven by schools who just want to dump the thick kids.

Any parent with a teenager doesn't want them stuck in a class with a bunch of numb-nuts who monopolise 95 percent of the teacher's time. The school's reputation after all isn't some artificial PR pumped up by the principal (unless you're Alison whats-her-face); it's usually a reflection of the kids' pride and achievements. So why snigger at that?

 
At 27/9/06 3:25 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
Grin - Ok Deano, your secret is safe with us - but doging the Teachers Union hit squads must take up a lot of your time - incidentally Deano - what were your thoughts about the new Teacher suggestions on physical contact with students?

Anon - I think you raise a couple of good points, but are you really saying that the kids who don't work out at school should just get written off? Doesn't that have moch worse knock on effects latter? And I've met some of the kids in Youthlines alternative education classes and in other alternative education schools, and yes these kids are a handful at times, but they are also kids who have had a pretty tough time dealing with shit that would slow down most adults. I just don't agree with shrugging and saying so what, I think we need to try harder.

 
At 27/9/06 3:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bomber, you answer your own question. Don't write them off - build more AECs so kids don't tool around in mainstream schools for years.

I'm guessing that the primary schools can already pick the kids who need a different kind of education. When I went to school in the 80s, kids got streamed from day one down to the level where the no-hopers studied art history and drama (or cut their split ends or whatever).

So, build an AEC instead of a youth remand centre.

 
At 28/9/06 6:50 pm, Anonymous deano said...

Bomber- the new teacher guidlines for physical contact with students make sense, but male teachers will continue to be wary, I think. Little will change and smart teachers will still be more careful than they probably would have to be if they were just general members of society interacting with children.

 
At 29/9/06 7:12 pm, Anonymous nathan said...

All that this shows is how the "mainstream" education in this country is so crappy.
The push towards a bell curve average for students, holding back those that excell so that those who can't keep up don't get left behind is rubbish.
NCEA, ha ha ha ha ha...
Time to rebuild the whole system from the ground up.

 
At 3/10/06 10:50 pm, Blogger ¤°Z°¤-Luke-¤°Z°¤° said...

im in mainstream skool people. its ok, systems ok, just too easy kind of and we all just dont bother

 
At 5/10/06 12:26 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
The reality is that the bullshit authoritarian lovin nature of some schools simply fail to cater for kids who have had a crises and only start to rebel against such systems - we need alternative education to help those who would simply drop out of school altogether, thus sowing the seeds for future problems. But the smack 'em brigade always jump up and down about that.

 

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