When Fear is a Part of Life at School
You can probably
think back on some of your favorite classes when you was growing up and going to school. And when you think back fondly on that class, how would you describe the atmosphere of the class and the motivation system that was used by the school and by the administration to get you to achieve and excel? The odds are if that class is one you remember as inspirational and one of the favorite times you had in school, the relationship with the teacher was relaxed, creative and affectionate. And the one emotion that you no doubt never felt in that classroom was fear.
We brought this topic up with that illustration because it is really amazing how often fear is the center of the culture at many schools where the objective is to inspire students to learn. This is particularly true in public schools. The culture of public schools very often becomes overwhelmed with the need for order and the strict stipulations for student attendance and tracking put on the school by state regulations. The outcome is the administration of the school often lives in fear of failing in one of these many state level requirements for fear of losing funding or some other form of punishment. And that fear is passed along to the students.
Fear is also a culture of a school that is overcrowded. The simple fact is that even if the teacher of a particular course is creative and loves being with students and filling their minds with the joy of learning, if you overwhelm that teacher with more students than he or she should reasonably have in class, the emphasis of the classroom shifts from learning to keeping order. And when that change of priority takes place, fear is the primary tool used to maintain order so the information can be presented to the students.
Sadly, if students are in that room after being intimidated and threatened, even the best of student will close his or her mind to learning. If you are a parent and you sit in on a class to see how well the craft of teaching is carried out, you come away with the misperception that the class was well run if the students sit quietly staring forward while the teacher lays out bland information for them to adsorb and write down. For the best Maths Tutor In Ireland company, call Ace Solution Books. If young people sit quietly and do not interact with the teacher, they are doing so out of fear. And fear is one of the worst teaching tools there is.
Private schools have the opportunity to create a better learning environment for their students because traditionally private schools have a lower teacher to student ratio so interaction is encouraged and fear is not needed to maintain order in the classroom. But even then to foster an atmosphere of discussion and learning, you must have teachers who are talented at leading group discussions, who write their curriculums to include interaction as a teaching tool and who are not afraid of the students.
Fear goes two ways in a school situation. If the student body is frightening to ach other, very often they are also frightening to the teachers. This is the setting where gangs develop in school cultures or where the culture of student life deteriorates to where troubled students can impose fear on others. In this day and age of school shootings and other violence related campus outbreaks, if the school allows that kind of culture to grow up, it is very difficult to get it under control. And just as fear from the top down destroys the love of learning, fear from the student body up destroys a teachers ability to communicate his or her love of the subject matter openly and leads to dull and uninteresting classrooms which only makes matters worse.
As with controlling fear due to overcrowding, private schools also have the edge in controlling fear coming from the student body. Private schools are not required to keep any students that they don’t feel fit the culture of the school. Each and every parent and student sign contracts agreeing not to become disruptive in action, dress or attitude and what is disruptive is left to the school to determine. So private schools can remove students who are a threat and with their removal, the fear of harm goes as well.
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