Our trainee has expressly been told by parents to beat knowledge into students and monks have told me that without a cane, our ideas are unlikely to work. Of course, our ideas are unusual enough with a cane, but without one; well, forget it! On this subject, I have an irreversibly bias viewpoint. I am fully aware that my bias colours my ability to empathise and to walk in their shoes. There is never a situation where I feel beating is appropriate; at school or at home. I have walked in shoes wet with sores and blood before, I don’t wish to cover another mile.
The dual nature of the reverence of the family, the pressure to succeed in whichever form that may be according to your family and the fear of beatings doesn’t combine for a sponge-like memory dedicated to learning. As students are not able to self-study, it is hard for them to do anything bar memorise the material. Which leads to more beatings and increased family pressure to do well. We have previously lamented that ‘bad’ students shouldn’t be ignored as it increases tensions and pressure as well as affirming that school is a bad place to be. Add beatings to the list and you end up with a frail culture of children who don’t know whether they will be left alone to fail or whipped to succeed; it’s not hard to imagine why these children are suspicious of school and view book learning as that which is only suitable for others and not themselves.
Ignoring children teaches them that they are not worthy of being taught. They have no sense of value in the first major social institution they encounter. If they can’t keep up in a class of 60 there is no provision made in case they are hard of hearing or lacking in eye-sight. Ignoring children pushes them to the edge of society where they learn to stay, hampered by a lack of social mobility and self-belief brought on by years of looking in from the periphery. It heightens anxiety and loneliness.
Beating children however brings aggression and violence to the forefront. It encourages children to prey on the weak and solve problems with violence. It teaches them to be fearful of affection as they associate the calm before the storm with the next beating. It is confusing for children who need a stable pattern and structure to their days. There is no link between doing poorly in an exam and being beaten or ignored; the child does not learn to be better to avoid a beating. If they are lucky, they learn to be one of the ignored. They do not acquire self-study skills to avoid being beaten, and they do not learn to accept the pressure of disappointing their family; they learn only to fear and ignore the pressures of learning as they associate school and test taking with failure, disappointments and beatings.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer
Mining for Gold
As Different as Day and Night
Creating Classroom Culture
First Day of Class
Observing Teacher Training
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