Indiscipline is number one problem in schools

Dear Editor,

“It is easier to build strong children than to fix broken men. Frederick Douglass

Lately schools have been the centre of discussion regarding their conversion to scenes of abuse and crime. This is in addition to public schools falling behind in other subjects. However, there is one topic that is routinely omitted from any discussion aimed at resolving our education dilemma. That vital and critical component is the “disciplinary” shortcomings and realities that exist in far too many of our schools. Moreover, this critical aspect of the teaching-learning process is still being hindered and remedial measures need to be applied. Yes, the number one problem in (too many of) our schools is discipline. There are still too many disruptive students and uncaring parents in our midst. Too often, these students are tolerated and allowed to go unchecked, and too often they prevent teachers from teaching and students from learning. An answer must be found if improvement is to take place.

The truth is discipline problems occur for an assortment of reasons beginning with family upbringing. The students need help, and parents need to be held accountable for the disruptive conduct and flagrant behaviour of their children. Many of these children get very little support and involvement from their parents and other caregivers. They come to school unprepared: lack of sleep, nourishment, nurturing, supervision, and the like.  They come to school without pencil, paper or book, lacking a thirst for knowledge and a hunger for learning. Some of these issues/problems are beyond the scope of the classroom teacher. Correspondingly, these students act out and become disruptive in the classroom to the detriment of everyone else. They lack motivation and fail to understand the importance of getting a “good education.” Too often, parents, and in some cases grandparents do not care, or lack the capacity to bring their children/ grandchildren under control.

For a brief moment imagine how much more progress could be made with our children if we could only eradicate this “discipline problem.”  Parental involvement and family support are key components of the “education triad”: student-parent-teacher. One cannot overstress the fact that it   requires all three to ensure a quality education for all of our children.  Our children need to be and must be encouraged to perform and achieve at their maximum potential.

Yours faithfully,

Yvonne Sam

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