News & Blogs

ASC News and Blogs
"It takes a village but WA young people are being abandoned by theirs": Belinda Provis's thought-provoking piece in WAToday

Originally published on WAToday. An extract is below. 

Sadly, after four-plus decades of working in education, I am increasingly feeling that our schools are becoming counter-cultural, whistling in the wind about the importance of a values-driven life.

But how do our young people make sense of such messages when they frequently see adult behaviour that models neither kindness nor respect?

We all know the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” and it feels to me our young people are witnessing an increasingly disrespectful village.

While we are all appalled to read of teachers’ shocking experiences of anti-social and violent behaviour by some students – including a number of very young children – let’s not forget, in attempting to address this, that schools do not exist in a vacuum.

There is delight in reporting the name-calling and disparaging comments uttered by some elected leaders in this country towards anyone who disagrees with them.

Road-rage footage is common on the nightly news, and I even recall over the recent festive season, supposedly a time of goodwill to all, a retail spokesperson pleading through our TV screens for Christmas customers to stop physically assaulting shop assistants.

We don’t have to look too much further to see other examples of the village modelling undesirable behaviour. A quick skim through social media comments shows the vitriol some adults display when someone dares suggest a differing view.

Our young people are witnessing all of this behaviour and more every day...

...In the classroom, we would all agree every student, teacher and education assistant deserves the right to learn and work in a safe and respectful environment.

So where can we, as a community, start?

Rather than expecting too much from a new behaviour curriculum teachers may be asked to deliver, or reverting to increasingly irrelevant, traditional classrooms with desks in rows, facing the front – both responses suggested in the recent Senate inquiry – why don’t we, as a community, make a resolution to model the behaviour we expect from the young people in our village, and to call out bad behaviour when we see it?

Read the full story on WAToday.