Here in Brazil hardly a week goes by without the news reporting a serious assault in schools, not just playgrounds, but school halls and classrooms; often watched or observed by other pupils, teachers and staff who do nothing to interfere.
This short video shows a brawl between two girls outside the classroom watched by a teacher. It’s a short clip, and quite tame by the standards of the clips shown last night on Fantastico, a programme that often exposes scandals and social problems.
Some of the scenes in the classroom were quite horrific.
I’m pretty sure that this is not restricted to Brazil, that it is becoming a worldwide trend. Occasionally we see some of the more serious cases of violence and bullying overseas in England or the USA, which supports my theory.
Classroom size must be a catalyst, because this trend is becoming more evident in society as politicians cut costs and increase the classroom numbers caused by rising populations.
Of course this is not the only factor, TV has to carry a huge part of the burden of guilt. The Globo (Brazil) channel has one of the longest running kids’ programmes, Malhação, which happens to be the worst possible influence on society that I have ever seen. Five days a week, violence, gossip, jealousy and vengeance are all portrayed as acceptable and normal in and out of the classroom.
This programme and others of its ilk around the world should be done away with, scrapped, because there is absolutely no social value. Quite the contrary, they are as anti-social as they can get.
The violence extends not only between students, but also against teachers.
But, I wonder if it is not time for a major change in
the way we educate, the way we force children into mass programming (it is no longer deemed worthy of being called education) situations.
Huge schools with massive rolls have become totally unmanageable, we need to look at breaking up these brainwashing units churning out half educated cattle many of whom don’t have even the basic reading and writing skills.
If there is ever to be a positive change in education we have to shift away from the paradigm as it is, because, socially, it is not working.
The costs of sending your kid to any school, public or private are horrendous, most families can’t even afford the public school system.
I have worked in a private (Catholic) primary and secondary girls school in Peru. Class sizes of 45 were the norm. The school was more interested in paying bums on seats than education. I had the worst behaved class in the school, secondary 3B, 13 year olds, 45 of them. Every teacher complained about this class, every teacher had girls from this class sent to the profesora titular (disciplinary teacher) daily, every teacher that is except me. I was questioned as to whether I found the class a problem, I fought for their exams results when I was told to scale them down in-line with other teachers, I cried when I left that school at the end of my contract and this class formed a guard of honour to the school gate.
I am not a trained school teacher. I have been a military teacher since I was 14 and some fool had the silly idea that I should be a corporal in cadets, which led me to being a teacher for 21 years before I got to Peru. But I look around me at the quality of teachers and I wonder, not castigating the many who range from good to brilliant, but they are out numbered by the ones who rate bad.
There has to be a change. Massive changes in teachers, numbers, methods, because what we have got isn’t working.