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Is answering back always the pupil being rude?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by RaymondSoltysek, May 13, 2011.

  1. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Are you saying that sometimes children are treated unfairly and have a right to stand up for themselves? While that seems intuitively right, I think it has to be looked at very carefully on a case by case basis. I'm not one to say that the teacher is always in the right, but I also think that pupils need to learn how to handle such situations, and perhaps have mechanisms in place to help them do that: I wouldn't say that a child being confrontational in the class is the best way to secure their rights.
  2. I must admit I am taking this from a very personal point of view
    It just happens to be that when I was a pupil I took the teachers word as authority and subsequently have been pushed around in my working life until I finally took the stand. At from this point I has risen to be head of all sciences in the Secondary school I work in.

    I think my point is less about teaching the students to be confrontation, but to stand up for themselves when they are in the right. It's more of a 'life skill' that is learnt in a school environment.
    And as a final question, what action do you think a student should take if they feel they have been treated unfairly.
    Introducing a more 'mechanisms' seems to take the whole argument out of proportions and into a new level, that ultimately isn't required.
  3. Doesn't it rather depend on what's seen as 'answering back'? There's a big difference between: '*ff *ff b*tch' (which happens; oh yes, it happens) and 'I'm sorry, teacher; I think you've misunderstood what I was doing', or something of that nature. After all, we're incessantly exhorted to avoid confrontation; why shouldn't the kids get a bit of training in that respect?
  4. I agree that it's one of those things that really needs to be taken on a case by case basis. Sometimes you can just tell when a pupil is being disrespectful, and when they seem genuinely a bit confused about why they've been told off.
    Personally I love it when a pupil says 'sir I think you're wrong about that, and here's why...' and actually engages in a serious discussion about a relevant issue to the lesson (I still maintain they love RE deep down...). Self determination and owning your own opinions are important skills in being a mature adult. Answering back however doesn't really fit that category.
  5. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    In response to the OP; context is all. If the teacher is expressing an admonition that is reasonable and for the benefit of the class/ classroom, then even if the student feels a little piqued, they should bite their tongue and get on with it. If they feel strongly about it, they can address it after lesson. One student can't decide to dictate the pace and content of the lesson just because they get the hump. After all, they are in a subordinate position of authority in the room, and any developing human needs to acknowledge that the needs of the group often outweigh the needs of the individual, and that sometimes, we really don't have the right to speak.
    That said, if a child is openly insulted by a teacher (say, 'You're so fat, you can really move!') then the teacher deserves what he gets.There are limits, after all- even for David Starkey.
  6. "you think your better than the rest of us, so you don't follow the rules that everyone else has to follow." - certainly the teacher is wrong to say this without good evidence that the kid does indeed think they're better than the rest.
    Not sure I'd advise the pupil to react though, unless it happens often.
  7. Unfortunately I think many of the more unpleasant exchanges that happen on this forum between the 'experts' and those who don't always agree with them, are based on false perceptions of what constitutes 'bad behaviour'. Most of the strategies advised by the experts are fine; sure they work, in certain situations... eg, in a well-run school, with lots of good management backup and a good solid, supportive atmosphere among the staff. The experts, (whoever they are; they often present themelve as teacher trainers) seem to think these conditions prevail in most schools today. They do not; ask supply teachers; they're the ones who can compare. Students are in a special situation; they have to 'fit in' everywhere, in the school they're assigned to and back in the PGCE classroom. But supply teachers get around to a lot of different schools; they see the best and the worst.... and if a school is good, they're the first ones to know.
    Anyway, those people who keep on repeating that they've tried all the strategies and they don't find them working, simply have to be listened to. If no-one knows what to do about those kids who are like the worst of the participants on the Jamie Show, well, then let's please say so: 'Neither would I know what to do if a kid openly insulted me in a school that didn't have supportive management or staff relations. If the behaviour is bad enough, you should try to involve you union, or even the police. Let's explore the situation together.' Some kind of approach like that; not this 'de-haut-en- bas' tone that's so demoralising for those who are struggling.
    A lot of people seem to think we're talking about 'King Street Junior' (rather an endearing programme that used to be on Radio 4 ages ago). But nowadays it's more like 'The Blackboard Jungle', and those writers who approach the question from the 'Educational Battleground' stance are far more in tune with what the reality is for most people. Most teachers could manage in King Street Junior, no matter what the kids came up with; I don't see how anyone can even survive in some of the situations that happen nowadays.
  8. Sure does, in my book. But it's the kind of thing that, when it happens, we're more or less supposed to believe that we're lucky we didn't get a mouthful of obscenity along with it. Seems to me this kind of thing doesn't even start in a well-run school: even if the kid is allowed or even encouraged at home to speak to adults like this, the school ethos should be quite clear about what's allowed and what isn't. I'd say it counts as 'insolence', and should not have to be tolerated by a professional person who's just trying to do his/her job. But what can you do if there are supposedly 'responsible' people all around who can't /won't admit a) that such stuff goes on, and b) that there isn't much you can do about it without support. Some would even say it's your fault for not having 'engaged' the little baggage sufficiently.

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