Lead by example

6th April 2001 at 01:00
I am sorry that I gave John Steadman ("Don't pander to 'disaffected' boys", TES, March 23) the impression that I believed that a new curriculum was the only solution to "disaffection" in adolescents.

I quite agree that there is a crisis of indiscipline in schools and understand his and other teachers' concern, having myself been subjected to physical and verbal abuse from children.

However, I am not sure what he means when he suggests a "new code of discipline". Rebellious teenagers are not likely to co-operate with a new code of conduct simply because they are told to. And I do not believe a civilised society would, or should, accept beating them into submission, or onsider bullying to be a reputable method of changing behaviour.

Alternatively, perhaps Mr. Steadman is advocating a code of behaviour based on treating others with respect and kindness.

But in my experience, even badly behaved children have a strong sense of justice and will view us as hypocrites if any code tells them to do something which we ourselves are not prepared to.

Perhaps we adults should examine how far we fall short of perfect standards of behaviour and consider how we need to change before we can presume to change young people's lives for the better.

Christine Lees

13, Islestone Court



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