Lying teenagers need support

5th March 2004 at 00:00
As Raj Persaud points out (TES, February 13) it would be useful for teachers to know without doubt which student is lying and when.

However, teenage years are a time when children lie. It is part of growing up, separating from others and finding one's identity. In city schools in Britain, peer pressure is intense. Bullying, feuds, gang loyalty, put-downs, social pressures from peers as well as teachers can make schools intensely uncomfortable.

Mark Haddon describes a "pressurised, product-driven culture that this Government has tried to force on to education". Pupils reflect these pressures. Of course teenagers can be difficult.

That is why emotional and psychological support are so important. There are a variety of interventions which can encourage feelings of trust and good relationships for teachers, pupils and parents. For instance, supportive INSET can offer a space where teachers can begin to feel less scrutinised, less judged, more included as a team - and able to try out ways of working with conflict resolution in the classroom so as not to exclude.

Mediation with feuding kids, one-to-one therapy, drama groups, whole-class circles, circle groups with excluded kids - all these can improve relationships.

Lauraine Leigh

State registered arts therapist

Lauraine Leigh Consultancy

4 Clifton Road

Newbury, Berkshire

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