Shouldn't pastoral roles focus more on the positive pupils?

13th April 2007 at 01:00
Shouldn't pastoral roles focus more on the positive pupils instead of wasting time and energy on those who 'don't and won't'?

Sara, Basildon

A I'm beginning to think too much time is spent on people who are trouble.

They can pull the whole class down.

The well-motivated pupils resent the time that's spent on them. I think you should ignore bad behaviour as far as possible and, where you can't, the pupil should be removed from the class.

In tutorial sessions, we're taking a new "get tough" approach with the badly behaved. The world is tough and you've got to get on with it, not offload on to others and expect adults to pick up the pieces.

If they are sad rather than bad, it's a different matter. Just because they don't make a fuss, you shouldn't ignore it. They need counselling and professional help.

Jan, west London

A Many children who have been labelled "don't and won't" have been told that they are stupid or useless and will never amount to anything by the very people they trust and look up to the most - parents and teachers. This has a massive impact on their expectations, self-esteem and perception of what they can achieve.

It is the job of the teacher to create a safe environment for all young people so they can discover or rediscover their curiosity for learning and rebuild their confidence. A good sense of humour and an ability to find fun in learning are vital.

When we are having a good time, our bodies release endorphins to create even greater feelings of happiness and euphoria.

And dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and known as the "learning chemical", is released when we have either been given or are expecting to receive a reward.

So, every teacher and pupil should ask themselves: "Am I having fun?" And, if not, "Why not?" and "What am I doing about it?" School should be the best party in town, or as Socrates once said, education should be a "festival of the mind".

Nick, Kent

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