In your own time - Classroom flatulence, sleepy teens and note rage

2nd April 2010 at 01:00
Online forum users debate the finer points of rectal exams and World of Warcraft

It is a pedagogical question that has baffled the finest minds in education. What is the best way to respond when a pupil farts in class? Thankfully, the regulars in the TES online staffroom have suggestions.

Bombaysapphire says that, if pupils collapse into giggles, her standard response is to calm them down by growling: "Right - so I need to write to the examiner and tell them that my class can't answer questions on X because that was the lesson when someone farted?"

"It usually works," she adds. "Though with a less hyper group I usually offer a cork."

Other suggested responses include the classic: "Blimey, what have you been eating?" or "Who needs to go to the toilet?"

JRTowner trumps this with advice from a colleague. "Tell the culprit that clearly if they can't control their bodily functions then they need to see a doctor who will have to do an internal examination. I then proceed to describe the gloves, lube and bending over position in great detail. I end with saying I have letters ready to post to parents recommending this examination so unless the pupil can control themselves I will be sending this letter at the end of the day."

Regulars in the forum are equally despairing about the apparent loss of note-taking skills among the younger generation.

"I was astounded at Uni that there were so many people who couldn't listen to someone and take note of the salient points," writes thebigonion.

Echo_blue07 has a simple answer to why pupils cannot take notes: "Spoon-feeding." But Eureka! thinks the skill is overrated. "Note-taking is for people of a nervous disposition," he writes. "Whenever I am at a meeting and I see people scribbling stuff down, I think 'what a waste of time!' They are only doing it because they want to be seen to be keen."

Another perennial question is whether schools should start their days later to help teenagers.

The ongoing experiment at Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside, which has been trialling later starts for a few years now, sparks mixed reactions from teachers.

Lennybun regards it as sensible: "Teenagers aren't quite there yet with adult timekeeping," he writes. "They need more sleep and naturally will sleep later."

Cariadwch's reply is more cynical: "Isn't that because they've been up playing World of Warcraft until 4am?"


Should pupils be forced to take 'bleep tests' to gauge their physical fitness?

YES - 51%

NO - 49%

Next week's question - Would teachers make good MPs?

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