School and Society
According to an expert Sociologist children are today treated with tolerance which allows for the rejection of authority. Paradoxically parents are often critical of lax school discipline whilst tolerating such behavior at home which would not have been widely accepted 20 or 30 years ago. Even more difficult to understand is that any step to make discipline in school more effective is questioned.
Being brought up in a tolerant atmosphere children are often shocked when attempts are made to make them behave reasonably at school. They find themselves having to adopt to two quite different behavioral patterns. This has a traumatic effect on some children which is itself an incitement to indiscipline.
Society as a whole appears to accept that majority of children want to learn and that to enable them to do so discipline must be maintained in schools. Schools in this age cannot operate in isolation whatever happens and whatever is tolerated in the world has an effect on the school. The attitude of adults which whom children come into contact, either by direct experience or through media condition the attitude of the pupil to all influences on their lives.
Until recently the few who disrupted school with extreme behavioural problem were from environments which thrived on violence and misbehaviour. But the growth of mass media specially the visual ones and the decline of censorship has introduced a much wider group to extremes of behaviour. Thus, a society which expects and believes that its children must be educated in a reasonably ordered situation, tolerates the daily visual exposition of activities which can undermine and destroy that reasonable order. The problem arising from this contradiction is when schools attempts the reasonable order which society wants the support of the society is conditional. And in the long run this situation becomes intolerable. There is an increasing amount of violence and disruptive behaviour. Liberal attitudes among adults have probably given encouragement to these youngsters who have such disruptive inclinations. Be it any country one sees the difficulty into which undue tolerance can lead.
Rules represent order and however anarchic we may feel, we need order. No one knows completely the answer to the problem of maintaining order in schools. Schools cannot operate on their own. This is a social problem which cannot be disregarded by society and left to the schools. Neither must the schools assume that the teaching profession alone can deal with it. One reason for the dissatisfaction of the young with the society and family pattern in which they grow is there is no hard and fast line to give them security. They find themselves growing in an atmosphere of adult uncertainty leaving them bewildered.
Parental involvement and understanding is vital to the schools, both in the avoidance of extreme indiscipline and to its solution when it occurs. The main duty of the parents is to equip the child for living and for making the best of life, and how to benefit from the advantages of being a social animal. One of the lessons should be that in order to get the advantage certain sacrifices have to be made.
Society must face up to the problem society is creating. Tolerance overindulgence neglect of standards abandonment of guidance unwillingness to accept reason are social attitudes which are affecting the school. At the same time social neglect in poor housing, unemployment deprivation lack of provisions are also stimulating and fostering the development of bad attitude.
To discipline a child means to teach him how to live with others. It does not mean breaking but teaching not only through rules but its own attitude towards others and our own towards it. It is essential to convince that it is possible and also if necessary to disagree but this need not involve loss of dignity.
The thinking needs long term plan for social change. The fact is schools have their problems. They must be dealt with and society must supply the support to the schools. This is demand which involves the protection and well-being of the majority of children who want to get the best out of the very effective educational provision. If investment in children's education is investment in our society's future then it is essential that society safeguard its investment by supporting those to whom it has entrusted the realization of its children's future.