Monday, September 29, 2008

The Forlorn Hope

The Conservatives are rolling out that old chestnut again; ie Send the Army into Schools to Sort Them Out.

I've posted on this topic before and whilst it sounds like a great idea, a bit of thought about the realities of actually doing it; soon reveals the flaws.

Presumably they wish to recruit those with a good record during their time in the army, rather than those who went AWOL every other weekend, spent half their time in jail, or were kicked out for drugs. I wonder if Eddy Nugent might be interested?

However the sort of person that we could do with in teaching would very quickly get fed up in the schools they are needed in. It would not take long for them to discover that they were now utterly powerless; and any sanctions they might have been told are at their disposal can in fact be cheerfully ignored by the pupils.

(A note to anyone serving in the Army who might hope that sending a pupil to the Head is a bit like sending a Private to see the RSM. Unfortunately it's more like sending a Private to the cinema for the afternoon. I can already see the disappointment on your face when the offender returns laughing and joking because he has been given his 15th Final Warning or some brightly coloured paper report with a motto on it.)

No, a better idea which can still be wrapped up in a decent headline, would be to either Send the Army in to Sort Out the Parents, or Send the Teachers some Decent Weapons.


Anonymous said...

Oh this gets me so f**king cross! When oh when will these idiots learn that it doesn't matter if you bring in experts from the armed forces to help deal with disruptive pupils.

Yes discipline is very strong in the army, because the drill sargents have the power to put the fear of God in you and they have the punishments to back it up and the squadies CAN'T CHALLANGE their authority. What they say, gets done.

That's the problem in schools, the punishments we have are not strong enough. For a punishment to be effective they have to be scary and be so bad that you never want to get it. Students today are not bothered about lines or detentions and 85% of the time, their parents couldn't give a toss.

We should go back to the days where children are seen but not heard. Stop giving them so many ADULT privleges and freedoms. This softly softly placating of children has created a rod for our own backs, it's time to go back to the discipline of pre 1970s.

Until teachers have more effective deterants and more authority in their classrooms these problems will continue.

David said...

As an ex Army (23 years) now teacher (3 years) I agree - those who WANT to teach after a short or full career in the Army sould be encouraged but as you so rightly point out, unless you are lucky enough to get a good school (Thank You God for the Academy I work at) then you will be disappointed, angry and ready to apply the 24 killing blows to the miscreant from your bottom set....

oldandrew said...

Interesting choice of title for this blog entry.

The world's greatest living philosopher, Alasdair MacIntyre claimed:

“Teachers are the forlorn hope of the culture of Western modernity. I use that expression in the original sixteenth-century Dutch sense (verloren hoop) of an assault party sent out on some dangerous offensive mission in advance of the main forces, as well as in its later English sense of an enterprise on whose success we have to depend, but which is in fact bound to fail. For the mission which contemporary teachers are entrusted is both essential and impossible. It is impossible because the two major purposes teachers are required to serve are, under the conditions of western modernity, mutually incompatible. What are these purposes?

"The first is on the is among the purposes of almost all education almost everywhere; it is to shape the young person so that he or she may fit into some social rols and function that requires recruits. Athenian sophists, masters in medieval Dominican houses of study, Prussian ex-sergeants turned village schoolmasters and T.H. Green’s colleagues in the teaching of Literae Humaniores at Oxford all served this purpose quite as faithfully as any teacher of automechanics in a trade school. The second purpose is derived in its more specific form from the culture of the eitheenth-century Enlightenment, although it has of course its earlier antecedents. It is the purpose of teaching young persons how to think for themselves.. how to acquire independence of mind, how to be enlightened, as Kant understood `enlightenment`. These two purposes can be combined only if the kind of social roles and occupation for which a given education system is training the young are such that their exercise requires, or is at least compatible with, the possession of a general culture, mastery of which will enable each young person to think for him or herself.”

Donalbain said...

In the army, they have the ultimate deterrent. If you eventually fail to respond to all the sanctions they give you, they have big fucking guns and they can shoot you!