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To think that children in school should have some self-discipline?

(51 Posts)
Mishap Tue 01-May-12 18:20:38

I go into various schools to run workshops and find that, particularly in the primary schools (even in the top class) the children have very little self-control. They mess about and cannot seem to grasp that if you are answering one person's question, you cannot attend to their tale of what their auntie did last week! They just come out with whatever is in their head at the time and seem to have no concept of concentrating on what is going on.
I find it sad really as there is also no concept of putting effort into something in order to get something out of it - everything is "of the moment" and instant gratification. The really sad thing is that the few children who really want to get on and take part and learn something are constantly frustrated. And so am I!!
What do others think?

Stansgran Tue 01-May-12 18:30:27

I read some where that all the evil in the world came from people's inability to sit still in an empty room-meditation should be taught early on

tanith Tue 01-May-12 18:50:54

I think that having to compete for attention has something to do with it, larger classes , children and parents who either can't or won't give children individual attention , so children have learnt that he shouts loudest gets heard. Parents and teachers are under a lot of pressure to either work or try and pack lots into a day and its not good for anyone but its the way the world is now. Can you imagine how frustrating it is for a teacher who has to contend with it all day?
Childrens minds and mouths do run away with them sometimes its just excitement, its sad that you feel your time is spoilt by over enthusiasm maybe smaller groups could be the answer.

whenim64 Tue 01-May-12 18:58:51

My little grandsons will be starting school in September, when they will be 4 years and a week old. They are still very young and we have been thinking about how they will concentrate. We practise conversations in which they have to wait and be polite when others are talking, and we ask them to listen carefully to what we are saying as they are going to be asked a question soon. They are picking this concept up, and do like it when we say 'now you must listen carefully as we have a special question to ask you in a few minutes.' They compete with each other to answer the question first, and it ends in a free for all, so still some way to go! Crowd management with a large class of infants is not a job I would feel able to do - teachers have my admiration!

Hankipanki Tue 01-May-12 19:01:57

That must be so frustrating for you mishap

I am currently reading an interesting book "Quiet: The Power of Extroverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain. It seems that we value extroversion as apposed to introversion and reward our children accordingly. Hence a society of image conscious chatterers. As an introvert a lot of what Susan Cain writes resonates with me. However that does not deal with the natural extroverts.

I do think children need to be taught the value of listening and waiting and it needs to start early. At my gd's playgroup all the children have to sit and listen quietly to a story at storytime. Those that don 't have to sit outside the circle with one of the carers and are reminded to listen. They can ask questions later. It does appear to work gd has only had to sit outside once (so far). I would have thought that this is what happens in all playgroups, bulding foundations for future learning.

nanaej Tue 01-May-12 19:03:52

At the school where I worked we all expected children to listen when others were speaking and eventually most children understood and could do this ( by Y2 age seven) However for children who do not get the attention they need they try to grab it where they can . Also as Tanith said some children never get properly listened to when little or have the model at home so do not know how a conversation they do not always realise they are not behaving well! It is a skill that has to be taught and is on the curriculum as many kids now do not start school with well developed communication skills.

imjingl Tue 01-May-12 19:04:51

Have a word with the teacher before you visit. Get them to have a little talk with the children beforehand.

imjingl Tue 01-May-12 19:06:34

Primary school children are always going to be full of themselves. I hope.

It just needs someone to guide them where possible. Don't expect any improvement to last long though. They are children.

nanaej Tue 01-May-12 19:35:18

Agree with imjingl re children being full of themselves and enthusiastic etc but they should also be aware it is not right to disrupt things for others and that there are ways to behave when part of a group.

POGS Tue 01-May-12 21:24:31

I'm sorry but I do find parents lack skills of common sense. When I pick my GD up from school I watch the other parents and I am amazed how many times I see them not say hardly a word but carry on talking on their mobile phones. The kids just tag on behind and you can see there is very little connection between them and it is something the kids are used to. How tragic that we read reports of children starting school who are not toilet trained nor can communicate because they have so little connection at home.

There are poor little souls who grow up without parental love and then they get to school and simply do not know how to integrate. They need to be shown how to interact and I beleive this comes with classroom discipline which in turn shows children they need to conform to get be part of a group. The early years at school do mould their little minds and I think the foundation teachers are quite possibly the most important people in some childrens lives, how sad for them.

glammanana Tue 01-May-12 21:34:12

This thread could easily be tied up with another thread supporting conversation at the dinner table,it goes along way in teaching children how to behave when other people are talking.Also it saddens me when I take little ones into school playground in the mornings and hear the mothers shouting at their children at the top of their voices,how do you expect the children to behave if their parents perform as they do ?My heart goes out to the teachers they have such a responsability.

granbunny Tue 01-May-12 21:36:44

and when they leave primary school, totally full of themselves and completely lacking self-discipline, they come to secondary school, where they are bigger, less charming, more aggressive and still absolutely free from good manners!

imjingl Tue 01-May-12 21:49:08

That's more to do with home life than anything that happens in the classroom granbunny. Teachers do their best. Parents need to do more.

nanaej Tue 01-May-12 22:43:12

Children are only in school for 6 of the 24 hour day for190 days of the year! All research shows that family life is still the biggest influence..schools work extra hard when they have children who lack what many would consider basic skills but it is home that will make the biggest difference! Unfortunately some parents expect school to do their parenting for them and in my experience that cuts across all socio-economic groups! Have also had parents asking me to tell their kids off for things done when in parental care! Schools do teach about manners /litter/ good behaviour etc etc but if not reinforced outside school ......

Bags Wed 02-May-12 06:06:48

Discipline is learned at home in the first few pre-school years. If children haven't learned discipline, including self-discipline, by the time they start school, it's well nigh impossible to teach them it.

Classroom control by a skilled teacher is something else. Why isn't the class teacher keeping control when you visit mishap?

Mishap Wed 02-May-12 17:32:30

Sometimes bags there is a teacher there! It seems to be deemed acceptable.

During one singing workshop that I did (with the teacher present) two girls just wandered off and started drawing pictures at the side of the room - "Oh they are just taking a break" said the teacher - what!?

I am probably very old-fashioned, but how do you grasp the need to put some effort into something in order to get something out if no-one encourages a bit of staying power?

I really do think that it is connected with the sort of entertainment/media to which the children are exposed. Everything is "in your face" and rushes from one thing to the next. All surface and no depth.

The children I know who seem happiest are those who have developed an interest - birds, plants, space, dinosaurs etc. - as they then make the effort to look into it in depth and get absorbed. They can then experience the satisfaction of knowledge and of finding things out.

Several local children expressed an interest in being part of a band so we set this up for them - but they could not grasp that you had to learn the basics of the instruments first! - they thought it would just happen!!

And some of my GC cannot stick with things if it involves effort - lego etc is flung across the room if it does not go as they want first time, even though I have made sure that the task is not outside their capabilities.

I am beginning to sound like a grumpy old woman - but I feel sad for them - I think they are missing out.

imjingl Wed 02-May-12 17:45:08

Sounds like those girls did have an interest. Just not in music.

You don't really set your grandchildren 'tasks' with their lego do you?!

imjingl Wed 02-May-12 17:46:35

Why did you set up a band for children who could not play instruments? Wasn't that a bit chicken/egg?

Mishap Wed 02-May-12 18:07:41

They told us they could play!!! - honest! And even brought instruments with them!

The singing girls had opted to be part of a choir!!!

And of course I do not set the GC tasks! - they decide they want to make something and then find that if it involves any effort they can't be bothered - what I meant was that if they had picked up something that would be too difficult and frustrating I would would have tried to deflect them onto something else that I knew they might manage! I am not Mrs Hitler - truly!!

imjingl Wed 02-May-12 18:28:30


I know you're not Mrs Hitler. grin

(they like me being a bit controversial on here hmm)

harrigran Wed 02-May-12 18:42:52

I think children do have a problem with concentrating on the task in hand. It probably has a lot to do with endless choices, TV,videos, computers and not forgetting all the electronic games. If a child gets bored with one activity they move on to the next.
My GD will sit and watch a film (if it has a good story) from start to finish and ask questions related to the subject. When she comes to me I get instructions not to let her watch videos as she should be doing something more creative.
Mishap I feel your frustation about the band, we do see all these wannabes that think they will be famous without any effort on their part.

granbunny Wed 02-May-12 20:00:13

imjingl That's more to do with home life than anything that happens in the classroom granbunny. Teachers do their best. Parents need to do more.
yes, partly true, jingl. but if primary schools weren't so very different from secondaries, we would cut out a lot of the problems.

nanaej Wed 02-May-12 22:27:44

I have to say that if more secondary schools were more like primaries and took note of what children can already do instead of ignoring primary reports etc transition to secondary school would be a lot better for more children. Education should not be a factory production line just 'preparing' children for the next stage of education.

Mamie Thu 03-May-12 07:21:50

One of the best bits of work I ever did was when we took the Year 7 teachers to spend time with the Year 6 children before they transferred to secondary. When they saw what the children could actually do, they had a very different view of them when they arrived at the secondary school in September. The children made much faster progress in Year 7, because expectations were higher.

whenim64 Thu 03-May-12 07:34:44

That's interesting Mamie. It's always the other way round, with primary school children going to their higher school for a visit here. My grandson took a retrograde step when he left his primary school. He and the rest of his small class were a year in front of the curriculum, but had to start afresh with the rest of his class, and for the first year he has been bored and losing cncentration. I wonder how the secondary school would manage this, though, when they take children from a number of different schools?