The issue of trust

A conversation going on on my friends blog got me to thinking about trust and all the issues surrounding it within education.

Parents trust schools to educate their kids. Schools trust teachers to teach kids, and to not abuse them in any way. Teachers trust parents to send their kids to school on time every day, wearing correct uniform and with the correct equipment. Teachers trust pupils to do their homework, not to cheat on exams, to show up for detention, to go to lessons on time, to do the work and to pay attention.

That’s a lot of trust.

In my humble opinion, one of the main problems with education system at the moment is that much of this trust is broken down. Many parents don’t trust schools any more, not the way they should. Reports home, phone calls home, parents evenings etc already take up a lot of time, and new suggestions regarding recording progress online for parents to read would make a teachers workload even heavier. Teachers are subject to so much paperwork and control from above that they are overworked and under pressure to be accountable to the head and the government. Parents often don’t live up to the trust we place in them. Some parents don’t give their children breakfast, they don’t send their children to school in uniform and some don’t even send them to school at all. We can’t trust pupils not to cheat, so we have to watch them like hawks. We can’t trust them to do detentions so we have to go and collect them. We can’t trust them to have the proper equipment so we have to keep a stock of pens to give out on demand. Hell, we can’t even trust them to learn the subject properly, so we hand hold them through the whole process of exams.

Here’s the thing, by not trusting we are making it so that pupils have lost all sense of responsibility for their own behaviour and their own learning. We don’t trust them to learn, so why should they when teachers will do all the work for them?

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3 Responses to The issue of trust

  1. Karita says:

    We don’t trust them to learn, so why should they when teachers will do all the work for them?

    Exactly. It all gets very circular. We don’t trust them to learn, so we hold their hands, so they don’t learn, so we don’t trust them to learn, so we hold their hands…

    What would be your solution to the problem?

  2. Julie says:

    I had a teaching teacher who said “School is where young people go to watch old people work.” The sad part is that it’s true, and real authentic learning (I think) often can’t take place in a school setting.

    My grandmother says to do your work as well as you can and be kind. I guess that’s what I hope to do, at the end of the day.

  3. MissBHave says:

    Ah Karita – you ask a lot. I don’t know if a humble soon to be Newly Qualified Teacher has an answer to this quandary.

    As a single, solitary teacher you just hope that something you teach them goes in and stays in. As a languages teacher I think I’m in a good position to encourage independence. No matter how shiny and exciting the lesson, they still need to go home and learn! I think that’s one reason languages aren’t popular – in order to do well you do have to work!

    And Julie, I agree. I always said I learned more German/French from my exchange visits than from lessons at school (though that may not be entirely accurate.) Experience is the best teacher, and school can’t really simulate that. All we can do is attempt to give our pupils as authentic an experience as we can.

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