The Absorbent Mind of a Child Functions with Urgency and Desperation

A story was told of a boy named Isa who was taken to his village to live with his maternal grandparents at the age of five years. Isa’s father yielded to this request because of his confidence in the moral standards of his wife’s parents. In the first few years, it seemed as though everything was alright because Isa gradually became responsive to his traditional value system. His parents were quite impressed to hear him speak their native language perfectly.

Their bubble, however, burst at a birthday party Isa attended when he was on holiday with his parents in their township house. There was a sudden uproar and children were screaming. The few parents who were around ran towards the direction of the noise. It was an unbelievable sight. Isa was on top of a slightly bigger boy on the floor in a serious fight. It was a struggle separating Isa from the other boy. Isa’s mother was ashamed and embarrassed when she saw the ugly injuries her son gave the other boy on his neck and face. The other boy’s mother could not hide her feelings.

“Madam, from where did you bring this beast into this decent environment?” she asked pensively.

Isa’s mother apologised to the host and the family whose child Isa fought with and hastily left the party in humiliation. His father was also embarrassed by the horrible incident.  Isa’s parents therefore took a studied look at their child’s personality formation and value system. Their findings revealed Isa as a child who would go to any length to violently attack anyone physically and verbally as long as a wrong is perceived. The boy he fought with at the party only stepped on his new shoes mistakenly.

Isa’s parents didn’t have to search too far to understand the environment Isa acquired the aggressive attitude from. His siblings were decent and emotionally stable. The need to ensure that their son was properly located in a decent environment for the necessary value re-orientation was obvious to Isa’s parents.

It is noteworthy that children urgently and desperately   absorb environmental values and attitudes through the practices and experiences of people around them. Parents should be conscious of this in deciding on the people they accommodate in their homes, the communal environments where their children are raised, the audio and video films and programmes their children are exposed to, the disciplinary measures their children are exposed to by their teachers and caregivers. It is good to raise children in environments with good values that children will feed on.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

Advertisements

A School at the Disciplinary Turning Point: the Way Forward

A disciplinary confusion is not so easy to identify in a school because teachers in such schools are always seen coercing or threatening students with force and aggression to make them perform one activity or the other. School and class prefects have to necessarily bully other children to extract obedience to simple instructions. It is a common sight, and in fact seems right for pupils and students to always be found crying, pleading or serving one form of punishment or the other even while academic activities are going on.

This situation is even worse in primary schools where activity-based teaching methods are no longer used, while children are expected to behave like adults and always made to feel guilty of noise-making.  I had to complain at some point to the school authorities because almost all of the children in a nursery class of school were always told to kneel down, close their eyes and raise their hands up when  parents came to pick their children after school. The teacher’s explanation when I asked was that they were always making noise.

Teachers in such environments are always heard making negative comments about children and talking in anger and frustration. Love and confidence in student-teacher relationships are usually at the lowest level. Students resent their teachers and learning is negatively affected.  Despite the ‘efforts’ of teachers, acts of rebellion are common among the students in such a school. No wonder such schools would usually always describe her graduating students as ‘stubborn’ and also accommodate one form of exam malpractice or the order from the students during external exams.

The way forward for any school at the disciplinary turning point is a reorientation of its educational philosophies and methodologies, change to the non-abusive and acceptable disciplinary approach, training and re-training of teachers, and close monitoring of teachers to ensure that they fully comply with the prescribed improved method. A school in transition to the better method should be ready to contend with the actions of some teachers who would device strategies to resist change and make comments that would imply that the improved method would not work.

Readers should watch out for more on this topic.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka