Who is to Blame for Students' poor Behaviour? | Muhammed Hussain

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Society is a system. Institutions and people have to co-operate to run society’s everyday activities smoothly. We need to do more with less. The failure of one institution isn’t always the fault of the institution itself. Instead, it is the failure of an innumerable institutions to co-operate. That in short and simple words is the view of certain sociologists, namely functionalists.

Systems consist of component parts which must work together to help the broader system operate smoothly (O’Byrne, 2013). Moreover, each component has a designated and unique function.

In other words, people and institutions must fulfil their roles adequately. The tasks of one institution should not be transferred to another institution. The transfer of liability results institutions becoming under-resource and overloaded.  

Recent permanent exclusion figures for primary and secondary schools illustrate the above theoretical argument.

The permanent exclusion rate is up for primary and secondary school pupils in England. Around 6,700 students were excluded in 2015-16, a number which has been on the rise since 2012-13. Everyone will surely agree that these are dreadful numbers. However, not everyone agrees on the source of the problem.

Where does the blame lie? Whose responsibility is it to discipline children and teach them how to behave around other people and towards other people? These are the questions which cause a lot of division among policy experts and the public.

Some argue that it is the teachers’ responsibility to instil good behaviour in their students. It is argued that children today spend a considerable amount of time at schools and therefore it is the responsibility of staff at schools to educate children on the right behaviour - seems logical, right? No!

Irrespective of how much time children spend at school, it is illogical and impractical to place additional responsibilities on teachers. At a time when the UK’s education system is overloaded and under-resourced, it is inconceivable to place further expectations on teachers.

Individuals who misbehave in lessons have a profound and negative impact on everyone’s learning in class rooms. Far too much time is unfortunately spent to discipline children and not enough on teaching the curriculum.  

If schools are not suited for this job, then whose role is it?

Families are liable for this role. Much more specifically it is parents who are to blame for children’s poor behaviour.

The cause of this increasingly bad behaviour of children is the failing family system. The job parents ought to be doing is being carried out by schools. Therefore, schools are overloaded with responsibility and simultaneously underfunded as they do not have the necessary means to carry out other people’s duty. Schools don’t lack funding due to austerity (as Labour and Liberal Democrats want us to believe); instead, educators are being asked to do someone else’s job in addition to their own responsibilities. Both Primary and Secondary school staff are being asked to fill the gaps of parents’ incompetence.

‘The family becomes a social problem when it presents a threat to the dominant values and interest of society’ (Punch et al, 2013). In the 21st century, some families exert a direct and negative impact on schools as they have to do the job of families, especially, parents in particular.

In contrast, it wouldn’t be accurate to blame parents entirely for mishap of their children. Based on the premise that society is a system, there are also a range of other factors which influence young people’s behaviour. It is an issue plagued by a number of institutions including the main stream media and social media.

Nonetheless, the negative impact of the media can be reduced if parents curtail access to certain websites at home. It is parents who should fulfil their responsibility to educate their children on good behaviour. It is parents who must teach their children the right values. Households can lessen the intrusion of negative values on their children’s behaviours if they are willing to it.

The dismal behaviour of pupils can be altered, only if parents take the liability of their children’s poor manners.  

Muhammed Hussain is a writer for Student Voices and a student at the University of Roehampton. 
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