For most children school is a positive experience, but for a number of children school goes wrong, sometimes terribly wrong. For these children, school years can mean a downward spiral involving some or all of these…
- Literacy problems
- School Refusal
- Failing to complete school, resulting in exclusion from work or further study
- Drug Problems
The causes and triggers for these problems are varied and not always obvious. Often people jump to the conclusion that it is a result of family background or poor parenting. Unfortunately, the enormous pressure these situations put on families can result in situations that are then held up as being proof that family is the originating cause of the problem rather than the ones bearing the brunt of the fallout. It is so much easier to judge, and be judgmental, from the outside.
In reality, I think many of these situations have multiple causes, each of which on their own is not enough to cause a problem.
The interaction between the child and the school, the child and the teacher, and the child and their classmates is crucial. A child who fits into a school’s norm will have a very different experience than the child who is significantly different – whether that be cultural, intellectual or physical. It is not deficits that mark some children out and makes their path more treacherous, it is difference, it is being in the minority.
But it is more than individual family and school situations. External factors including rapid social and environmental changes of our time, multiculturalism and the effects of technology can play a role.
Beyond The Personal
Through my dealing with schools, both state and private, I came to realise that our problems with the schooling system were symptoms of something much bigger in society than just our family and the schools we dealt with. Indeed, I found the answers and strategies needed in order to access a reasonably appropriate education for our children were from disciplines that looked at the bigger picture of schooling and institutional practices rather than the actions of individual adults and children within it.
The articles on this site are intended to provide ideas and alternative viewpoints, not answers. We must all choose which advice to consider and try to find answers for ourselves.