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Posts Tagged ‘EducationHQ’

I seriously blinked in disbelief when I read this headline in a recent EducationHQ Australia publication!

But ….. much to my shock ….. the article confirmed the stats were real!

More than 1000 Prep students aged four and five – 1028 in fact – had been suspended in Queensland in 2016 – a statistic that is almost double the 572 recorded three years earlier in 2013.  The reasons for suspension included “physical and verbal misconduct and persistent disruption.”

Attempting to explain such incredible statistics, Kevin Bates, the Queensland Teachers’ Union president suggested several reasons:

  • prep education level was only introduced in Queensland in 2008
  • young students are ill-prepared for school
  • questionable opportunities for socialization before they come to school
  • the inadequate impact of daycare and home environments

Fortunately though, I discovered as I continued my read of the article, this figure represents only 1.1% of prep students!

The great majority of state school students from prep to year 12 behave appropriately every day, are actively engaged in learning and have positive relationships with their fellow students and teachers” said a Queensland Department spokeswoman.

So ….. how misleading a headline can be when facts are stated out of context!  A great example of sensationalism and a perfect example of how a person – me – can be hooked into reading an article just based on its headline!

I found myself pondering the reason I was so easily hooked by the headline and concluded that it tapped into my own belief that kids today just don’t behave as they did in the past.  And if I needed any proof of that, I found it just last weekend, prior to reading this article, when my husband and I visited a newly opened cafe just around the corner from us.

Packed full of people, it was super noisy, so noisy we could hardly hear each other talk.  The concrete floor and massive bare walls were surely to blame I commented.   Yes, possibly, but this wasn’t the first cafe we’d been in which was fitted out in the current super modern minimalist trend, none of which were as noisy as this one.

Then we looked around and saw it!  There were kids, lots of them, far more than the usual number of young children we’d ever seen in other cafes at which we’ve enjoyed morning coffee.  And it wasn’t that the numbers were greater, it was how they were behaving which struck us.  Screaming, yelling, running around as if there was no one else in the cafe was the norm for these young ones.  It was only after I found myself wincing at the high pitched squeals emanating from more than a couple of tables, that I looked up and started assessing what I was seeing.

The cafe seated around 50-60 people.  Parents with children, who were kept busy by the cafe supplied crayons and stencils, were in abundance.  In between colouring in their pictures, kids were doing what they most often do – zooming around open spaces, checking on their baby brother or sister in their prams, arguing with each other, running over to waiters and then waiting impatiently for their pictures to be pinned up on the wall.  It felt like I was in a school playground rather than a cafe!

Clearly this was an atypical cafe!   Yet, why did it attract such a large number of young families?  Then it clicked, the cafe was right next door to the local primary school.   It wouldn’t surprise us if the cafe owners had marketed themselves to the school next door.

If yes, they clearly achieved their aim!  If no, they clearly have a problem!!  Either this four week old cafe will survive on a niche clientel or, sadly, they will close sooner than they anticipate.

The underlying reality of our Sunday morning coffee though was as clear as anything.  Societal expectations of how children should or should not behave in public have shifted dramatically since I was young and most certainly since my children were the same age.

Am I looking through the ‘mature’ age lens?  Or could it be as the Queensland Teachers’ Union president suggested ‘young children are ill prepared’ or are constantly exposed to ‘questionable opportunities for socialization’?

I’m left wondering whether young children today are naughtier than previous generations or whether their parents simply don’t know how to discipline their children.

Or … dare I suggest … could it be that somehow we failed to model good parenting skills to our children so that they in turn would know how best to parent their children?

Or … am I totally off track here trying to lay blame when in fact societal expectations have shifted, that the ‘me’ first mentality prevails and what we witnessed in our local cafe is today’s ‘acceptable’ public behaviour?!

Hmmm….  It seems I have many more questions than answers here!

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I just read a great article about the impact that technology is reaping on teachers in the Term 1 Edition of TechnologyEd – a great quarterly publication by EducationHQ.

Nodding my head in agreement at virtually everything that was written, I found myself reflecting on my own career – the then and now.

It may come as a surprise to younger teachers to know that the base line in the education sector hasn’t really changed all that much.  Being stressed and overwhelmed by the enormity of the job has always been a part of a career in education. Nothing, really, has ever changed.

Back then, in my early days of teaching, there was always

  • more to be done than could be humanely completed in a day
  • heaps to learn which invariably had to be done ‘on the job’
  • a never ending stream of correction and lesson preparation
  • constant communication demands to have responses ready for
    • students
    • parents
    • work colleagues
    • Heads of Department
    • School Admin

Nothing has changed.  We are still working at an impossible pace.   The same demands as then loom large on a daily basis.

Today though, technology has layered itself across everything we do.  For those not born with a mouse or a device in their hands, we’ve had to become familiar with technology whilst simultaneously using it and figuring out how to incorporate it into our teaching repertoire.   As I see it, there are two major aspects of technology that we need to get a handle on: technology as an adjunct to teaching and learning and technology as an adjunct to communication.

And from whichever way we look at it, technology ratchets up the stress level by more than just a few notches.  Many claim that stress levels today are higher than they were.  Back then the catch word was ‘teacher burnout’.  Today the new jargon is “technostress”.

So what is technostress?

stress or psychosomatic illness caused by working with computer technology on a daily basis (Wikipedia)

a feeling of anxiety or mental pressure from overexposure or involvement with (computer) technology (Dictionary.com)

It’s real and its constant.

There probably are few of us who can’t identify with ‘technostress’.  Knowing how to deal with it can be baffling because it is multi-layered.  Unfortunately there isn’t just one ‘fix’ to make it go away.  Some obvious suggestions spring to mind though:

  1. Designated ‘time out’: Set aside a regular time slot in the day or the week to not use technology.
  2. Self discipline: Make decisions and stick to them!
  3. Establish routines: Create on and off times for using technology.
  4. Set priorities: Weigh up the importance of daily routines and prioritize them.
  5. Restrict response: Set limits on the amount of time spent using technology.
  6. Create quiet time: Find time in a day to just ‘be’.
  7. Separate work and home: Work at work and relax at home.
  8. Do one thing at a time: Be offline when you read, listen to music, cook, eat or play with your child.
  9. Switch your smartphone off: Let replies go to message bank. Turn off the alarm for incoming call.
  10. Technology Sabbath: Yes! One day off a week!  Check out the gains to be had in this Sabbath Manifesto:
Sabbath Manifesto

Sabbath Manifesto

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