Tuesday, February 10, 2009

British school transforms pupils' behaviour by introducing 'Victorian-style' rules

Discipline works

A school claims to be transforming children's behaviour and results by introducing Victorian-style rules. Pupils at Neville Lovett Community School are encouraged to answer staff with a polite 'yes, Mrs Jones' rather than 'yeah' and stand respectfully behind their desks until the class teacher tells them to sit. They are also required to wait in the corridor in an orderly line before a lesson begins, say 'good morning Sir' as they file into the classroom, arrange their books and stationery neatly on the desk and stand when an adult enters the room.

Headmistress Julie Taylor, who insisted on the revival of old-fashioned good manners and politeness when she arrived in September 2007, says discipline and academic results are improving. Ofsted reported last term that attendance has improved and the number of pupils having to be sent home because of bad behaviour has fallen. Inspectors also said that pupils' progress in key subjects such as maths is improving and that 'attitudes and behaviour around the school and in lessons are good'. Last summer, a respectable 55 per cent of pupils at the school in Fareham, Hampshire achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE or vocational equivalent.

The new school rules are grouped under five headings - working together, following instructions, punctuality, good behaviour and completion of homework. Pupils receive stamps if they abide by the rules. As part of the new regime, pupils have also learnt how to shake hands properly, to take compliments and return them, to keep eye contact and to thank someone for a good turn.

While the school has resurrected some traditional school customs, it has left the harsher side of Victorian discipline to the history books - such as corporal punishment and making pupils wear dunces hats. Mrs Taylor said her emphasis on good manners reflected a fear that politeness was disappearing from society. 'We are teaching our pupils lessons for life because good manners will help them a long way,' she said. 'Good manners are something which was starting to disappear from our society but this school is helping to bring them back.' She added: 'Children line up quietly in the corridor before every lesson and say "good morning Sir or Miss" before they file in.

'Then they put all the things they need for the lesson neatly on the desk and stand and wait before the teacher tells them it's OK to sit down. 'It is all about respect and that is what I am trying to teach here. When any adult comes into the room they have to stand up and we expect them to answer in a clear and concise manner. 'When pupils answer a teacher they don't go "yeah, no or whatever", they answer properly with "yes, Mr Jones or no Mrs Smith". We don't put up with swearing either. 'Pupils have to show respect to teachers and to each other when they speak and it has really improved the learning environment at the school.'

Teachers put stamps in a booklet when they observe that children are following the school's five golden rules. The booklet is then taken home every day so parents can see how their child is behaving in lessons. Mrs Taylor said: 'Pupils know if they don't get enough stamps then they won't be allowed to the end-of-year prom or on school trips. 'When they go on outside excursions we have to be able to trust the pupils to behave in the correct manner.'

Attendance at the school has increased from 89 per cent to 93 per cent and Mrs Taylor believes the insistence on good manners will sson translate into further improvements to GCSE results.


Filed Under "Only in Academia"

Amidst a $2 billion budget shortfall in Georgia, why does Georgia State University employ professors who are self-declared experts in oral sex and male prostitution? That's the question one congressman is asking. Courtesy of the Atlantic Journal Constitution:
A powerful state lawmaker believes Georgia's university system must not be too bad off financially if it can afford to employ experts in such subjects as oral sex and male prostitution. Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton) said the university system has resisted accepting the budget cuts that nearly every other part of state government has absorbed as lawmakers fill a $2 billion hole in the budget. Meanwhile, he said, Georgia State University is touting its faculty as experts on issues that are outside what he believes to be the university's mission.

"I'm saying we all need to pull together and when we have things that are extraneous and outrages, which I don't think should be discussed with our tax dollars, maybe some of this will come to mind when we have to make budget cuts," said Hill, vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Georgia State, like most colleges and universities, produces an annual guide to its faculty experts. These are professors, instructors, lecturers or administrators with expertise in their particular field. The guide is used by journalists, public policy organizations and governments to find information or experts. Georgia State's 2009 experts guide identifies senior sociology lecturer Mindy Stombler as an expert in oral sex and faculty member Kirk Elifson as an expert in male prostitution.

According to the University's website, Mindy Stombler's latest research explores "the power dynamic embedded in the practices of oral sex, particularly cunnilingus, and connecting conceptualizations of cunnilingus to public discourse." And for the University's defense, enter the gal who probably hates her job right now:
Stombler's work on oral sex has social value, said GSU spokeswoman Andrea Jones. Stombler could not be reached for comment. Stombler, Jones said, "has conducted research to better understand the cultural messages surrounding oral sex and their connection to an increase of such activities among teenagers. This research helps public health officials make policy to deal with this increase."

Isn't this Georgia episode sort of a microcosm of Obama's crap sandwich spending bill? Stupid and uncessary programs that satiate a leftist appetite (with your money), but do nothing meaningful to impact a student's education, or as with the porkulus bill, jolt a listless economy?


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