Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 23rd 2017 Contents viewpoint A25
Thursday, March 23, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Members of the cast during a scene from the Carvalho production of The Trini story of a boy called Pino Tito
directed by Penelope Spencer at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, on Tuesday. PHOTO: ANISTO ALVES
A teacher is not supposed
to do a parent's job
School violence is increasing
at an alarming rate. It is difficult
to pinpoint the cause of school
violence because it is a multifac-
Violent behaviours are in-
creasing among children and
adolescents. School violence
is not limited to the student
population. Teachers say they
are threatened with violence on
Children today grow up with
single or no parents. Poverty is in
abundance. Today there is easy
access to weapons. Students can
acquire and carry guns to school.
Dr Eric Williams once said to
the effect, "The future of T&T is
in the bookbags of the students.''
He would be surprised to find
these bags now contain guns,
knives, drugs and pornographic
Children are exposed to too
much media violence. Even the
cartoons are violent. The Inter-
net plays a significant role in all
of our lives. Video games feature
high levels of realistic violence.
Cell phone text messaging and
email provide additional plat-
forms to support cyberbullying
which is when the electronic
media is used to taunt, insult or
So, how come school violence
only occurs at certain schools
in particular locations? These
schools cannot make headlines
academically so they do it vio-
lently. It is not very common at
the single-sex, religious-based
schools. Leadership is what is
When the Education Minister
was at a certain college, school
violence was non-existent there.
It still does not exist at that
particular college. Ever wonder
why that is so? Why the residual
A teacher is not supposed to do
a parent's job. Today both par-
ents work. Two parents are sup-
posed to nurture and reinforce
positive behaviour. Some chil-
dren are raised by single parents.
Parental drug abuse, domes-
tic violence and the presence
of guns in the home encourage
a child to follow their parents'
I, as a lecturer can educate,
shelter and discipline my stu-
dents, but it is difficult to play
multiple roles as educator, sur-
rogate parent, social service and
law enforcement officer.
Until the minister and Ministry of
Education recognise that the society
as we know it is rapidly changing,
that the family structure and dynam-
ics as we know them are also chang-
ing, they will never recognise the
need to change our archaic education
system. Gone are the days where
the "big stick" tactics worked. The
population of T&T has outgrown its
education system and there is need
for change now.
Student violence, teacher absen-
teeism and principal/teacher indis-
cipline are just symptoms of an over-
burdened, ancient education system.
How, in God's green earth can a
student who is being bullied be just
as guilty as the students who are do-
ing the bullying?
When will it be realised that the
indiscipline in secondary schools
is linked directly with student per-
formance or lack thereof, teacher's
ability to implement the curriculum
effectively and having the students
complete curriculum that will engage
and encourage learning.
When will it be realised that
teachers are tired, burnt-out and
demotivated and have reached the
to-hell-with-it stage? When will it
be realised that the school is a living,
breathing organic system itself and
like most living things it needs cer-
tain requirements in order for it to
survive? Discipline cannot be done in
isolation, it must be integrated into
every aspect of the system.
When will it be realised that mass
training of teachers has a low teach-
er implementation rate and that we
need to move away from that format
and adopt a more job-embedded pro-
fessional development for teachers
in order to improve teacher practices
and student learning.
When will it be realised that the
Ministry of Education itself will need
to make major changes in order to
treat with these so-called "phenom-
enas" occurring daily at our schools?
Again I will state, diversification
of our economy is directly linked
to diversification of our education
system. Low productivity levels are
directly linked to how our citizens are
trained to engage with the education
they receive and the opportunities to
develop innovative strategies to deal
with today's complex problem.
As Atul Gawande said, "Better is
possible. It does not take genius. It
takes diligence. It takes moral clarity.
It takes ingenuity. And above all, it
takes a willingness to try."
Please note that before your letter can be published, we must have your full name,
address and phone number. Your contact information will not be published.
Letters should be no more than 500 words long and may be edited for length and clarity.
Please send them by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Great job on clean-up exercise
On behalf of the residents of the
Mungal Trace, Orange Field area I
would like to express appreciation to
the chairman and staff of the Couva,
Tabaquite, Talparo Regional Corpo-
ration for their co-operation and ef-
forts in the recent national clean-up
campaign. Their co-ordination and
execution of the exercise deserve the
We would like to also express a big
thank you to our recently elected
councillor Vishan Mohammed who
kept us informed and was always ac-
cessible throughout the programme.
Mr Mohammed brings a breath of
fresh confidence as we are already
seeing improvements in the mainte-
nance of the community.
Keep up the great work.
T&T has outgrown
A TRINI STORY
Links Archive March 22nd 2017 March 24th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page