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Schools Foster 'Mob Mentality'


Discussions about home-schooling and schooling provides good food for thought to support and further develop our individual home-schooling practices.

As a grandmother to be and a Master's Student, I cannot afford to skirt between the veils of naivety where and when there are children being victimised.

The recent much publicized behavior of Year 12 events at a Melbourne private school have given rise to interesting comments from school principals regarding the prevalence of a 'mob-mentality' found in many schools.

As a past volunteer and employee at my daughter's ex -public school, I have experienced first-hand the stripping down of individuality for the sake of 'fitting in' to the mob.

I have also witnessed emotional and physical bullying of young children at pre-entry level by a few School Services Officers and sadly some, (only some) teachers employed by the Education Department.

School services officers (SSOs), are employed without any qualifications or experience by the Education Department on recommendation byf the school.

A minority of these SSO's gain this recommendation by making themselves in-dispensable to the staff of the school to service their own personal needs for control and position on a staffroom chair. It is within this minority that I took one SSO to task for her bullying of one small boy. This person turned around and told me that children this age do not remember these things, that by the time they went home they had forgotten all about it and therefore could not verbalise the incident to their parents.

In horror I went to the principle who then told me this woman was his 'right-hand woman', who offered extra security to the school as she lived opposite, ran the school disco and even made his toasty toasties everyday for lunch.

This principle also informed me that the children of parents who volunteered their time and energy to the school 'seemed to do better at the school' (a kind of favour for favour deal)..

So, I took it further and complained to the Education Department and they responded with their standard stock letter saying that 'The South Australian Education Department is very proud of their teachers'. They stated they would look into the complaint and again this complaint was dissipated through their system.

I don't think parents really understand the depths of the politics at play at our eroded public school system - and if they can smell it, they turn their noses away because their only concern is getting their children through the system as unscathed as possible. Some mothers actually form friendship relationships with the minority of bullying teachers and SSOs because they themselves are scared for their own children and achieving this friendship base is a way of buying protection for the child/ren.

I have teachers in my own extended family and although I empathise for over-populated classrooms and lack of pay, it saddens me that when they visit my home, they are visibly and emotionally exhausted of children to the extent they cannot engage with mine. I find this very disheartening as I know they do their jobs as best they can under highly stressful conditions, conditions that desperately need restructuring.

During our stay in Europe 2 years ago, I had a look at a Dutch Primary Public School in Lelystad This school was designed on a system of round buildings to reflect the school's all embracing philosophies. The children, who all commence school at 7 years of age, all go home for lunch four days a week..This is the school's way of encouraging home culture and values. On Friday's the children have lunch at the school in a community setting with parents most welcome.

The classrooms that consisted of 15-20 children at most, were large and freshly painted. The children were not made to sit on the floor below the teacher. They sat on comfortable rounded seating that formed a circle and the children were able to express their own opinions on an equal level to their teacher.

In the playground there were giant lady-bug mosaics featured here and there at sites chosen by the children. The children had adopted and created these lady-bug motifs as their non-bullying logos and this reminded them to be kind to each-other at play.

Talking to mothers and teachers at this school they informed me that the cultures of the school and home worked together well. Communication lines flowed freely and issues were addressed directly.

The public school system can be viewed as a design to dumb-down and groom our children for work in the public service like good little militant drones. That individual thinking and free spiritedness is gradually eroded and drawn out over the years in these institutions and, as result of this structure through its evolution we have created a society of youth that is full of rebellion and distrust. Is it any wonder?

Please note: I cannot speak for the private system as I have had no experience at these schools - yet!

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

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