A word on child training
Having spent 15 valuable years of my life in the school
teaching business, I feel that I am qualified to some degree to pass an opinion
on how to deal with children.
Imagine how thrilled I was to read an article in the Sunday
Times, 8 October 2000, Children Learn Better when they sit in Lines.
"Children's classroom work rates can be doubled if they
sit in rows rather than around a table, according to new research.
A report based on 20 years of observation of classroom
behaviour has quantified for the first time the comparative benefits of
traditional seating arrangements over group setups. It argues that pupils waste
valuable hours chatting when they should be working...
By sitting in groups, however, they have their backs to the
teacher and face each other. This means they waste around a quarter of the
lesson, the researchers have found...
The pupils who made the biggest improvements when moved out
of the groups were the most disruptive children, who doubled their efforts, the
The change from traditional rows to children in groups
followed the Plowden report in 1967 , which advocated a move away from teaching
all pupils from the front of the classroom. It was based on the then "progressive"
idea that children could learn from one another..." End Quote.
Even I could have told them that, as could any teacher
who has their brain switched on. Yet the strange thing is, it's taken them 20
years to find this out.
Not only that, we also note that in the Sunday Star Times, 12
November 2000, Do 'difficult' children really need a lifetime of drugs?
"Where has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
appeared from? It certainly wasn't about when I was a child.
It wasn't about when my sisters -– who are a decade
younger than me -– were children. I don't remember hearing much about it when
I was first pregnant, nearly nine years ago. And yet we are being asked to
believe the condition is so widespread that thousands of children would benefit
from the wonder drug Ritalin.
Ritalin, aka methyphenidate, is a class A substance, not
dissimilar to cocaine, Hello?...
Infant shouters, kickers, biters, hysterics, mummy-bashers,
daddy-haters and so on are as old as time, ditto teenage arsonists and their ilk...
Children usually misbehave because something is the matter:
because they are troubled.
When I was a child, such children's parents or teachers, or
both, addressed the problem, 99% of the time, it eventually went away -–
which is why you don't come across adult biters very often, and why people
don't come to dinner and set your house on fire.
But we are now being asked to believe that children who were,
in my day, called "challenging" or "difficult" and handled accordingly,
are actually suffering from a chronic illness and in need of a lifetime of drugs...
I am not a scientist or a childcare expert. But I do think it
is worth mentioning that in my experience -– years of playgroup, nursery,
pre-school, school -– every single instance of hyperactivity I have witnessed
in a child (including my own) could be put down to two things: sugar and
My own children both turn into manic loonies if they ingest
sulphur dioxide, which is found in non-organic dried fruit, or orange squash and
the crumbs on fish fingers...
Perhaps some children really do need the drug, even though
its long-term effects are not known. But it seems to me that we are not a
million miles away from tuning every tiresome act of childhood into a sickness;
and every none-biddable child into a cabbage." End Quote.
It is a strange thing that people who turn away from God's
Word, the Bible, seem to think that they have the answer to every question, but
in reality they do not.
We read for example in the book of Proverbs 22:28, "Remove
not the ancient landmark, which my fathers have set."
Proverbs 23:10, "Remove not the old landmark, and enter not
into the deals of the fatherless."
During a Middle East trip through the land of Jordan we were
interested to see little piles of stones laid out very carefully in many areas
across that great country. When I asked the guide the meaning of the stones he
said that they were called landmarks and told each person where their boundaries
I then asked him what would happen to anybody who moved the
landmarks, and he looked absolutely horrified, and answered in the following
manner, "Nobody would ever consider moving those Mr Smith, Please do no
suggest such a thing."
Yet it is interesting that the ancient landmarks of
discipline as taken from the book of Proverbs in the Bible have now been
replaced with psychology and Ritalin, and we now have masses of children growing
up who are doomed to a life of despair and sickness in moving away from God's
guidebook the Bible.
Many years ago I heard Billy Graham preaching and he made the
statement that Dr Spock's book should be thrown into the rubbish tin and every
parent should get out the book of Proverbs and bring their children up
One verse that stood me in very good stead during my 15 years
of teaching was found in Proverbs 22:15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of
a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." At the end of
each term the parents used to come in and ask me my secret saying, "My child
has improved dramatically since you took over as teacher, what is the answer?"
In those days the answer was, "do what they are told, otherwise feel the
results of the board of education on the seat of learning". In those days the
majority of us were considered normal and did not need the help of psychiatrists
We have said it once and we will say it again, discipline is
not violence and violence is not discipline and it takes a wise person to know
the difference and act accordingly.
P.S. The writer of the newspaper article did not spell out
the meaning of the words, "parents or teachers addressed the problem."
We older, wiser people know how it was done, don't we?
Wink, wink, nod, nod -– and there was no Ritalin available.