Citizenship Education

Six_and_a_Half

Lantern Swinger
It was while reading Shakey's thread on the 'Oxygen Thief' that has made me wonder about the teaching of citizenship in schools today. The culprit, Steven McGladdery, obviously does not appreciate the efforts done by the ambulance service to save lives, nor does he have any respect for the laws of this country which were put in place by Parliament to protect him.

If indeed, such chavscum are proud of their numerous ASBO's, then it can only be that the schools have failed them, and in doing so have failed us, the law-abiding citizens who are forced to suffer the consequences of these delinquent's actions. In such, we must ask ourselves what is citizenship? Or more specifically, what does today's 'yoof' think that citizenship is?

The Department of Education and Skills would have us believe that 'Citizen Education' is taught in schools not neccessarilly as a lesson, but as a programme that involves "whole school action" (Ref Page 44), but is this enough? The same government report concedes that "schools could be adopting a passive approach to citizenship education, believing no action needs to be taken as they are doing it anyway" (Ref Page 45). So does this mean that pupils are not being taught about citizenship? Could this be the case that Steven McGladdery simply does not mean what it is to be British?

I believe the chavscum culture needs to be tackled at the root causes, and part of that is the schools, since this is where the next generation learn the most about Great Britain and the world. I would argue that a separate lesson should be set aside to teach today's youngsters about the days that the British celebrate, and why. When they are older the pupils should be taught how Parliament governs the country and where the sovereign's role is. If we can encourage our youth to be proud of this country and its achievements, then such cases of Steven McGladdery will reduce and dissappear.

However, for the complete eradication of the chavscum culture which is a blight upon our society, effective citizenship education is but one small part.
 

slim

War Hero
Peter I cannot agree with you. The schools are not failing their pupils, the parents are.
That coupled with the PC society and stupid government regulations means every little scroat knows exactly haw far he/she can go and what the teachers and authorities can legally do.
Jail and fine the parents who produce these wild kids.
If kids are beyond parental control put them into special care homes. I know that I am going to have the usual bleeding hearts replying that kids need to be loved. I agree kids do need love but they also need discipline.
 

Six_and_a_Half

Lantern Swinger
I would argue that in today's society more and more responsibility for the child's education is being removed from the parents and being given to the schools, therefore the schools are failing our children. But the question is how?

Slim, you suggested that children need discipline as well as love. I don't disagree. It is no secret that in the poorer performing schools discipline is atrocious, so it needs to be looked at what methods can be used to enforce good behaviour. Detaining a pupil for an hour after school is having no effect and other measures need to be taken. Rather than enter the debate surrounding corporal punishment I would prefer to tackle this issue via the root causes of bad behaviour.

If I might make a hypothesis on Slim's last comment that the parents are to blame. If appropriate standards are not adhered to in the household then is this because the children do not respect their parents or because their parents actively encourage this misbehaviour? In the case of the former, punishing the parents will not effect the behaviour of the chilid, and the only solution (for the youth's own good) would be to remove the delinquent to a government-run boarding school where he or she would recieve special attention to his or her upbringing.

In the case of the latter, then it would certainly be in the best interests of the child to be removed to more appropriate care, and the parents held to account. But this is an extreme case, I do not personally believe that many people would try and purposefully cause detrimental behaviour in their offspring, although it has happened in the past, I will concede.

To conclude, if Slim's counter-argument to my accusation that the schools are failing our children is that the schools are being strangled by red-tape, then can we not cut the red-tape?
 

slim

War Hero
Peter
The reason that discipline is so bad at poor performing schools is often not due to the school but the type of pupils the school is receiving. If the school catchment area is that of a large council sink estate then a much higher percentage of unruly children to well behaved children would be expected. In a class of 30 children it only takes a few unruly kids to complete ruin lessons. schools reputations are such that a good school will actually raise house prices within it's catchment area. This automatically means that loving parents who have the financial means move to that area. This in turn means that the school gets pupils from wealthier backgrounds and usually means that the school improves even more.
The problems with sink estates are normally caused by less than 20% of the residents, who are usually well known to both police and social services. Unfortunately the 80% of good council tenants then have to accept that the school their children will attend has a high proportion of unruly pupils.
Love and discipline start at home. by the time a child is 5 and starts school the damage has usually been done.
How do we stop it, back to my hobby horse, a complete review of the benefit system which presently rewards the lazy and incompetent workshy.
 
slim said:
Peter I cannot agree with you. The schools are not failing their pupils, the parents are.
That coupled with the PC society and stupid government regulations means every little scroat knows exactly haw far he/she can go and what the teachers and authorities can legally do.
Jail and fine the parents who produce these wild kids.
If kids are beyond parental control put them into special care homes. I know that I am going to have the usual bleeding hearts replying that kids need to be loved. I agree kids do need love but they also need discipline.

Bring back the cane... for the parents! :twisted: Not the children of course.... who should simply be issued with a toothbrush and made to scrub the playground with toothpaste! A few hours of that on a Saturday morning or during their holidays ought to do the trick. No bravado. No standing out as special. Just aching arms and sore knees.
 

x4nd

Lantern Swinger
Peter said:
If I might make a hypothesis on Slim's last comment that the parents are to blame. If appropriate standards are not adhered to in the household then is this because the children do not respect their parents or because their parents actively encourage this misbehaviour? In the case of the former, punishing the parents will not effect the behaviour of the chilid, and the only solution (for the youth's own good) would be to remove the delinquent to a government-run boarding school where he or she would recieve special attention to his or her upbringing.

In the case of the latter, then it would certainly be in the best interests of the child to be removed to more appropriate care, and the parents held to account. But this is an extreme case, I do not personally believe that many people would try and purposefully cause detrimental behaviour in their offspring, although it has happened in the past, I will concede.

The problem is that too many parents can’t be arsed being parents. It’s easier for the parents to let them (the kids) do what they want rather than spend quality time with their children.
 

Karma

War Hero
Well I'm not a big fan of ''Citizenship'' as a discrete subject in education, although to an extent that's influenced by my view that edication has become too specialised, I think the point about the place of the individual in society should appear in most subjects:

History, understanding how we as a society have got to where we are now, I'd agree that the interminable focus on early 20th Century conflict has damaged that subject.

Geography, understanding how populations interact with the environment and what pressures that environment brings about, like resource conflict etc.

Economics, understanding how the flow of goods and services influences cultural development and societal progress.

I could go on. clearly the examples I'm citing are macro but that's because I'm interested in it at that scale, I kind of switch off when it gets to individuals. More interested in industries than companies, but I'm sure you can see where I'm going with the issue.

The main thing I see that we need to be inculcating is the so called golden rule, ''Do unto others'', sometimes phrased as ''Do as thou will'' Unfortunately it's a very simple statement and far more difficult to apply in real life, since both require an understanding of the consequences of ones actions. I have an inherent mistrust of centralised authority and in the case of this principle there is now so much legislation around what one can and can't do that the whole concept is completely corrupted.

There are two areas that could be addressed; stripping away a lot of the legislation around behaviour and stripping out a lot of the welfare state. The first would bring in the possibility of consequences around ones actions and the second removes the incentive to not contribute to society.

Of course there are clear risks with this approach, there would be a significant level of attrition and the level of stratification that we already see would probably increase.

Of course it's not going to happen:

Administrative structures rarely remove governance, it just keeps increasing and becoming more complex over time, dealing with ever more special cases and the need for politicians to do something. Look at the classic half baked ideas of gun control and dog control.

And the welfare state is never likely to reduce, expectations increase over time and governments use a state controlled welfare system to buy support, who'se going to vote for a government which takes things away from the electorate?

The other strand to this is parenting, and whilst society has to develop in order to remain competitive I think the level of family and social fragmentation isn't helping this. The extended families who undertook childcare have all but disappeared and with that there is a loss of role models and a group responsibility. If a child is receiving a common message from a number of adults then over time there is an alignment, I have a feeling that reducing the size of a caring group dilutes the conduct messages that a child receives.
 

Uncle_Albert

War Hero
One solution, perhaps a little extreme for some tastes.

Firstly, citizenship is no longer the default status of people born in the country. At a suitable age, when they are capable of understanding an adult philosophy of citizenship, punters make their choice and, to become citizens, demonstrate their understanding of the nature of government and governing, the social contract and the relationship and responsibilities of citizens. Failure to demonstrate such understanding is not a problem at all, but until you pass the exam, you do not receive full privileges (and, likewise, do not carry the full responsibilites of a citizen); remedial classes and so forth are laid on for people who want to become citizens but are having trouble understanding the nature of the game.

Choosing not to become a citizen is fine. Changing your mind and renouncing citizenship at any time is fine. Society may revoke your citizenship in accordance with due process of law, and would be on the grounds that you broke your contract with society (for example, through law-breaking).

Upon losing citizenship, the punter is requested to leave the country. If they go to another country, fine. If they refuse to leave or are unable to manage their own extradition, they are gathered up and dumped in a designated area for non-citizens. This would be an enclave left entirely to its own devices so long as it does not pose a threat. Think the prison island in 'Escape from New York', but rather than being a prison it's simply where we put people without the privilege of being a member of society who are unable to leave by themselves and cannot be transported to a willing foreign country. At this point, society may attempt to recoup any net investment they made in the recidivist (if they broke the social contract, that is - if the person in question has just reached adulthood and decided they don't want to be a citizen, society effectively made an investment that didn't pay off and it would be unjust to take from the person who has broken no contract). If you've been a net contributor, you can take your stuff with you to the point that you're even. If you've been a net drain, expect to be dumped there naked and with nothing.

In this manner, all citizens will understand from the start what the social contract is and what their responsibilites are. In return, they are afforded the privilege of living in a civilised society in which such things as healthcare, policing, protection and welfare are laid on within a framework of governance dedicated to providing such privileges to citizens. Those who choose not to become citizens, or who go back on their contract, are dealt with in a sensible manner - exile.
 

F169

War Hero
The first step to take in recovering society is to halt all education about rights and educate people only about responsibilities. The next is to introduce rewards for good behaviour.

For example, someone who has received an ASBO and is on benefits loses a percentage of their benefits. If it is a kid under 18 and their parents are on benefits, the parents lose a percentage etc. In prison, during the first year or portion of a year everyone takes part in a program of hard labour. The longer you serve and are well behaved the more privileges you earn eg access to TV, telephones etc.

Other 'rights' which can be 'earned/removed' depending on whether individuals behave responsibly/irresponsibly are: passports, driving licences, the right to own a vehicle, the right to vote, hold public office, be a director, own a pet, custody of children.

Of course all of this needs a British Government prepared to withdraw unilaterally from certain Human Rights and European legislation.
 

robbo9

Midshipman
As a Trainee Teacher, i see these lessons being taught more than the average. The problem lies on how they are taught. As the subject is relatively new, no one really knows how or what to teach. Give it a few years and it will appear to be making a positive impact upon young adults in the country. However, saying this, their will always be the odd pupil who can not grasp the idea, just like in maths and english, some do not understand the subject, so there will always be children acting in a unsociable way. Just a way of life, i think. Also, the problem lies with parents/guardians; teachers can only do so much, if the teacher explains about the problems and negitives of anti social behaviour, but then is not reinforced by the family, then it would be unsuccessful. The government need to address the fact that families need a lesson or two on citizenship aswell.
 
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