One of the many responses I’ve read about “uniformgate” (can’t we do better than this?) was that if many children are breaking a rule then the school must at least consider the possibility that it might be wrong. With that in mind I thought I’d try that out with a few everyday scenarios.
1. Rule: No talking!
Problem? Children talk over the teacher. They are then sent out which destroys their education! Solution? Allow them to talk and base the learning around their own experiences. They’ll stay in the lesson and be more engaged!
2. Rule: No running!
Problem? Children run in the corridors, especially in order to reach the front of the lunch queue. This is dangerous and chaotic. Solution? Allow them to run. The subsequent piles of inanimate Y7 bodies, twisted and bruised on the bloody floor, will soon act as a filter for success in a kind of Darwinian fight for the fajitas. Also: school of hard knocks innit.
3. Rule: No chewing gum!
Problem: the school is covered in disgusting, sticky gum. Solution: allow the gum as this will make children feel more at home and thus better able to relax in what can be an otherwise fearsome (see Solution 2) environment.
Actually, if we didn’t have all these petty rules we wouldn’t ever have to worry about behaviour problems and instead could just get on with teaching. These Gestapo-style laws, in which children are treated like cattle, chewing their way through the factory-model cud of vapid existence, don’t prepare the young for real, C21 life. It’s rules like these that are pulling society apart, alienating parents and exacerbating the class divide.
When will schools lie down and accept that rules are stifling our children’s creativity?