Monday, October 04, 2004

Webs of habit

Teachers and students will now be back at school beginning the last term of the school year. One more term to make certain all students gain the learning habits to ensure they thrive in whatever comes their way in the future.

In contrast there was a 'debate' on National Radio this morning with two politicians and an author of a recent report on Family Courts about the value of Family Courts for youth offenders. I guess these are the students, for whatever reason, seem to have gained little from the experiences they have gained from life except to be destructive. Most of them no doubt 'excused' themselves from school possibly about the advent of adolescence.

It was commented on that schools are not effective in keeping such kids in the system. However to be effective schools would need to change dramatically to help such students - more of what they can't do won't solve anything. To develop such schools would be a great opportunity for an innovative government.

Interestingly the answers from the politicians illustrated the difference between Labour and National. Labour are working to develop a comprehensive approach to youth offending ensuring that all agencies involved work in tandem. This to include, Child Youth and Family, Health, Education and the Police. The National politician predictably was keen on punishment and focusing this on the 5% who cause most of the problem. For them it is off to jail as soon as possible, no matter that the jail population is exploding dramatically.

The author of the report talked about the young people who felt that there was no place for them in society and that engaging these students positively is the key. This brings us back to the need for an education that offers these students something to change their minds and to break the web of habits that limit their current actions.

To ensure that these bad habits do not develop requires a community involvement and more than just a comprehensive unity between the various agencies. Communities and schools need to work together to create educational experiences to help such students change their minds and to develop new habits

These young offenders are another sign or symptom of 'systems' designed in the last century not being flexible enough to cope. New innovative schools designed for such students could be an answer.

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