Friday, July 22, 2016

Raymond's letter to The Straits Times: No room for abuse in schools

My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject is published today, Friday 22nd July 2016.

It is troubling to read the report of a primary school teacher from Gongshang Primary School who has been accused of mistreating children under her charge (“MOE probes school teacher abuse claims”; last Saturday).

Words used in a degrading manner will not only affect the students’ self-esteem, but can cause other students not on the receiving end of hurtful remarks to resort to such name-calling, causing disunity in the classroom.

Going to school must be an enjoyable learning experience for both students and educators. It must not be a place where students dread to go.

More importantly, teachers must be mindful that the punishment they mete out that seeks to shame and embarrass children may cause long-term psychological damage.

Students are already feeling stressed out by their studies and tuition, and should be receiving encouragement, not disparagement.

Teachers, although under pressure to bring out the best in students, must exercise patience when teaching their students and this is a quality which the Ministry of Education must drive home to them.

Raymond Anthony Fernando