In general, teachers tend to teach in the same manner that they have been taught by their own teachers. But often, taking into account the generation gap between teachers and learners, it has led to the use of out-dated teaching methods. For decades children were not allowed to have an opinion or think for themselves, but did this attitude produce a generation of critical, creative and reflective thinkers that accept responsibility and believe in accountability? Have the teachers of South Africa taught our children to approach life in a mature, responsible way that encourages constructive communication and problem-solving skills?
Students all over the country are busy rioting and demanding free education. They assume that having a free education will open up the world to them and put them on their way to a better, brighter future. Were these students provided with the critical thinking skills that is necessary to evaluate the assumption that “free” education will necessarily mean “quality” education which will produce the leaders we need for building a prosperous future? Did teachers in general produce a young generation that has the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately about an issue like university fees without vandalising and demolishing the same infrastructure that must be used to make them lawyers, doctors or teachers?
Where must a teen learn and practise how to be a responsible adult, if the school environment does not treat them like young adults and it is not expected from them to act accordingly? At Abbotts College, we believe in treating our teens as young adults, because we believe that if we challenge them, they will rise to the occasion. Teens can be guided to handle the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood only if they function in a school environment where it is expected of them to behave like young adults with the rights and responsibilities that is associated with it. They are treated with respect and care but must also act with respect and care towards their teachers and peers. They are provided with realistic boundaries and if needed the appropriate intervention measures are taken. In treating them as young adults we strive to instil in them a strong work ethic, resulting in personal responsibility and accountability. Effort ratings teach them that hard work does pay off and even if you do not obtain distinctions, you have shown yourself to be dedicated and positive in your approach to your academic challenges.
The words of John Maxwell say it all:
“People rise and fall to meet your level of expectations for them. If you express scepticism and doubt in others, they will return your lack of confidence with mediocrity. But if you believe in them and expect them to do well, they will go the extra mile trying to do their best.”