Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Whose responsibility are a child's manners?

Well, being a Suzuki philosophy teacher, I am inclined to say that they're first and foremost the responsibility of the parent. However, as a child grows up and goes out into the great wide world, other influences on their behaviour and attitude will soon become apparent.

A classroom teacher's belief in manners as currency or tolerance of rude behaviour will do a lot for a child's attitude, as will the other adults in that child's life; grandparents, the parents of friends, dance teachers, instrumental teachers, football coaches, etc and so forth. The list is long, and the influence perhaps incremental.

In a group situation, whose responsibility is a child's behaviour? Again, I look to the parents. Surely they will tell their child what behaviour is and is not appropriate in a group setting. If they can't, won't or simply haven't, then the teacher is left with a larger responsibility: to discipline a group of children in such a way that they are safe, learning, happy and engaged.

Dealing with young teenagers is the hardest. How to come across as authoritative yet avoiding Nazi-ism. I don't mind being the bad guy, but I do embrace the idea of tough love. Some things are necessary for the good of the group, and eleven-fourteen is not a bad time to learn those lessons.

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