London Riots: teaching and education

With the on-going riots starting in the capital and moving into towns and cities across the country, there is now more debate than ever as to who is to blame for this breakdown in our society where criminal behaviour has become so widespread and uncontrollable. While there is a never-ending list of who to blame –  the government, youth culture, parents and society in general – we have taken a look online to see the teacher comments and media reaction to the riots and the education system.

BBC NEWS: Heads challenge parents over riot youths
By Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent

Head teachers’ leader, Brian Lightman, says there need to be some “hard questions” and “uncomfortable truths” for parents and families, after youngsters were caught up in an unprecedented night of violence and looting.

‘Daily Mail: Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters
By Max Hastings

It reflects a society in which teachers have been deprived of their traditional right to arbitrate pupils’ behaviour. Denied power, most find it hard to sustain respect, never mind control…..So there we have it: a large, amoral, brutalised sub-culture of young British people who lack education because they have no will to learn, and skills which might make them employable.

Blog post: Most of the kids are alright
Insights from a teacher

I’ve taught the ‘unteachable’, despite being punched, kicked, having chairs thrown at me. I’ve taught fledgling criminals to read, and helped the ones who weren’t beyond help to fly in better directions. I’ve taught probably a couple of thousand kids, of all races and abilities by now and taught them exactly what I had the privilege of being taught, in my Home Counties grammar school. Some of the kids were rightly proud to go on to jobs in cafes and shops; some made it to Oxford.

Blog post: A UK teachers overview
Posted by Pooky Hesmondhalgh (@creativeedu)

John Cunningham works with 12 academies, some of which are in the areas affected by the riots.
He looks at how we can go about rebuilding a feeling of community and accountability following this week’s riots. .. Perhaps it is due to both parents or carers working, creating a lack of accountability for their whereabouts. Or maybe it is the fact that they see others looting shops, ‘getting away with it’ and trying to do likewise. Perhaps their role models of today are not setting good standards. Indeed we may ask who are their role models.

Eugene Spiers, an Assistant Headteacher thinks about what approach teachers should take when discussing the riots with their pupils.
We must talk and listen to our young people about rights AND responsibilities and how engaging in their communities is a powerful thing with many opportunities.

Neil Jeffery, a UK teacher, shares his views on the UK riots…
I was truly saddened, though, to see young children, not adults, children of around 12-14 years of age, joining in as if it were some kind of game. I tried to think of where I had seen it before…

Social Media:
@ Tenuviel riots – what we are seeing on the streets is the animal behaviour that is present in our schools on a daily basis – I know, I am a teacher.

@CherylBernstein A London-based teacher friend sees a direct connection between the riots, the school holidays, & the cuts to youth programmes

If the young feel so alienated from their own communities that they loot on their own front doorstep and create such devastation – what can be done about it?

Links to all media sources are to provide a news insight and are not the opinion of Eteach or the author.
For more up to date news on education and teaching you can follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/eteach and www.twitter.com/til (Teach in London)

4 thoughts on “London Riots: teaching and education

  1. Further to the above the following news has been commented on twitter about the first suspect in court for looting being a 31 year old Teacher: does this change your opinion of the events?

  2. Greed, Selfishness and Individualism are endemic and have become qualities that are celebrated in the music, the media , and in business. 20 years ago this teacher was 11 years old. What did they learn at school? What made them want to teach?

    Where’s the joined up thinking?
    The country has gone mad!

  3. I’m not English, but I had the chance to visit the country through an exchange program for teachers last year. I found quite disturbing to see young people and their families not working for a living and considering this fact as a normal life. I was quite amazed to hear this: “Money don’t come from work, but from that machine in the wall. Work is for immigrants”.
    This mentality of doing nothing, waiting from the state or contributors to make the monthly payment got a big kick when the state said: “There is no more money for lazy people!”. And there come the riots of angry lazy people, in my opinion. You feed them with chocolate, but when you ask them to behave in certain way to get it, they kick and scream.
    In my system-which is bad also, if I don’t work, I’ll die of hunger. The system supports me for a year until I get another job, but no more than a year. So everybody has to work and get no time for riots. Work is teaching people about consequences: if you do this, you will get this; if you don’t do this, you get nothing.
    So, send people to work for a living, re-think the values and the welfare system and you will get a better life.

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