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One cause of disaffection I have identified is the fact that Toby did not have a male role model to look up to whilst growing up as his father left them and both of his brothers no longer live at home. I believe this can have a really negative on the child because they never get the opportunity to see what a proper male role model is. I want to emphasise the word “proper” because not all males play a “proper” role in their child’s life. Chances are, he will grow up with a twisted view of what being a man is. Boys and girls need very strong role models and one way they can get those is in schools. Therefore, schools are the ideal place for young people to learn from good male role models outside the family.

Studies have shown that children who grow up without a father figure end up in trouble more often than those whose father was there. Not only do they commit more crimes but they also have lower test scores in school. This may be due to the fact that these children, like Toby lacked the discipline and role model of their father to learn the distinguish right from wrong. The father is a role model for hard work.

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Since he is most often the main breadwinner of the family the children can see that he puts in long hours to pay for the things they have. Younger children look up to their father as almost a hero. They put their dad on a pedestal and feel as though he can do no wrong, as I did while I was growing up. As children reach adolescence they test their relationship with their parents. The father is looked to for advice and they trust his judgment and decisions. According to Lamb, M.E. (1997), an increased amount of father-child involvement has also proven to increase a child’s social stability and educational achievement.

Another possible cause of disaffection is that Toby’s primary school did not pick up on the fact that he has learning difficulties until his last year of primary school. According to Sanders, D ; Hendry, L (1997), all educational settings are heavily dependent upon communication, both verbal and non-verbal, and for those children who have difficulties in this area, school can be a frustrating, confusing and frightening place to be.

Toby’s school was very slow at reacting to his learning difficulties and this should have been picked up straight away. It would have been pretty obvious by his test results and the amount pupil involvement with him in class that Toby was struggling and teachers could have done something about it earlier on. Hunter Carsch, M, Tiknaz, Y, Cooper, P & Sage, R (2006), explains that poor reading and writing scores are strongly and significantly associated with low achievement later on in life. Schools do make a difference to outcomes. According to Hunter Carsch, M, Tiknaz, Y, Cooper, P & Sage, R (2006), while students social and economic circumstances are the most important factors explaining their educational results, about 14% of the incidence of low achievement is an attribute to school quality, the rest is to do with out of school factors, such as what goes on at home.

Also, Tony was excluded from school, which is another form of disaffection. According to Sanders, D & Hendry, L (1997), the most common reason for exclusion is general disruption and unacceptable behaviour. Tony explained that he was aggressive, got into fights and refused to do what the teacher had asked him to do. Tony explains that a project was started for pupils that suffered with some forms of disaffection, in order for pupils to get individual help with their schoolwork, away from other pupils so they can have more one-to-one interactions and less noise from others.

I think this is a really effective way of offering the children extra help without them thinking that they are struggling in the classroom because communication is a key factor in learning. Also, Tony suggested that these smaller classes were more beneficial, so this may be something for the school to consider, because smaller classes means that each child could have more attention and help with something they may not understand. It may be hard to split them up all the time but group work during lessons may be an idea, with more teaching assistants available, as I remember having around 30 pupils in my primary school lessons are the teacher was totally out of control and we had no individual attention.

In my primary school, I suffered from a low self-esteem and was bullied quite often and I wanted to do something about it as it was causing me a lot of stress so, on a voluntary basis I plucked up the courage and started an organisation and invited other pupils to help from the school, that had suffered some kind of trauma and disaffection throughout their lives, it was called, the Befrienders. Befrienders are people who have experienced a trauma throughout their lives, whether it be bullying, the divorcing of parents or so on and we helped other people, who were younger or older than us, get through what they suffered with.

Most of the pupils just wanted somebody to talk to, like Tony, as they were too afraid to tell their parents or the teachers, like I was. We were identified clearly as we wore yellow smiley faced badges. I am really pleased to say that the organisation is still running at my old school and it is going very well. We passed our badges down to the volunteers that wanted to keep it running as it helped so many people.

I visit the school regularly to see how it is going and the headteacher, teachers and the pupils find the school a much happier place to be and has a much better reputation. This makes me feel very rewarded as I feel that if I hadn’t of started up the organisation, the school and the pupils would still be suffering. I think if Tony’s school starts up this organisation, he will be able to express his feelings more and it may boost his self-esteem. There are many other causes of disaffection in Tony’s case study. However, I have highlighted the ones I found most important to educational achievement.

References

Hunter Carsch, M, Tiknaz, Y, Cooper, P ; Sage, R (2006) – The Handbook of Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties – Continuum Publishing Sanders, D ; Hendry, L (1997) – New Perspectives on Disaffection – Cassell Publishing Lamb, M.E. (1997) – The Role of the Father in Child Development – 3rd. Edition

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