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NAPLAN and bullying

By Phil Cullen - posted Thursday, 29 March 2018


Australia’s casual indifference to the mental health of its young is neither to its credit nor advantage. However, the 2018 gathering of minds that will discuss issues relating to bullying can reset the compass that should guide our children’s children through more happy and productive years during the near future’s most complicated changes to Australia’s culture and industrial development in human history.

We cannot avoid our location on the globe, our commercial value as the world’s best and biggest quarry and our attraction as a race of people. Australia has no choice. It has to get ready for monumental changes.

Australia needs, more than most, citizens who can cope with changes and development, who can think laterally and creatively, with a yen to learn all that there is to learn in their individual fields of endeavour…...and to be happy and prosperous in doing so.

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Happy and prosperous.

At the present time, the sad realities of bullying are being exposed more than they ever have. Despite a community focus on cyber bullying, the discussion should spread to other serious forms of bullying. There is great concern...as there needs to be. There is a clear relationship with what our decade-old school system is doing.

The system, under the control of ACARA ANALYTICA, is a direct source for institutionalised bullying. 2018 will, one is happy to observe, see some states discuss the reality of this government sponsored mass bullying in our schools. While our casual indifference has blinded us to the reality to this point in time, the evidence is now so powerful that we cannot avoid rich discussion of what we, as fair-dinkum Australian citizens, are doing to our children.

The methodology of our schooling system, now ten years old, is based on the deliberate creation of fear and anxiety. Children can no longer go to school expecting to experience joy and success in the Act of Learning. Australian adults seem to believe that young people can tolerate being pushed around and ‘smartened up’, and if some fall by the wayside, tough luck. The survivors will lead our country onto Asian domination.

There’s something bovine about that sort of belief.

The truth is that the instrument of anxiety-creation is NAPLAN testing and it is a dead-set failure, as revealed by ACARA’s own data. Within its own frame of reference it is not doing what it said it would do. Within the international community of testucation, it is a giant flop. We are doing much worse in the scoring than we used to do. So….what do we do?

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Nothing! Keep bullying the brats. Keep relying on the good nature of teachers to play with children’s mental health. Those pupils, who know that they should do better and don’t, will ‘kick the cat’ and push other kids around, especially those more sensitive ones who vomit, lose sleep, cry and feel ashamed when they don’t seem to live up to their parents expectations during test preparation and at test time. Bullying. NAPLAN bullying.

This is a very serious time in the lives of the young, that adults don’t know how to handle. One thing seems clear: both the bullies and the bullied need a change of environment..

The kids don’t know that their children will be living in a far different world, one quite beyond their comprehension. The silly little vexatious data-gatherers and their NAPLAN tests of today will be ridiculed in the history books and the waste of this 2008-2018 bizarre testucation bullying period regretted. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can start thinking about the effects of the affective domain – the feelings and emotions – on the learning enterprise. We must dump NAPLAN and bring back the affective. The cognitive aspects of learning cannot live up to expectations without the caring hand of the affective…..and don’t forget the psycho-motor. We over-do two parts only of the schooling process, as important as they are and, by using bullying processes, teach kids to hate them.

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About the Author

Phil Cullen is a teacher. His website is here: Primary Schooling.

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