At the end of our school’s Easter assembly, a couple of teachers took to the stage to admonish the students for their misbehaviour—namely, cheating on tests in organised groups, shouting out foul language on campus and showing disrespect to teachers online. One of the teachers in charge of discipline then expressed his displeasure. The talk amongst the teaching staff afterwards was about the apparent decline in student values.
Personally, I am not so sure there has been a decline. I’ve seen a lot of similar misbehavior over the years, especially with regard to cheating and showing disrespect. Hearing foul language around the school is a relatively new problem, but I think it is mainly just coming from a handful of students.
What is disappointing is that almost every year the school has had as one of its two or three major concerns the idea of helping students develop stronger moral values. Every year, there are slogans (Learn to learn, learn to respect; Appreciation and Acceptance*, Responsibility and Respect) and campaigns, but these don’t seem to have much effect. If anything, as students progress through the forms, they seem to be picking up bad habits rather than getting rid of them. Why is this?
(*Or was it achievement? I sometimes get my slogans mixed up.)
The school emphasizes a culture of appreciation and respect, but I wonder how effectively the school itself models this culture. Do our teachers always show respect to the students? Do they sometimes belittle students? Do they sometimes spread gossip?
Another problem at the school is that some students apparently don’t want to be shown respect. For example, one recurring problem in the English Corner is that the executives are late for duty and leave a bunch of students waiting outside to get in. Some executives do it once; after they reminded of their duties and asked to be punctual, they don’t do it again. Other executives, in contrast, will continue to be late until they get shouted at. Then, and only then, do they take punctuality seriously. Why do some of our students only take things seriously when they are being aggressively shouted at? How can students expect to be respected if they only respond to severe scoldings?
What do you think? Are students worse than in previous years in terms of their moral attitudes, values and behavior? What can the school do to instill a stronger sense of moral values in its students? Why do some students only respond to scoldings, threats and/or punishment?