Authoritarian Schooling: A Catalogue of Damage compiled by David Gribble





Don't let that bother you





No school would deliberately cultivate selfishness, and yet children are told that they must go to school for their own good. Children are trained to work only for their own personal benefit, and then society is blamed for a 'me me me' attitude.

When they are at home some children look after younger siblings or care for a sick parent, but when they get to school they are treated as incompetents who cannot take any responsibility. School is a place where their responsibilities and caring skills are forgotten, and they are encouraged to concentrate on their own needs rather than the needs of other people. The school restricts their activities to what the school has decided they must do for their own benefit.

Examination results become the dominant issue, and social interaction is simply not valued. Even the discussion of important issues may be forbidden. As I heard one young person say, 'You can't talk about mental health because you have to read this poem.'

Mental health is not the only important issue that there is no time to discuss. There is no time to discuss poverty, or parental discord, or sibling rivalry, or love, or death. Teachers often declare openly that their work is to teach, not to care for the children in their classes. The remark I overheard could as well have been, 'You can't talk about Susie's mum dying, because you have to learn this list.'

You have to learn this list for your own good, in order to be able to earn a good living in society. Forget about your mother's illness or your friend's distress. Think of your own needs. Be selfish.