A Gurugram teacher is facing suspension because she allegedly taped the mouths of Junior KG students as they wouldn’t keep quiet. According to a report in The Hindustan Times, the female private school teacher, who was caught on video putting adhesive tape on mouths of two LKG children later claimed that they were disturbing the entire class and sometimes used filthy language. This is a disturbing news to any parent, who relies on school authorities and teachers to keep children safe and sound at least within the school premises.
- A private school teacher in Gurugram was caught on camera putting adhesive tape on the mouths of two junior KG students.
- While she faces disciplinary action, we need to talk about our need to teach pre-schoolers to keep quiet.
- Are four-year-old kids cognitively equipped to understand the concept of keeping quiet?
- Being able to say anything, anywhere and to anyone, without any fear of repercussions is part and the beauty of childhood.
But this also brings to light our education system’s obsession with disciplining little children into “pin drop” silence. Are four-year-old kids cognitively equipped to understand the concept of keeping quiet? Or why they must not make noise or talk in class? Which is why it seems a bit harsh to force discipline on young children. That too using tactics based on rote learning system, which uses anything but logic to drive the point home.
No one else in this world deserves to make some noise and be a chatterbox more than a bunch of pre-schoolers.
I am not endorsing the use of filthy language by children. Neither am I saying that children shouldn’t be taught to lower their voices, or not talk much to each other at least at school, where the goal is to learn and develop various skills. But there is an age and time and a way for everything, even learning manners. If Indian parents could have it their way, they would, but do we expect five-year-olds to be engaging public speakers or expert mathematicians? No. Then why do we expect them to have the level, or maturity and obedience of older children?
The said teacher deserves to be sacked from her job for her audacious behaviour. No amount of excuses can justify her behaviour. Many schools these days pay little attention to the temperament of teachers while hiring them. They must ask themselves if they would put their own kids alone in a room with a person who would tape mouths of little ones shut? Just because they won't stop talking? However, the fault actually lies with the system and parents, which demands pre-schoolers be disciplined. As parents, we must stop putting the onus of instilling discipline and manners on schools entirely. The first school is always a child’s home and the first teachers are her/ his immediate family. Not just the child's mother, mind you.
So if a young child is aggressive and uses filthy language, ask yourselves where does that come from?
Secondly, schools and parents definitely need to get rid of this need to start early with disciplining children. Not keeping quiet and being able to say anything, anywhere and to anyone, without any fear of repercussions is part and the beauty of childhood. It is essential for the development of character traits like honesty and agency. So by forcefully silencing them, we are actually instilling in them that it is incorrect to speak your mind or to talk it out. How do you think that fares in adulthood? It makes one wonder if the epidemic of mental health problems we face currently, which finds its roots in our incapability to speak our mind or voice our thoughts and desires, stems from those early lessons of discipline which we received in school or at home? Did our parents and schools muffle our voices by teaching us that good manners imply keeping quiet? Just what is so wrong with talking and not keeping quiet?
The understanding among peers and education system about the right age and the right way to instill manners in children needs to improve.
Else we will only wake up when it gets out of hands. When a teacher resorts to taping our kids’ mouth shut. It came to this because we ignored when teachers raised their voices to silence nursery kids. As for the schools, they need to make sure that teachers without proper temperament and training come nowhere near little kids. It is more complex to deal with four-year-olds, than it is to deal with ten or fifteen-year-olds in school. These children are too impressionable and delicate.
Also Read : Is ‘Transparency’ Your Go-To Parenting Mantra?
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.