We don't usually talk politics, but this afternoon I got a phone call from an irate Tash. "Have you heard Pauline Hanson's latest?!"
Well, I hadn't heard it. But I have now and even after a warning from Tash, I still found myself gobsmacked (yet again) at this woman's utter ignorance and stupidity.
The video I watched was accompanied by an article, where the Courier Mail reported that Hanson had suggested that children with Autism should not be in mainstream schooling. I don't even know where to start with that one and how many shades of wrong she is, so I will shelve it for another day. What I do want to talk about is the rubbish that she spouted in the video clip.
In a matter of two minutes she managed to infuriate me with such clangers as:
"Do gooders are coming into the educational system and saying you don't have to compete in the classroom"
Bull. The work of Alfie Kohn and others tells us that competition against others is damaging to children. As Tash and I said to one another when discussing this yesterday - the only person you should be in competition with is yourself!
"We want you to feel good about yourselves. So they're not competing"
Wow. This is said like it is such a bad thing. It is so awful for educators (and a damn sight many parents) to want children to feel good about themselves. Nope - let's make them feel like shit so that they fight to the death, gladiator style, to "be the best". Since when did good self esteem, confidence and self image become a negative? I am definitely not an advocate of empty praise or trophies for "showing up" (for more on this, check out Alfie Kohn's book - Punished by Rewards) but I think it's a sad state of affairs when a politician makes "feeling good about yourself" sound like something we should be avoiding!
"Not competing when they get out of the classroom. Life is a competition"
No. Its not. Life is only a competition if you make it one. And even if it were, we need to stop telling children that they need to grow up and face what happens in the "real world." Whose "real world" is this anyway? It's not mine. I certainly don't view life as a competition and I think we need to encourage children to become more than just worker bees "competing" to have the "best" or be "the best."
"Our educational system is now teaching kids their rights. They are getting home and telling their parents 'you can't tell me what to do - I know my rights."
How awful that children might learn that they have rights. You know what? THEY DO HAVE RIGHTS! In fact, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (see the image at the bottom of this post), is a document that everyone who works with children should be familiar with and that all children should have access to and have the opportunity to understand. Children have many rights and if educators are teaching children to stand up for their rights - GOOD FOR THEM! Parents need to be familiar with this document too. A child knowing their rights and a parent parenting are not mutually exclusive.
Perhaps what frustrated Tash and I the most (apart from the obvious ignorance above) is that the video clip ended with her saying something that we actually agreed with - that University is not the be all, end all and that children should be encouraged to work with their hands or learn a trade if that is what is more suited to them.
The frustrating part about this is that it feels like a ploy - say something that people will nod their heads to and they might then forget about the previous two minutes of utter rubbish. Well - we aren't forgetting. Our country and our children deserve better from an elected (how the hell did that even happen?!) official who gets paid a pretty penny (and a retirement package that the rest of us mere mortals can only dream about) to represent the people.
Part of me didn't even wan't to write this post, as it gives time and space to a bigoted human being, however as advocates for children.... how could we not?
By Nicole Halton
Reflections on Practice Series: Maintaining the Rights and Dignity of Children (Digital Download)
We are delighted to introduce the first workbook of our Reflections on Practice Series, Maintaining the Rights and Dignity of Children.
This series offers professional development in a small, easy to manage in-house style.
This resource is designed for early childhood educators of all qualification and experience levels. It is divided into four clear sections:
1.Stories and Understandings
3.Reflecting on Practice
4.Dreaming, Planning and Taking Action
Why this topic?
Many educators claim to be advocates for the rights of children and on a broad level, usually are. However, there are many practices occurring in early childhood settings throughout Australia that, while mostly well intentioned, are disrespectful of the rights and dignity of children.
This product is a digital download. Please open on a computer rather than tablet or phone and take note of where you save your download to, enabling you to print and use.
Providing inspirational professional development opportunities for Early Childhood Educators