The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teacher panic over problem child

Ten years ago, a teacher in a well-known English-medium school in central Calcutta had no problem controlling his students. A hard stare would be enough to scare them into submission. Now, kids just refuse to toe the line. The distraught teacher has lodged a complaint with the school authorities about their unruly behaviour.

An increasing number of teachers in city schools are reportedly finding it more difficult to handle children, especially from classes VI to XII. Not only are they naughtier, they have become extremely talkative and don't pay heed to the warnings that would have worked before.

Teachers are lodging formal complaints with school administrations, seeking remedial measures and solutions to the growing problem.

'We have been receiving lots of complaints from teachers regarding unruly children,' confirms Ismail Nehal, a senior teacher at St James, and president of the Association of Teachers of Anglo-Indian Schools. The unruliness, he feels, can be blamed squarely on 'overexposure to TV and movies'.

City-based psychologists feel schools and the academic system are at fault. 'Students are pressurised both at school and at home. This is their way of revolting,' feels Jairanjan Ram, a psychologist attached to Apollo Gleneagles Hospital. The usual suspect ' TV ' is an obvious culprit, giving students more talking points, apart from its more subtle psychological impacts.

Adolescents have become more 'talkative and vociferous', stresses C.R. Gasper, principal, St Augustine School and president of the Association of Heads of Anglo-Indian Schools in Calcutta.

'With a tight academic schedule and constant peer pressure, they voice their thoughts inside the class whenever they get time,' says Gasper. Teachers are being appointed to look out for students during breaks and they are also to be sent on refresher courses to help keep the restless minds engaged.

Psychiatrists report more students coming into their chambers. 'Educational burdens and peer pressure have combined to impact their minds,' observes Ranadip Ghosh Roy, a city-based psychiatrist. 'Their parents tell me it is the schools that are to blame. But I believe it is a combination of factors at home and in school,' says Prabir Pal, another mental-health professional.

A meeting between the Anglo-Indian schools' teachers' association and principals' association is on the cards to try and find an effective solution.

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