Children who suddenly run amok or act violently without reason are reacting against bad home environments and not their teachers, according to a report on a survey released recently by an affiliate of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.
Such behavior by children is the result of an inappropriate upbringing or a tense situation at home, such as friction between parents, according to the survey by the National Institute for Educational Policy Research.
Only 5 percent of such cases were the result of inappropriate treatment by teachers, which came last on the list of reasons, according to the survey, which was supported by the education ministry.
But education and child experts have questioned the results of the survey, the first of its kind, pointing out that teachers don’t come up for blame in the results because many of the cases analyzed by the institute were reported by teachers in the first place.
The survey, which apparently has findings that overlap, includes analyses of the personal histories of children and their families. It concludes that in 76 percent of the cases, an inappropriate upbringing led to the bad behavior.
Some 27 percent of the misbehavior cases manifested themselves in juvenile delinquency, 24 percent by violence at home and another 24 percent by problems between friends. A further 20 percent were in reaction to inappropriate treatment by family members who were meting out punishment for misbehaving.
According to the survey, only 18 percent of the cases were the result of academic problems. Some 17 percent were in reaction to bullying and 5 percent were in response to allegedly inappropriate treatment by teachers.
But the survey shows that most incidents of violence and uncontrollable behavior — 49 percent — occurred at school. Only 15 percent occurred at home, the survey says.
However, the institute did not include these figures in its report on the survey, arguing that this is unsurprising, as many of the cases were initially reported by teachers.
The research methods utilized in the study are questionable, according to former teacher-turned-education critic Naoki Ogi, pointing out that it views personality problems as the root of the misbehavior.
Uncontrollable behavior should be viewed as a temporary reaction and family backgrounds should not be emphasized when searching for a cause, Ogi added.
“Even if there are problems concerning the environment at home, children do not become violent at school if the children and teachers have mutual trust,” Ogi said. “The survey fails to look into what triggered the situations in which they went wild, which is much more important than their life histories.”
The survey, conducted between February and August last year, covered cases involving 654 children, including infants, elementary, junior high and high school students.
Uncontrollable behavior by children was reported by school nurses, teachers participating in student counseling as well as guidance and police officers in charge of juvenile criminal cases.
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