Are schools a really bad idea?

I’ve been intrigued today by this piece of research. To summarize (for those of you who don’t feel like clicking), researchers looking at behaviour in Przewalski horses found that in groups with low adult/young ratios “young horses were more aggressive and more segregated from adults and they established tighter bonds with other young.”

The scientists go on to speculate. “Tighter bonds between young in groups with low proportions of adults could be a factor which decreases the attention paid to adults and probably reduces their influence as regulators of the behaviour of young, in particular their aggressive behaviour.”

Of course this mimics the environment we artificially create for our young people, in schools. I have often thought that it’s odd the way we lock children away from the rest of society and designate a small number of adults to interact with them, while the rest of the adult world effectively washes their hands. Does this research suggest that this model increases aggression and makes young people less likely to respect and pay attention to adults – and, by extension adult society? Are we deliberately making it much harder to socialise our children? How does this chime with your experiences as a teacher?

And if the basic concept of schools is largely to blame for juvenile delinquency*, can the Daily Mail stop pillorying teachers, sex and relationships education and whatever else they think is responsible?

*Yes, I know, I’m wildly over-extending the evidence.

Posted on March 18, 2009 by in School, Science Education. Tagged , , , . Comments Off on Are schools a really bad idea?