School phobia could be avoided.
Usmanova Shirin ID 20101481
Academic Reading and Writing EWR 1211
30 November 2010
Thesis statement: Thus, schools with the help of Ministry of Education should make some changes in educational system to prevent school phobia.
II Background information
1. Fear of not being accepted by society
2. Fear of being bullied and teased
3. Fear of being assessed by teachers
1. Problems in communication and intercourse with unfamiliar people
2. Total unsociability and creating of complexes that may lead to suicides
3. Unwillingness to reach academic achievements
III Solution One
The first solution is to make a consistency of kindergartens and schools.
1. No stress after moving to secondary school
2. Inculcating habits of studying
3. Coherent program between kindergarten and school
1. Same environment
2. Lack of premises
3. High expenses
IV. Solution Two
The second solution is creating amateur performance groups at schools.
2. Friends by interests
3. Wish to study
1. Lack of specialists
2. High expenses
V Solution Three
The third solution is to create support-centers for pupils and their families.
1. Settlement of family problems, which influence pupil’s with to study
2. Place where a pupils can outspeak and get some help if they cannot do that at home
1. Lack of specialists
2. High expenses
Victoria Murray, mother of a girl suffering school phobia, Bristol, England:" My daughter aged 9 went through almost a year of refusal - it was ghastly because on top of worrying about your child there are all the social humiliations of being watched and judged by friends and peers as you literally peel your child's fingers off the classroom doorframe and drag them screaming in to class and then run as their teacher holds them to stop them running after you. I am not exaggerating here at all. I spent many hours crying because it was so stressful. It is hard to feel like you're being so cruel to your child forcing them to go when they are so unhappy but I knew I had to be strong. It took a long 6 months to get her back into going to school happily and now she is in year 6 and doing well but if she is under the weather she relapses a little and I have to persuade her to go in (not that she 'loses it' any more but I live in fear that she will). Luckily for me the teachers, my friends and her friends were all really supportive and helped us come out the other side. In this serious situation school was ready to made concessions and help my daughter cope with this fear of school. She was allowed to go home in case of being worrying and . (Rohrer, 2009).The woman, telling her story about her child faced with the huge problem that many people confront with. "School phobia" is the name of illness that can be given to the behavior of this girl and many other pupils who reject going to school for some reasons. Nowadays the number of such children, who refuse going to school, is large. Unfortunately, there are no data about the children of Kazakhstan but taking into account the fact that children all over the world are the same; it is possible to say that the situation in our society is almost similar. Thus, schools with the help of Ministry of Education should make some changes in educational system to prevent school phobia.
The fear of going to school is not paid much attention until it does not lead to unwanted consequences. The causes of school phobia may vary from family problems to relationships between schoolmates and teachers. But the most obvious reasons of school phobia are the fear of being not accepted by new society, the fear of bullying and teasing, in addition the fear of being assessed by teachers. All of us confront with the obstacles created by the fear of failure in front of new surroundings. However, it is a common knowledge that children get used to new people much easier, than adults. That is why the problem of pupils who are scared of not being accepted by new society should be paid special attention. This fear may lead to future problems concerning communications and intercourses with foreign people. Proceeding from the first reason the second one goes. Nowadays bullying has become common problem in many schools, nonetheless some pupils react on it too keenly and bullying becomes the main reason of school refusal. Subsequently in may result in unsociability and self-analysis that by-turn could lead to the attempt of suicide or other psychic problems that must be cured on higher level. Another cause of school phobia is fear of assessment. Pupils are afraid of teachers’ criticism and do not want to have bad grades. This fear may totally remove any desire to study and reach academic achievements. Taking into account these three causes of school phobia, the main serious consequence that could be resulted from them is complete emotional disorder and no study at school at all, that is school phobia.
The first solution is to make a consistency of kindergartens and schools. Systems of education in these two institutions should be united in order not to stress children. In Kazakhstan we have only one example of the united system of schools and kindergartens named “Blue sail”. This is the largest institution of education in Kazakhstan that includes kindergartens, nursery schools, preliminary and secondary schools. “Blue Sail” has its complexes in several cities of Kazakhstan, notably in Astana, Almaty, Atyrau and Karaganda. But this is not state-based establishment. Thus, to solve the problem of school phobia The Ministry of Education should follow the example of private entrepreneur. Kindergartens should have transitional program that is coherent with school program for children to prepare them for school and make an intake of pupils already at kindergartens without changing a membership of the classes. The preparation should include a complex of tutorials for children to make predictions to some changes that they will face at school. They are: self preparation, assessment and responsibility of doing homework. In addition, kindergartens should not change a group of pupils who were united in their childhood, because it may very profitable for pupils to avoid school phobia. In kindergartens children do not care about their complexes and fears of being not accepted by peers. Consistency of kindergartens and schools may be beneficial for pupils of the same groups from kindergarten to school. First, why it may be helpful for pupils to make a consistency of schools and kindergartens is that such type of studying will inculcate habits of studying from the very childhood. Nowadays the situation in local kindergartens is different: Children usually are not taught various subjects, hence they are not familiar what they are expected to do at school. The main advantage of amalgamation of kindergartens with schools is that pupils will not change their common surroundings and will not have to face with the barrier of new relationships. Communication with each other from the very childhood may contribute to friendly atmosphere and strong class spirit. Children will treat each other not only as classmates, but as family members. Such atmosphere may be positive for pupils because going to school will attract them both from social and learning side. But there are also some disadvantages of uniting schools and kindergartens. Giving a chance of not becoming a part of new society, but staying in familiar one may act like an indulgence to normal fears of any person. This way, schools themselves may avoid problems at pupils’ childhood, but at the same time sacrificing abilities of future relationship of children.
The second solution is creating amateur performance groups at schools. At present times schools are mostly directed on studying purposes without paying attention to extracurricular programs. They should understand that such method may be helpful for pupils who suffer school phobia. Being interested in something that may not refer to general school program will give a chance to shy and “fearful” pupils to find themselves among others. Such children are ready to become interested in something only with the help of other initiative persons.(Coplan, Girardi, Findlay, & Frohlick, 2007). Such amateur groups should be that very initiators that will involve them in such groups by interests. The most obvious advantage of this solution is that pupils who may be interested in music, art, astronomy, sport or something else will find themselves in the society and a fear of being bullied or teased by others because of disrespect will vanish. This solution has a disadvantage as a possibility to find friends by interests. At the same time they may get to know new people and have a good practice of chatting with persons of the same age. Such type of making acquaintance may be easier for suffering school phobia children, because they will already know what to talk about. In addition, such pupils will become more self-confident. Having of a talent in some sphere where others do not may make a child feel proud and forget about fears. Moreover, these courses may play a role of indirect catch for children who show “separation anxiety and school refusal” (Doobay, 2008). Psychological barriers such as diffidence influence academic achievements the same way as family problems and fear of new society. But this solution has two disadvantages that are interconnected. First is that in our country we do not have enough specialists to teach various types of amateur courses. High expenses are the disadvantage that results from the first one. It may be described by the fact, that if we have such specialists, they may cost too high that every school could let have these program. In addition, most equipment, required for such courses, has high prices and again, not every school could let itself have extracurricular classes.
The third solution is to create support-centers for pupils and their families. There may be two types of help – personal therapy and family therapy. But researchers reported that improvement result of family therapy was more effective than personal therapy (Jay, 1997). Because of statistics, “the improvement rate when family therapy is used to deal with child behavioral problems is 71%” (1974), it would be better to follow the program of working with the whole family. The plan of solving the problem of a child should be regarded in individual approach but according to the general plan. It means, that every situation should be regarded from both sides – parents’ and children’s ones. After that, specialists would define what was the root of a problem and how deep it is is now. In addition, every unhappy family should have a folder with data, thus it would be easier for school stuff to evaluate the situation. (Vacca, 2008). Next, parents need to be explained that they should try not to resist given program, but agree to have this therapy to solve their problem (Jay, 1997). This aspect is very important, because parents sometimes may not want to admit their faults. They may refuse to follow such program probably because some of them know that parents create the reasons, why their children suffer school phobia. After all that preparation, the therapy itself can be started.
Most reasons of school avoidance may go from family problems and if they cannot be solved at home, schools should do that. Children from problem families with unemployed or incarcerated parent may have a lot of problems at school from various aspects, such as grades, relations with teachers and communication with classmates. 50% of pupils of incarcerated parents have problems at school (Vacca, 2008). If such supportive centers may be created at schools, some part of problems will be solved. The main advantage solution is the fact, that anyone who has a problem at school may come at this center and at least have somebody to talk, who will not judge him or punish, but will give reasonable solution from professional point of view. The first disadvantage of this solution is that it requires high expenses: new building or additional space, social specialists and psychologists. All that may cost too much and not every school will be able to let themselves have such supportive centers. The main disadvantage is that there is a lack of specialists, who can work with children and show some results as we can see in statistics, given above. Unfortunately, the fact that we do not have enough specialists is a real problem, because we even do not have special preparation of working with the children, who suffer from school phobia and other childish psychological disorders.
To conclude it is possible to say, even though the last third solution for prevention of school phobia by creating school-based support-centers for families may require high expenses and specialists, this solution is the best from these three listed. It is the most appropriate solution to avoid school phobia because there are some theoretical data about such support-centers. In addition, in other countries some schools already used some steps towards solving the problem of school refusal as was described above by a mother of a girl who suffered separation anxiety. To my opinion, psychological problems should be solved be direct ways, that is with the help of such centers. Specialists should interfere families with the problems, because if they not, the consequences may be tragic. Children will not suffer school phobia, but they will have problems much more complicated and they may impede living adult life. I would recommend for avoiding school phobia not to make a fuss about going to school for the first time or making acquaintance with classmates at the first day, having high grades and punishing for low ones. In addition, I would say that all listed solutions of preventing school phobia can be done personally by parents. The problem of school phobia is still not widely described, but if there are some solutions for solving it, people should follow them and do not neglect it.