Children establish a similar bond with their parents in the early stages, with their teachers when the time comes. More precisely, they establish the ideal. When it cannot be established, or when the bond with parents is not sufficiently nurturing and calming, difficulties are often encountered in the process of getting used to school.
However, the subject of this article is not to get used to the school, but to think about strengthening the school motivation and bonding of children who are accustomed to school, who have a certain school image and internal representation. Especially those who are older, those who continue their secondary and high school education …
You ask why? Because with the pandemic and the subsequent distance education, young people have lost their meaning and beliefs about school, as well as some other issues related to life. However, especially the school; When the representation of the external world and authority loses its meaning because the strong, inclusive and sometimes sheltered structure represents much more than a building, it will inevitably have losses on not only academic learning but also social, emotional and physical well-being. My observation and the purpose of writing this article, as a mental health professional working with children and adolescents, is to draw attention to the deterioration of children’s relationship with school and the alarming development of children’s emotions and isolation. And it is to shout, “We are harming both children and the meaning of education in an education system that we pretend to be.”
I am aware that the existing system is challenging and tiring, and it is not easy for a teacher to adapt to the new system and work from home. In fact, at this point, when we have these feelings, it may be possible to understand better what children and young people think and experience, and maybe we can move the priority of learning to a more emotion-oriented place for a while? Can we put aside all the lessons and homework for a moment and just ask how, what does everyone feel, live, how is they coping? Isn’t it a little absurd trying to play a symphony in the house while the forest is blazing?
What do I mean:
• Children are tired, bored and unhappy. Nobody can learn permanently while feeling these emotions. So, can’t we continue the education with the focus of feeling a little more positive, not to learn a new subject, but to support and morale each other? Can’t we bring humor, music, art, entertainment, production (anything that can be done with our hands), solidarity, and say, “Fortunately, there is a school in the pandemic, at least on the screen”?
• Almost all of the children spend hours in front of the screen for distance learning with little sleep, can’t we start classes later in the mornings or at least find something to make it easier to start the day?
• If we do not have a strong system of why we assign homework and how to follow up the assignment (because there are a lot of examples where I see or no follow-up, or the parent’s role to follow homework) (which is not), can we liberate children and parents by not assigning homework?
According to Unicef, 168 million children in 14 countries have been out of school for more than a year because their school has been completely closed. The reality of each country is different, but the cost of a school being closed or continuing distance education, ie not actually attending school and being at home, can cost a child much more than is thought. So we have to reflect on what these children might be going through, understand and acknowledge that a cause that seems minor to us can be of enormous importance to his life.
Because school is much more than an academic information resource, while school provides very basic gains for social, emotional, psychological and physical development; For many countries and families affected by crises, physical protection / surveillance serves as a daily routine and stability, as well as maintaining and protecting life for health, nutrition and other special needs. Especially in crisis situations, it is very important for a child or young person to have access to a quality education, to reach their potential and to have hope for a better future. And we know that sometimes one meaningful adult in our life (often a teacher plays this role) will be quite influential in determining where we are going. And hope is almost always an important protective factor, with the function of protecting from many psychopathologies. Many children and young people in families affected by the pandemic, especially in crisis-affected families, may have lost perhaps the only area that offered them stability as the uncertainty around them increased gradually, due to their absence from school.
Therefore, I think that the school should become an effective channel in expressing the feelings and thoughts of the children and young people of the pandemic, which is very urgent, especially in secondary and high school education, is very aware of everything that is happening in the world, has a very commanding and active use of the internet. We have to do something to rebuild the meaning of the school. We should take seriously the break from school, especially at the secondary and high school levels, and the loss of faith in school. At this point, schools should focus their priority on reaching the world of children and striving for their well-being, at least to give hope for the future. Because it is impossible not to worry about accompanying an increasingly depressed, anxious, angry, more impulsive and screen-dependent generation.