Maybe it’s a because I’m totally old school but when visiting my doctor, I refer to him not by his Christian name but either as simply doctor or doctor Bediako. Should I be confronted by police, I certainly would not attempt to break down barriers by asking for the officer’s first name. And it would be silly to address a judge by her first name rather than using an honorific title. It’s a simple matter of etiquette and common sense.

Yet in the wonderful word of education, dominated as it is by counterproductive leftist fads such as multiple intelligences, different learning styles, group work and the like, teachers are supposedly improving learning by removing appellation-based social barriers:

Teachers are allowing students to call them by their first names as some schools move away from the use of titles and surnames.

Advocates of the approach believe it fosters a more personal relationship, removes languages barriers, and puts students in a better position to take charge of their own learning and feel more confident to question adults.

“Belief” is not evidence:

“Respect isn’t one way; respect is earned, not assumed, in all walks of life,” said Sue Charleston, head of school primary years at Woodville Gardens School in South Australia.

“I feel very strongly about the notion of respect because it tends to be used as an argument of putting up this barrier of formal address.

“But there isn’t a link between discipline problems and calling teachers and educators by their first name in my 18 years of experience.”

Her students call her Sue and she believes it allows them to quickly establish a relationship with her.

“I feel like I’m positioning myself as a learner alongside students, rather than this holder of all knowledge,” Ms Charleston said.

“This removing of a social distance I think helps me be more approachable to students, and as a leader that’s really important.”

Principal Toni Buford is totally onboard with informality:

“When I went to school you didn’t dare call the teacher by their first name or if you did know it, you whispered it,” Ms Burford said.

“But the whole approach to building relationships with students has become very important; we know a surname or a title doesn’t necessarily build you respect or trust from the students.

“We spend a lot of time here at our school building positive relationships, personalising learning for students, responding to their needs individually.”

No evidence is offered that dropping a teacher’s surname or title improves educational outcomes. Such is the leftist world of education.

Anyone with any sense wouldn’t go into teaching, which accounts for the exceedingly low teacher education requirements.

One thought on “LET’S BE FRIENDS

  1. I’m a teacher, not a ‘friend’ at school. There is a difference and I had an excellent relationship with students because of the formality of the relationship with me, the adult, being in charge. Schools are best run as a benevolent dictatorship; students often tell strong teachers how much they appreciate them and how much they despise weak teachers.


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