Editorial - Taking them as they are

By Misch PautschLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Schools in Luxembourg are facing enormous challenges, to put it mildly. But can they even be solved in the classroom?

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It is rare to hear exactly the same sentence said for fundamentally different reasons during two interviews. If it happens, it deserves attention: "We can't change the children, so we have to change ourselves". For CePAS Director Keipes, it is an honest mission statement, a staking out of the school staff's room for manoeuvre and a recognition of the constantly new demands placed on the institution of school. But for SEW spokesperson Damé, it is part of a list of what she considers to be "infantilising" platitudes that teaching staff hear when they report outbreaks of violence in classrooms. "That's just the way it is. Deal with it."

"We can't change the children, so we have to change ourselves" is part of the answer to the question of how physical violence in classrooms can, should and must be dealt with. The reason for the violence resonates in the premise of our statement: Namely, that some children "are" something. But what is it actually? The answers in all the interviews are variants of the same idea: "less resilient", "not resistant to stress", "constantly on edge", "less attentive", "heavily neglected", "severely traumatised". Not all of them, of course, but seemingly more and more.

The crux of the matter is that they "are" none of those, but have become it. Because everyone agrees that "no child is born aggressive". So what "makes" them what they "are" – and what school staff have to deal with? This is where it gets more complicated, and a defensible answer can probably only be written by all the educationalists, psychologists and sociologists in the world working together. But two chapters in this hypothetical book would probably deal with educational responsibility and social media.

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