chapter  2
23 Pages

Discipline, Courts, Committees

Many maladjusted children are suspicious of adults. Maladjustment starts at home, and difficult parents have set up in the mind of the boy images of adult life and purposes which then stand in the way of mutual confidence even when, as in fact so often happens, the teacher is not made a direct substitute for parents and thus drawn directly into the child's conflicts. Children, too, seek to rid themselves of aggression by attacking other children, and without a disciplined framework which understands these situations, quarrelling, crises and chaos can arise. There are many objects of self government, and among these is an attempt to place the adults in a new and different relationship to pupils which will make it harder for both to feel that they have alien aims and intentions, and therefore easier for them to make their mark as individuals and individual personalities. Many, many years ago, with a much smaller group than is the case today, it was felt proper and courteous to explain to the children the purpose of an arrangement or decision, and to enlist their co-operation from an understanding on their part of the purpose of the issue. Imperceptibly this custom grew into a more formalized community meeting, and through succeeding years, by modification and a complex network of legalistic activity, the present practice has been refined.