Former vice-principal on student behavioural problems

Students at the Suva bus station. Picture: FT FILE

Lack of student engagement in schools has contributed to behavioural problems to an extent that it has caused indiscipline issues.

Former Fiji resident and educator Sakaraia Vuki made the observation after studying trends in Fijian schools.

He said such issues could be resolved if all parties involved understood their roles.

Mr Vuki, a former vice-principal of Marist Brothers High School who now lives in Australia, said teachers earning the respect of their students was key to addressing the issue.

“In Australia a teacher must learn to earn the respect of his or her students,” he said.

“Once you develop a good rapport with students through mutual respect and empathy, you win them over from the difficult home circumstances they have come from.

“Once you win them over, you can then start to teach them. I am referring here to the challenging students with behavioural issues, and I deal with students who come from all types of home life situations and I have to deal with them with love and respect.”

Comparing the difference between the two countries, Mr Vuki said there was a huge difference in how teachers engaged with students.

“The difference I found whilst teaching in Fiji was that teachers here demanded respect from students.

“Teachers here need to model their behaviour on how they expect their students to behave. Their actions are more important than what they say.

“Secondly, teachers in Fiji need to make learning more interesting and engaging for students. If students cannot learn because of the way teachers teach, then teachers in Fiji need to teach they way students learn.

“What I mean is that the use of technology needs to be incorporated into Fijian schools all day for seven days.”

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