UK Panel Says Schools Are Responsible For Preventing Riots

May 18, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. riot (n.) 
[rahy-uht] – a situation where a big group of people  act violently or disorderly
Example: A lot of people got hurt in the riot that broke in the streets.

2. deficiency (n.) [dih-fish-uhn-see] – a lack of something
Example:  Students with mental deficiency cannot read well.

3. materialism (n.)  [muh-teer-ee-uh-liz-uhm] – the act of putting too much importance on material wealth
Example: Having too many possessions may result in materialism.

4. character (n.) [kar-ik-ter] – a set of non-physical qualities of a person; personality
Example: She had a strong character and would not give up until she passed the test.

5. fine (v.) [fahyn] – to ask (someone) for payment as part of a penalty
Example: The police fined the man $100 for stealing.

Read the text below.

A report by the UK Riots, Communities and Victims Panel says schools play an important role in preventing riots.

The study was done to explain the series of riots in the UK last year. These acts, says the report, were caused by factors such as deficiency in support and opportunities for young people, bad parenting, materialism and distrust in the police.

The panel said schools, parents and teachers are responsible for shaping children’s values, skills and characters. It believes building the characters of young people is the main solution in keeping peace and order in the community.

In line with this, the panel suggests that schools be required to publish their methods on students’ character development.  

Additionally, the report recommends that schools be fined if their students still suffer from poor reading and writing skills after leaving school.

However, Brian Lightman of the Association of School and College Leaders says the panel’s recommendations are unrealistic. According to him, schools have always been helping students build character.

But requiring schools to collect and publish data on students’ characters will take away time and focus from the schools’ main duties. He also believes fining schools only lessens their budgets for helping poorly skilled students.

Christine Blower of the National Union of Teachers, on the other hand, emphasizes that schools cannot solve all social problems of students brought by poor housing, unemployment or poverty. She stresses the priority of teachers is simply to teach.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think schools should be held responsible for  a student’s character? Why or why not?
·          Do you agree that there are limits to what schools can teach students? In what ways should schools help students?

Discussion B

·         What do you think is the most important life lesson that you learned in school? Please explain your answer.
·         Do you believe your experience in school has helped build your character? Why or why not?


May 18, 2012