Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Solution to Confusion

Sexual assault cases in schools today are unfortunately becoming more and more prominent. Teachers and students are confused about the proper and appropriate kind of relationship they can have. These issues can be mostly blamed on the confusion of space and touch in teacher-student relationships.

In these nonverbal relationships, there is are two extremes in space. If a teacher were to rarely come out from behind their desk and keep objects as barriers between them and the students, it is difficult for the students to feel any sort of comfortability with their teacher and therefore, are less likely to speak up in class or feel comfortable asking questions. On the other hand, a teacher that invades the personal space of the student can make them feel uncomfortable having the teacher hover over their personal bubble. When an in-between is found, I feel like the best and most effective learning takes place.

Touch in the classroom has become the most controversial topic in the classroom. Not too long ago, teachers were allowed to punish students with a paddle as a consequence for bad behavior. Today, if a teacher were to do this, there would be many upset parents and lawsuits. Just recently in the Waco school district, a kindergarten teacher was arrested for sexual assault on one of his students. More about this awful story can be found here.

While situations like this one are happening all over the country, I have to wonder what these teachers are thinking? Most of the time inappropriate relations take place between a younger teacher and an older student in which case a student could communicate unnecessary nonverbal messages to a teacher or professor. But in the case mentioned above, a 5-year-old was assaulted by a much older man. There is no way for this young student to display inappropriate nonverbal messages to her teacher.

The school systems today insist on every student learning history, math, english, and science and usually taking the same course twice throughout twelve years of schooling. After researching the misunderstandings of teacher-student relationships I strongly believe that a class over nonverbal communication and how to maintain appropriate relationships between teachers and students should be incorporated into the curriculum of our students. That being said, I also strongly believe that teachers should be required to take a class over the same material. Hopefully this would clear up some of the confusion going on in our school systems today.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog! You have very good points. I agree with you when you say that a nonverbal communication class and how to maintain appropriate relationships between teachers and students should be incorporated into the curriculum of our students! This way, we can help decrease the rate of these inappropriate behavior. Schools are supposed to be a place were our kids can feel safe, and be educated without these kind of situations occurring.
    Good job!!

  2. I completely agree with both of you. I think that teachers taking a class on appropriate and inappropriate behavior is definitely necessary. There shouldn't be a problem with this, but since there is, I think that people need to take more of an action with sexual harassment cases.

    And yes, schools are a place where students can feel safe. They are in school more hours in the day than at home!

  3. The touching allowed in schools has to be very professional from the teacher stand point because as the adult knowing what the boundaries are becomes your responsibility. If the teacher allows inappropriate behavior to take place, the student won’t think they are doing wrong.

  4. I completely agree that teachers should take a class over nonverbal behavior in the classroom prior to working within a school district. Hopefully, by setting a concrete guidline for all teachers to follow, this would cut down on the increasing number of innapropriate relationships in the classroom between students and their teachers. So many behaviors including touch and appearance could be touched upon in the class, putting all teachers on the same page about the types of relationships they are allowed to have with their students.

  5. Well said! Sadly, in our world today, even the slightest act can be misinterpreted and lead to a terrible situation for both the student and the teacher. Because teachers must set the standard for their classroom, nonverbal education should be required. I believe that if every teacher, as well as every student, lived above reproach, positive teacher-student relationships would flourish.