1 in 5 students practice self-injury

From CNN Monday, June 5, 2006

CHICAGO,
Illinois (AP) — Nearly 1 in 5 students at two Ivy League schools say
they have purposely injured themselves by cutting, burning or other
methods, a disturbing phenomenon that psychologists say they are
hearing about more often.

My teacher friends tell me that cutting oneself and related self-abuse is not uncommon in Hong Kong schools, but I am somewhat surprised to hear that it happened to 20% of Ivy League students in the US. Is this a fad that is passed around after it has caught on, or is there something about recent youth culture that makes young people more susceptible to self-abuse than before? I am inclined to think it is the latter. Really sad.

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5 thoughts on “1 in 5 students practice self-injury

  1. It is not yet too serious, for those little kids are still not courageous enough to kill themselves at one decisive stoke. (Even the teachers of those helpless children are helpless themselves, when confronting problems from all sides, including the children’s family problems). To be psychologically balanced, sometimes, one has to learn the wisdom of being cruel: let them perish, or else you will be perished. If you were from the worst banding schools in Hong Kong, you would be even more surprised to know there are more “interesting” things going on among our youth. A city without direction, and inside it, men without power–feminine culture reigns.

  2. From my friends I know a little bit about all the discipline and family problems in some local schools. This is why I think a lot of the proposed educational reforms are really silly since they do not address this group of students at all.

  3. Fair enough. The proposed educational reforms are silly in many different sense (if they are not a total non-sense)For example, the authoriy believes that simply to make our youngsters happy in the most vulgar sense is what language education is about, and this, thanks to those never-do-wells from the beloved faculties of education, has become, through the accumulation of discourses, an ideology that not many a person will be critical of, just like “elite education”–a taboo nowadays, isn’t it? (leaving aside the redundancy of the faculty at the moment)Given this uncritical mentality prevails, students are prone to the most feeble/passive ways of learning or simply feel lost. The vital distinction between inside-school and outside-school breaks down, which means that young students have no way but to suffer from the stupidity of the society when their own critical intellects are not yet mature. The system nips them in the buds. (just like the so-called critical/independent thinking, how many secondary teachers are able to “teach” or inspire their students, though it seems that they can show what irraional or uncritical thinking pretty well? and how the syllabus of other subjects help when less and less organised substances are to be provided for thought?) Teachers, poor them, have to be clowns, as they were, (of course, some teachers enjoy being clowns for they have not much to teach really) and unfortunately, they are not able to say anything, either because they are not critical of the authority, or they are not brave enough to defy, or more often than not, they don’t care, when they have no thoughtfulness of what education should lead the students to, except this goal, namely, the passing of exams. There are cases where young and critical teachers don’t want to be different from many stupid colleagues, to save from being isolated. This contributes to general conformism of all parties in education field. Even more ironically, teachers’ own families are now at risk, and their own children have to face what the teachers’ students face as well. My friends who are smart won’t go to teach in primary/secondary schools in Hong Kong, and if they love teaching (those holding “good old dreams”), they will go to teach at the university level instead to save themselves from personal ruins. An organic vicious circle.

    If I am allowed to say more, those self-abuse cases of our youngsters are what we may call “irresponsibility”. Nay, there is a general irresponsible culture here in Hong Kong even our Chief Executive can be an exemplar, when one consider the following clues:

    1) when failing to confront with rational arguments, he calls those opposition “opposition party” and urges them not to oppose for the opposition’s sake–how interesting, if this can be a “reason” in a debate for not listening/responding to what others say. Consider when someone of the opposition side in a secondary school debating contest say something like this, what would the judges judge?–A self-destructive/abuse case!

    2) when our CE went to an important meeting in mainland China, amidst of it, his mobile phone rang, and do you recall what he did say? He did not say sorry because of his indecency, and instead, he attributes his personal fault (of not having switched off his mobile phone in such an official meeting) to advertisement calls from Hong Kong. I have not found any critics to take this case of irresponsibility seriously. Even our CE is not well brought-up, I am sorry to say!

  4. Our society celebrates things that we cannot do much about and that are accessible to only a few: appearance, social status, financial solvency. (But of course, our society keeps telling us that they can be changed, otherwise money cannot be spent, the most meaningful activity suspended.) Rarely do people appreciate things accessible to all and unique ways of life that one can develop through one’s effort and taste: nature (flowering, bird watching, hiking), reading, arts, … (People would rather spend several thousands dollars to buy a handbag whose brandname they cannot pronounce than to buy several books to read. With the handbags, they remain the same persons. But if you read a few books, go hiking a number of times, you become a bit different from who you were.) If you are kept being told that a good life rests on things that you can barely change and that are bestowed on some lucky ones, how can one feel that her life is meaningful? (Love, which I think is a basic entitlement, is also a commodity here. Think how many commericals try to assoiciate their products – property, mobile phones, or even biscuits – with love, or things which have the semblance of it: relationships, sexual attraction. I think it becomes inseparable from vanity, which I think is very sad). If students are to feel what they do is meaningful, a lot has to be done. It is unrealistic to think that education reform can cure everything. Lack of respect for history, for culture, for nature, for arts, for freedom of thought and actions … There are too many problems here. I am deeply pessimistic.

    Charlie

  5. 容許我用中文
    剛剛無意中看到鳳凰衛視轉播一場由中國前教育部副部長張保慶先生的演講,內容正正就是教育。他要說題目的是教育能不能「賺錢」,能不能「企業化」。聽過他所說的,我不禁覺得很慚愧,我們負責教育的官員(包括那位「打機」局長),質素(遠見、胸襟、說話基本邏輯)實在比不上中國大陸。人家對教育開始變質成商品有很嚴肅很深入的關注與反省,而我們的官員就只懂說官腔;連官腔都不太掌握的,就說到頗三倒四,甚至動輒說出涼薄的話語。張先生說得很好,教育是一個國家、一個社會最大的福利事業,中間不能有所間斷,資源需要不斷投入而不能遠求所謂「成果」,他問一個畢業生的價值,如何用錢來衡量,怎樣計?更有趣的是,張先生引用Plato、Socrates與儒家典籍中對教育最終目標的討論,道出教育最終目的是真、善、美,而不是香港官員日日「心口不一致」說的「分數」、「合格牽」、「增值」、「學生就業牽」。一個有遠見的教育家,就是明白教育不會,亦不能,短視,否則一子錯,滿盤皆落索。張先生說,若一個小學政策錯了,不單單害了人家子弟六年,而是會波及中學、大學教育,也害了學生的一生。(不幸的是,看看香港的情況,所謂教改,對教育界所方面所造成幾大的傷害?學生越來越變得不知所從、教師疲於奔命而失去「教育」的最基本方向–越來越多無謂的會議、文件工作,「增值」–給不懂教人的人教如何去教人,甚至額外負責學校宣傳工作以免「殺校」危機、學校在政府「行政工具理性一面化」、「商業化」等種種情情況下,通過種種所謂「改革」,從上而下又朝令夕改地不斷干擾大、中、小學教育。學生真正的需要,教育的理想往往成了一堆堆文件的最底部的議題。苦的是學生,教育前線、甚至是整個社會的未來。看看語言教育,政府將自己政策的種種失誤,全歸咎老師的質素(不合基準),將自己的責任推得一乾二淨。

    坦白說,我自己中學時都受過很多苦,老師的質素參差的確是事實;但這不是事實的全部,理由是,這些老師都是政府政策的「產物」,而且所謂「教改」,即「無痛愉快學習」、「求學不是求分數口號」、「活動教學」,叫學生走來走去,就能學好語言,這絕不是老師的錯,而正正是教育當局藥石亂投的教育政策最新產品。

    另外,各大學教育學院「舔」外國口水尾,趕潮流,跑碼頭,生產一堆又一堆「阿媽是女人」的所謂教育理論,這又對學生又何幫助呢?難道將學生上課不守秩序(以前一真都有),美其名為「Classroom mis-management」,就能解決?

    教師在沉重的教學工作上又要拿錢來進修這些所謂「理論」,那對下一代、對教師又有何實際的助益?巧立名目,甚麼IVE,甚麼副學士、副副學士、展翅、毅進等等等等,目的就是淘乾淨學生家長的腰包,到最後,家長、學生還不是有冤無路訴,和落入祈福黨、種金團陷阱的苦主不遑多樣。與其給政府哄騙,不如鼓勵將那些錢,拿一部分出來,救濟第三世界國家的苦兒童與饑民,不單實實在在幫到需要幫助的人,也可以積積陰德,這亦為下一代孩子上補一補國際公民課。

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