It doesn’t matter if you stick a bunch of preschoolers in ties or teenagers in bright orange prison jumpsuits, dressing children the same doesn’t make them better learners. It doesn’t make them behave better. Children learn best in safe environments where they are respected and where the staff and management respect one another. I know I’ve ranted about this before [and all over MN] but I have NEVER seen any research-based evidence that says uniform increases student outcomes or changes their behaviour positively. I have seen lots of studies which imply this [and media coverage which swears blind that this is the case] but in these studies the inclusion or formalising of school uniforms has always been part of a wide-ranging number of changes to the schools including a new management team and a new behavioural contract policy.
This article in the BBC just made me want to rip my hair out. Now, I don’t necessarily agree that teenagers calling their teachers by their first names is a good thing. That’s the type of behaviour that comes after positive relationships already exist between the students and staff [and I frigging loathe the diminutive “Miss” for women teachers. Totally demeaning that shit is]. But, this pretence that British children learn better wearing ties and shorts in the winter is just nincompoopery. American, Canadian and German children don’t wear uniforms and their children aren’t running about like Barbarians blowing up schools and assassinating their teachers. Violence does occur but that is reflected, particularly in the US, in the exclusion of poor, ethnic minority students into sinkhole schools and gang culture. It’s about poverty and racism. Children aren’t stupid. They can tell when their school is funded properly or when they are being dumped somewhere with teachers who don’t care and they respond accordingly.
Could we just stop with this freaking cognitive dissonance about ties making kids learn better. It just seriously farks me off.