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Grooming in an Unregulated Profession


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#31 Aquarelle

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 14:23

 

a violin teacher might need to touch a pupil to get a particular position right. I pointed out that this would also often be the case of a singing teacher

 

I'm afraid this is now very much advised against. It is not necessary to touch any pupil to get them to change hand position, bow hold, become aware of their breathing, etc.. The ABRSM video on Safeguarding advises such and the ISM Safeguarding podcast also advises that this isn't necessary. Both of these are available for anyone to watch. Of course, they are in addition to school Safeguarding annual courses. Sometimes it is hard using words to describe hand positions etc but it is entirely possible - I have to do this for classical guitar. The vocal teacher I know does not use any touch either. Imagination is key!

 

Well after more than 50 years of teaching I can honestly say that it is certainly not always possible not to touch a child for either explantion or resrtaint. I also think  ithat to give the impression that all and any touching is suspect  is an inhuman and dangerous policy likely to cause a lot of children to become thoroughly neurotic. 

 

If the touching is normal and natural and has nothing sinister about it then it is a positive factor. We were not meant to live in spendid isolation of one another. I accept that some people are not happy with being touched but most children I meet during a teaching week wil happily greet me with a kiss on both cheeks. In a primary  school situation there are  sometimes children who are touch starved because of inadequate parenting and are apt to throw their arms around a teacher.. I  and my colleagues wouldn't dream of pushing them away.

 

On my last teaching practice many years ago  in a difficult London primary school a little girl cried when my supervisor told the class I would be leaving. She was a poor little scrap and was still crying when it was time to take the children out to play. My (male) supervisor picked her up and carried her down the stairs and by the time we got to the playground she was smiling. He just reacted to her distress - but he wasn't a person full of anglo-saxon restraint. He happened to be Polish. I have long forgotten the child's name but I have never forgotten the incident.


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#32 thara96

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 08:36

 

 

a violin teacher might need to touch a pupil to get a particular position right. I pointed out that this would also often be the case of a singing teacher

 

I'm afraid this is now very much advised against. It is not necessary to touch any pupil to get them to change hand position, bow hold, become aware of their breathing, etc.. The ABRSM video on Safeguarding advises such and the ISM Safeguarding podcast also advises that this isn't necessary. Both of these are available for anyone to watch. Of course, they are in addition to school Safeguarding annual courses. Sometimes it is hard using words to describe hand positions etc but it is entirely possible - I have to do this for classical guitar. The vocal teacher I know does not use any touch either. Imagination is key!

 

Well after more than 50 years of teaching I can honestly say that it is certainly not always possible not to touch a child for either explantion or resrtaint. I also think  ithat to give the impression that all and any touching is suspect  is an inhuman and dangerous policy likely to cause a lot of children to become thoroughly neurotic. 

 

If the touching is normal and natural and has nothing sinister about it then it is a positive factor. We were not meant to live in spendid isolation of one another. I accept that some people are not happy with being touched but most children I meet during a teaching week wil happily greet me with a kiss on both cheeks. In a primary  school situation there are  sometimes children who are touch starved because of inadequate parenting and are apt to throw their arms around a teacher.. I  and my colleagues wouldn't dream of pushing them away.

 

On my last teaching practice many years ago  in a difficult London primary school a little girl cried when my supervisor told the class I would be leaving. She was a poor little scrap and was still crying when it was time to take the children out to play. My (male) supervisor picked her up and carried her down the stairs and by the time we got to the playground she was smiling. He just reacted to her distress - but he wasn't a person full of anglo-saxon restraint. He happened to be Polish. I have long forgotten the child's name but I have never forgotten the incident.

 

 

 

 

a violin teacher might need to touch a pupil to get a particular position right. I pointed out that this would also often be the case of a singing teacher

 

I'm afraid this is now very much advised against. It is not necessary to touch any pupil to get them to change hand position, bow hold, become aware of their breathing, etc.. The ABRSM video on Safeguarding advises such and the ISM Safeguarding podcast also advises that this isn't necessary. Both of these are available for anyone to watch. Of course, they are in addition to school Safeguarding annual courses. Sometimes it is hard using words to describe hand positions etc but it is entirely possible - I have to do this for classical guitar. The vocal teacher I know does not use any touch either. Imagination is key!

 

Well after more than 50 years of teaching I can honestly say that it is certainly not always possible not to touch a child for either explantion or resrtaint. I also think  ithat to give the impression that all and any touching is suspect  is an inhuman and dangerous policy likely to cause a lot of children to become thoroughly neurotic. 

 

If the touching is normal and natural and has nothing sinister about it then it is a positive factor. We were not meant to live in spendid isolation of one another. I accept that some people are not happy with being touched but most children I meet during a teaching week wil happily greet me with a kiss on both cheeks. In a primary  school situation there are  sometimes children who are touch starved because of inadequate parenting and are apt to throw their arms around a teacher.. I  and my colleagues wouldn't dream of pushing them away.

 

On my last teaching practice many years ago  in a difficult London primary school a little girl cried when my supervisor told the class I would be leaving. She was a poor little scrap and was still crying when it was time to take the children out to play. My (male) supervisor picked her up and carried her down the stairs and by the time we got to the playground she was smiling. He just reacted to her distress - but he wasn't a person full of anglo-saxon restraint. He happened to be Polish. I have long forgotten the child's name but I have never forgotten the incident.

 

This is true. I think that hugging a pupil is out of the equation but if you are blind and you are touching them appropriately, there is no issue. 


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#33 jenny

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 09:43

I reposition fingers, hands, arms and shoulders a lot, but I am very careful how I do it. It is a very deliberate but "forensic" touching and I only use the very tips of my fingers to do it.

Sometimes young children snuggle up to me and even try to sit on my lap when I am teaching them. That's a bit difficult! Usually with the ones this age a parent is present though - I've never had a parent have a problem with it - they usually laugh.

 

I've always touched the fingers, arms and shoulders of pupils in an effort to improve posture and hand shape.

I also get the occasional hug - last week, a particularly challenging young pupil had had a rather difficult lesson (there were some tears) and as she left, she suddenly turned to give me a hug. It was as though she was apologizing for her behaviour, but didn't have the right words.    


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#34 thara96

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 00:21

My suggestion is to ask "Do you want me to touch you"? If the answer is no, do not. 


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#35 ten left thumbs

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 11:29

My suggestion is to ask "Do you want me to touch you"? If the answer is no, do not. 

I can't think of a worse way of putting it. What is the student supposed to say? Yes, yes I really want you to touch me! No, definitely don't touch me! The student has no idea what the teacher is trying to teach, what technical thing they are supposed to learn, and how touching might help. 

 

I just say, may I take your hand?

 

I'd like to return to the the main issue here, regulation. A case has been put that our profession should be regulated to reduce the risk of abuse and grooming to children. I'm not in favour, though I do care about child welfare, obviously. I've been turning this over in my mind.

 

Despite all the expense and hassle to us, if I really thought it would help, significantly, to reduce the risk to children, then I would be for regulation. I just don't think it would help. Constant vigilance is the only thing that will help. 


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#36 jenny

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 12:06

 

My suggestion is to ask "Do you want me to touch you"? If the answer is no, do not. 

I can't think of a worse way of putting it. What is the student supposed to say? Yes, yes I really want you to touch me! No, definitely don't touch me! The student has no idea what the teacher is trying to teach, what technical thing they are supposed to learn, and how touching might help. 

 

I just say, may I take your hand?

 

 

I agree. it would be much better to say 'is it okay if I touch your hand/back?' I must admit that I don't ask my pupils if I (occasionally) need to touch them, but I think it's obvious when I do that it's being done in a 'professional' way.     


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#37 Aquarelle

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 13:57

I agree with the comments made above and had thought of posting along the same lines. However I didn't because it occurred to me that English might not be thara96's mother tongue. Perhaps she could clarify?


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#38 Gran'piano

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 14:30

My suggestion is to ask "Do you want me to touch you"? If the answer is no, do not. 

I just hate to think of the reaction of the parents if the child quoted this question to them. Alarm bells I imagine.


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#39 HelenVJ

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 16:42

'Do you want me to touch you?' sounds horribly creepy.

Now that I only teach from home, it's easy for me to have the requirement that a parent sits in for at least the first 10 lessons - longer, in the case of really young (under 7) beginners - and also any parent is welcome to sit in at any time.

Before even the first lesson, I explain to parents that some touching of the hand, wrist and elbow will be involved, and ask if their child is likely to have a problem with this. Then in the lesson I might say something like' I'm just going to move your wrist, if that's OK', having explained why, and demonstrated with my own.

I don't think our East European, Ukrainian, Russian colleagues would be able to think of teaching without a lot more of a hands-on approach than we are used to here. I can't make the links work, but those of Irina Mints in her Hello Piano! Facebook page show how much this approach is taken for granted - as well as how beautifully her students play.


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