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  • Jul 29, 2014
  • Updated: 4:10am
CommentLetters

Appalled by school pupils' behaviour

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 11:26pm

Last Friday, my friends and I attended the Globe Theatre's production of The Taming of the Shrew. We thought we had ideal seats - the middle of Row E of the dress circle - but no. We were virtually surrounded - in front, behind, and to the right - by students apparently from Sha Tin College.

Throughout the first half, these rude teenagers talked non-stop, which included those in front talking to those behind; moved forwards, backwards and sideways; played with mobile phones; passed pens to each other to fill in their rustling worksheets; and crunched crisps non-stop. Our glares and occasional whispered request for better behaviour were futile.

The first half of our evening was a waste of HK$600 each.

At the interval, we looked for their teacher. However, such a person was conspicuous by their absence, either because they genuinely weren't there, or because they were embarrassed by their students' unacceptable behaviour and their own inability to control it.

At this time, one of my friends asked for the name of the school from a boy in front.

If he deliberately gave us the wrong name, I apologise to the Sha Tin College community.

Fortunately, for our equanimity and enjoyment of an excellent and thought-provoking production, we were able to move to other seats for the second half. However, this should not have been necessary. Attending any professional theatre is a privilege and comes with certain responsibilities. These students did not display any sense of this privilege or any understanding of their responsibilities as members of the audience.

We are not old fuddy-duddies. My friends and I are all experienced secondary teachers. We work with teenagers daily.

Between us, we have taken students to numerous theatrical performances in many countries. Our students are told what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. They are not given worksheets to fill in during the performance, even if the performance is specifically for schools.

Teenagers are able to sit through a Shakespearean play without behaving as if they were at home. Unfortunately these students could not.

Until and unless they are able to do so, I suggest that the school does not inflict its students' poor behaviour on Hong Kong's theatre-loving public.

I also suggest that theatres do not sell block bookings of tickets to schools when seats within those blocks have already been sold to the public.

Julie Moffat, Ma On Shan

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This article is now closed to comments

mercedes2233
大凡物不得其平則嗚。
pslhk
Shrews played off stage in interactive education
by copycat “international” scholarisms
democrazy coming home to roost
thru practical experiments in “liberal” education
hehez
heh
hehez
hmm
ekwright
Very valid point.
abcd1234
Lets begin with a question. Is it really necessary? does it make you feel better knowing that you have tarnished the reputation of a newspaper with your petty problems? does it make you feel accomplished flaunting your sophisticated occupation of a schoolteacher in charge of polite children? does it occur to you that you've manipulated a form of social media to defame an entire school when you've barely met 1% of the student body?
Honestly not. As an experienced "fuddy duddy" and a member of the education industry i believe that you- of all people, should be able to understand teenage mentality. These school children definitely owe members of the public an apology for their appalling behaviour, but you owe the entire school an apology for being detrimental to their image because of something so minor. Dont get me wrong i reserve you every right for complaining but not through social media, it simply presents you as sassy and unnecessary.
mercedes2233
(A reply from me appears to have disappeared, so at the risk of repeating myself, I wish to respond to the above.)
Students are ambassadors for their schools, and they have tarnished its reputation already. Why is blaming them in public more objectionable than the writer's loss, when the students started the incident? As to the points others make about them being in the vicinity but not bothered by the interruptions, my reply is: babies crying during a church service will not bother their parents, but almost everybody else. A car driving past with loud boom-boom music is going to bother passers-by but not the car's occupants. Try that behavior in a cinema, and see if the neighbors will not shush you down. I am amazed that the self-proclaimed fuddy-duddy and teacher above takes this attitude on the whistle-blower rather than on the culprits. With teachers like this, how will teenagers learn responsibility and etiquette? If name-calling is in fashion, you present as passé and irresponsible, and probably a bad teacher.
mercedes2233
It presents you as biased and bigoted too. A baby crying in a church service will irritate many attendees, but not its parents. A car driving past with loud blaring thump-thump music will not bother the occupants, but will certainly the bystanders who don't like thump-thump music. If such behavior by the students does not bother you, it doesn't mean that others should put up with it. If the students had behaved at the performance, the complainant would not need to complain. Students are ambassadors of their schools. If they misbehave in public, they damaged their school's reputation themselves. Thank you, Ms Moffat for letting us know. I understand teenage mentality, but that doesn't mean we have to condone it. With teachers like you, abcd123, no wonder some teenagers behave they way they do.
richardg23
The unacceptable behaviour of children on a school trip is exactly a reflection of the (awful) schooling they have received, and guidance they receive from parents, peers and other mentors. Fair comment by the letter writer
Andre Pannu
Being part of the group which had gone to attend the performance of The Taming of the Shrew, I wish to apologize, and do so expressing my deepest regrets to Ms Moffat, and to any others who may have had their experience of such a wonderful, enjoyable play somewhat dampened; I am certain we are all sincerely sorry.
As I was seated also on Row E, albeit far off to the right, near where the rows of seats turn off at an angle, I am aware of the disturbance we may have caused to the nearby members of the audience. And although I feel that some of the accounts above may have been exaggerated (at least, from what I had noticed), I do not deny that we could, and should, have been more respectful and more responsible. And so, on behalf of those who have caused the disruption to the audience, I apologize.

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