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Class Acts

A reader asks: “I am puzzled to know how teachers control behaviour and maintain discipline in the classroom these days. All the old methods are forbidden, and rightly so for some of them, but are children punished at all today?”

QUESTION:

I am puzzled to know how teachers control behaviour and maintain discipline in the classroom these days. All the old methods are forbidden, and rightly so for some of them, but are children punished at all today?

If not, how are they to learn what is acceptable behaviour and what is not?

ANSWER:

Things have changed in school classrooms, and there is no doubt that teachers have a very difficult task in maintaining discipline and encouraging acceptable behaviour. This could be a result of less family discipline and a decline in behaviour standards in society at large.

The panel does not believe that the abolition of corporal punishment and the less frequent use of other traditional school punishments have necessarily contributed to poorer classroom behaviour.

Most schools have policies on behaviour so that teachers, students and parents do know the boundaries. Good teachers have found that rewarding good behaviour is more effective than punishment.

That is not to say that there is no punishment in schools. Schools and teachers try to develop strategies that best deal with each case.

What will work for one student will not necessarily be effective with another. In general, students are much as they have always been. The majority do conform to expectations.

Unfortunately, the more extreme examples of lack of discipline and disrespect are the ones that get publicity.

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Relationships Australia (SA) appoints panels of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it.

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