Back to Old School Discipline for Teachers
Right about the time ridiculous cases hit courts for suing anyone for the littlest thing, discipline in schools starting disappearing. If someone could be sued for the use of a wrong word, stating that someone might need a larger size in a piece of clothing or a company for selling hot coffee then teachers could fear being sued for invoking school policies for disciplinary action. Fear has been reigning in the United Kingdom school system and it is the teachers feeling it.
Every school in the UK has a behaviour policy. This policy states the rules of conduct for pupils and the actions teachers can take to fairly discipline the students. The policies cover a variety of topics including the punishments that can be provided. However, with fear of being sued most of these policies go unused.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has announced this is no longer going to happen. Students need to be taught discipline that consequences have actions. Good behaviour can be rewarded, but poor behaviour can also see a response.
Goofing off at work or calling in sick too many times without proper back up notices will get a person fired. In school, being rude to teachers, disrupting class time, or using inappropriate behaviour and getting proper discipline for it is the only way students will learn about the consequences of the real world.
Michael Gove is not proposing that rules or sticks be used for discipline or any physical harm be implemented. Instead, he is asking for proper discipline to return to the classrooms and giving teachers a reason to no longer fear using their school’s disciplinary rules.
Depending on the offence, teachers can request their students to write 100 times “I will not talk in class” or they can assign community service to the student if Michael Gove’s proposal for the return of older school disciplinary tactics is accepted. Community service can involve weeding, picking up litter, removing graffiti, or cleaning the classrooms.
A study conducted by the Department of Education revealed over ten thousand teachers fear using their disciplinary powers because they could be sued. Mr. Gove and his Education Department are making it clear the new guidance will give teachers the power to teach proper discipline.
The discipline will always be appropriate such as writing lines, not participating in non-uniform day, and other special days. The new guidance has been issued, but it may take time for teachers to start implementing the system.
An important aspect of the return to certain old school methods is the students. It not only teaches students about consequences to actions, but it allows other students who do not interrupt class or cause disruptions at any time in school to obtain the education they truly desire.
A disruptive student that is not quietened interrupts the entire class, as well as the teacher trying to impart knowledge. By allowing privileges to be restricted, line writing, and other fair punishments, the school system can improve as a whole. Students will catch the important information, be able to concentrate, and enjoy classes again.
Behavioural Policies before the Proposal
Most schools with a behavioural policy in place stated students could be punished for behaving inappropriately such as being rude and cheeky to a teacher. Teachers would be able to ask the student to stop, send a letter home if repeated, remove the student from class, take an inappropriate item like a phone, or give the student detention. Schools were not required to alert the parent if their child was given detention or even why it occurred.
Schools also had the power to use reasonable force or restraint with pupils such as in a fight or to remove the pupil out of the classroom should they refuse to leave. Suspension and expelling students was also an option.
These are still reasonable measures for teachers to take; however, there are other options with the new proposal that may make it more comfortable for a teacher to give punishment.
Worry of Over Punishment
Parents can be worried about over punishment of their children and the Department of Education has policies and steps in place to protect children that are being given punishment over the boundaries.
Michael Gove and the Department of Education hope that by giving alternative punishments back to teachers there will be better discipline in schools and fewer worries that parents will wish to take action with filing a complaint. Certainly abuse of power can happen, but more importantly is the fact that all teachers need to enforce the rules fairly and help students grow into independent and well behaved adults.