Discipline and Punishment

This post is prompted by a post from Don Ledingham regarding the automatic exclusion of pupils for swearing at a a teacher.

I taught in two tough inner city Dundee schools and  exclusion and shouting were both equally ineffective as the pupils were quite used to  shouting, swearing and possibly beatings etc., in their home environment. What really got to them was a slow and lengthy discussion of how poorly they had behaved and how disappointed I was with them and how would their parents react when I told  them about the incident and were they not therefore disappointed with their own behaviour.  More in sorrow than in anger.  Ten minutes of that would often make the brashest thug go to pieces.  Mind you I do have the same effect when I trap a colleague in a corner at a meeting!

The problem in many schools is that incidents come so thick and fast that the SMT do not have time for anything but a cursory approach.  It is back to a question of numbers.  The best schools probably have an incident rate with about 1 or 2 percent persistent offenders in the school population.  Logging persistent offenders over a number of years in poor schools only reveals about 7 or 8 percent persistent offenders but that is enough to run teachers ragged, because it encourages hangers-on to get involved.  Furthermore guidance and SMT are then only fighting fires not preventing them.

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