This week my secondary school where my boys still attend (our daughter left last week) have decided to bring in yet another behaviour modification system. Something they truly seem to believe will change behaviour in the classroom and will make our young people all of a sudden ‘decide’ to behave appropriately.
This system has angered me, I have to say. There have been many little niggles over the years with the school that I’ve not pursued as I’ve tried to take into account the complexities of teaching in our large secondary schools today. Yes, there are lots of children who may not want to come to school, and sometimes I don’t blame them. But these systems only compound those feelings of inadequacy and shame that many of our young people feel.
So, what is this system? Well from now on if a child gets two warnings in a lesson, for disruptive behaviour (that can be not having a pencil or being a few minutes late) they have to go in isolation until the following lesson the next day! So, if they got these warnings just after lunch on Monday then they go to isolation until after lunch on Tuesday.
To me, this system is totally over the top. I have yet to talk to our school as they’ve not responded to my heartfelt letter but I will endeavour to get a sit down with the senior leaders to discuss the thinking behind this. I can’t see it myself. I know teaching is tough and particularly managing a class of fizzy teenagers who can be VERY difficult at times. But surely there has to be a better way.
I’ve followed some of Alfie Kohn’s work on this topic over the years and came across this short video that did make me smile. Take a look and see if it makes sense.
My blogs over the last few weeks have been around the behaviour management systems in our schools – take a look back if you want to catch up. I’m really interested in this subject and would love to get some response from you about your thinking on this.
No answers today – just thoughts and hopefully we can engage more on this subject in the coming weeks.
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