Whole class punishments - why??

(37 Posts)
therontheron Sat 16-Feb-13 12:42:08

Not sure if this should be in Primary Education or parenting but here goes!
Does anyone understand the logic behind punishing the whole class for the bad behaviour of only one or two children?
DS frequently loses all his golden time because someone else has misbehaved. The teacher is always clear about why the golden time has been cancelled and it is always because one, two or three of the other boys have done / not done something (usually it’s two or three of the same five boys every time). DS doesn’t understand why he and the others should be punished and I don’t either. Does it make sense to anyone else? I don’t want to ask the teacher because it might seem critical when I am only curious about the logic.

therontheron Sat 16-Feb-13 12:42:26

At home, I punish the children if they are naughty. Sometimes, they lose a privilege and other times they have to do something they don’t like. However, I have always tried to limit the punishment to only the child who has behaved badly. E.g. I’d be reluctant to cancel a treat for everyone because of the behaviour of one child. I’d rather give a different punishment if possible. However, if there is no way around it, then a couple of times either DH or I have sat home with the child for whom the treat is cancelled whilst the rest of the family goes and enjoys themselves.
Almost all my DCs teachers have done this whole class punishment thing, so its not just one teacher with a different view. I am beginning to wonder if I am the one who is out of step with the rest of the world about punishing everyone for one person’s misdemeanours. What do you do at home?

RubberDuck Sat 16-Feb-13 12:43:56

Interestingly, our primary school has had an Ofsted fairly recently where they were criticised for exactly that, so whole class punishments are definitely seen as not best practice.

I would raise it with the teacher, personally. It's not fair, is bad classroom management, doesn't bother the misbehaving kids and penalises those that ARE trying to behave.

therontheron Sat 16-Feb-13 12:45:24

DS says one of the boys who usually is in trouble is actually pleased sometimes when the whole class gets punished because of something he did (i think its a sort of control thing).

seeker Sat 16-Feb-13 12:47:38

Whole class punishments are not supposed to be used at all in state schools now.

I would have a word with the Head.

therontheron Sat 16-Feb-13 12:48:21

I did ask one of the teachers once - back in year 2. She said that "the children will have many years together and punishing them all like this will make them bond". (I must admit, i thought she was fairly naive about that one!)

Loshad Sat 16-Feb-13 12:54:06

I teach in secondary not primary but i would not dream of doing a whole class punishment, and as afar as i know my dcs have not had them in primary either. It really is not best practice.

therontheron Sat 16-Feb-13 12:55:47

Ouch! 3 out of 3 saying its not best practice. I wasn't expecting that. Now I am reluctant to be the complaining parent who raises it with the school.

shellyf Sat 16-Feb-13 12:56:05

That isn't how Golden Time works.Individuals can lose some of their own time but should not be used as a class punishment.Staff usually have training around he principles of GT.

shellyf Sat 16-Feb-13 12:57:34

*the not he

sausagesandwich34 Sat 16-Feb-13 12:58:22

My dc's primary still do this

Peer pressure supposed to encourage good behaviour

I can understand to logic, but didn't realise it wasn't supposed to be used anymore?

lesserspottedshitehawk Sat 16-Feb-13 12:58:55

From what I can see whole class punishment is a vain hope that the conscience of the child in the wrong will be pricked andthat they'll think twice next time.

No it's not best practice and ought to be avoided as a discipline method.

therontheron Sat 16-Feb-13 13:01:33

Could it be as simple as a supervision issue? i.e. if there is no TA on Friday afternoons, then maybe the teacher can't split the class into two when she has to provide supervision. I guess golden time is supervised??

I don't quite understand why a whole class has to be punished because of the actions of a few - almost condoning the majority to bully the miscreant into behaving.

If the behaviour is repeated and not amended then surely the punishment should be changed?

I would have a quiet word with the teacher

This is really interesting. I'm a TA and am working with an NQT at the moment who does this. I totally disagree with it on every level - the child/ren misbehaving do like the control as you say therontheron, it does nothing for bonding and I think it's absolutely unfair when you are trying to encourage them to understand fairness in other aspects of their day.
Seeker or RubberDuck - would you be able to point me the direction of some information? Sorry for the highjack.

SmileAndPeopleSmileWithYou Sat 16-Feb-13 13:08:49

It is not best practice and in the situation you describe is bad classroom management.

I once got a particularly chatty class (not naughty at all) where most of the children were too chatty to listen or follow instructions in the first few weeks of the year. I must admit I did use it then, purely because it was the vast majority and all of the children were like this at some point, all be it some more than others. I kept them in at break time for just the time they owed me. I sent a letter to the parents explaining this and after just 2 weeks I started to let the children who had behaved go out to play. (only a few).

I didn't need to use this method longer than 4 weeks in total as the majority settled down to work hard after that so I only implemented the consequences for two or three children who were at fault.
They turned out to be one of the brightest and hard working year groups I've had.

I can't see myself using this again though, it worked for that particular class for a very short period of time but it wouldn't have been fair for any other classes I have experienced.
When there are particular children who let the others down their consequences need to be different.

therontheron Sat 16-Feb-13 13:10:57

MyCatHasStaff, the year 2 teacher who suggested the bonding benefit was also a NQT. I wonder if its something they are taught at teaching college? It would be strange if true though since others are pointing out that its not recommended.

Doingthedo Sat 16-Feb-13 13:13:20

the only time I would punish the whole class is if the culprit would not own up, they usually feel guilty when they realise everyone is going to be punished and come clean!

WorriedTeenMum Sat 16-Feb-13 13:17:07

DCs secondary uses whole class punishments. No, it doesnt help them bond. It makes them (and me) think that the teacher is spineless (doesnt want to discipline the awkward sods).

Maybe... personally I think the ones who do this have so few weapons in their asenal that they don't know what else to do. I've led classes many times (I'm very experienced, hence with the NQT) and I've never done this. It's counter productive and if they don't realise that the first or second time they do it, it seems to me they just don't know what else to do. You would be surprised how many teachers (and TAs) are afraid of confronting the situation head on. Mine in particular has said that if she tells the individual child to sit out or whatever, they refuse and she doesn't know what to do grow a pair?, they're 8 ffs I've suggested she work on the tone of her voice to command authority...

Collective punishment is against the Geneva Convention!

Children cannot be responsible for the behaviour of other children.
My DS complains about this a lot.

IAmLouisWalsh Sat 16-Feb-13 13:25:34

Very unfair to do this with primary school children.

I very occasionally do it at secondary, usually when no-one will own up. I explain the punishment, stand outside the door for two minutes and then return. Nine times out of ten, the offender owns up (it is never a surprise who it is, btw).

Last time I did this was over a phone. I was outside for thirty seconds when one of them came and got me and said 'You'll find the phone is on your desk now, Miss'.

Thatssofunny Sat 16-Feb-13 14:27:50

I do this at the beginning of the school year (I teach upper KS2, though,..they should know how to behave but like to push boundaries with a new teacher), usually happens in the first week...and that's the end of it. It makes them understand what I expect of them and makes it very clear to everyone what happens, if they don't follow the rules. I don't just threaten and then forget about it. However, it usually means they make up five minutes of lost time at breaktime. I try to do this early and with something relatively small. After this initial "punishment", I only ever keep the ones back, who misbehaved...and sometimes give those, who didn't, extra playtime as well. It evens out.

You shouldn't do whole-class punishments as a regular thing. It's bad practice and a bit of a cop-out. I know which children misbehave in my class and which tried to do the right thing. (Even if some parents insist that their little darling certainly didn't do anything wrong and that I'm just being horrible/my expectations are too high...Actually, if their lovely child is so misunderstood in a class of 30, perhaps they should homeschool. I refuse to allow them to hit others, call them horrible names or to waste our time with their need to constantly shout through the classroom.)
I've never taken Golden Time off my entire class. My little "culprits" usually sit by the side and watch the rest of the class have fun. I think that's much meaner, actually. grin

tethersend Sat 16-Feb-13 14:47:38

I am a teacher, and this is lazy practice which is ineffective at best and harmful at worst. It's completely counter-productive.

Alienating a child from their peers in such a divisive way is far, far more likely to result in an increase in disruptive behaviour.

RubberDuck Sat 16-Feb-13 15:50:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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