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Does too much discipline in schools hinder learning?

(8 Posts)
BonsoirAnna Mon 08-Jun-09 12:04:59

I was talking to another mother (French) at the school gate this morning. She worked as a French teacher for a while in the US, and believes that schools that don't expect too much in the way of perfect behaviour from pupils allow pupils more freedom to learn. She thinks that the French way (the enforcement of strict discipline and rules) means that the children spend so much time concentrating on "being good" that they haven't got enough concentration left to really learn.

What do you think?

GrapefruitMoon Mon 08-Jun-09 12:14:47

Do children really spend time thinking about being good? I would have thought that it is more likely time is wasted plotting mischief, etc or teachers telling them off for bad behaviour - I would have said either they are just getting on with their work or they are not, iyswim.

BonsoirAnna Mon 08-Jun-09 12:17:13

They do in France! Maybe this question is impossible to answer if you don't know the system here...

GrapefruitMoon Mon 08-Jun-09 12:20:55

I am intrigued - surely if they are being "good" they just do what they should be doing automatically- do they really have to think about it so much??

AuldAlliance Mon 08-Jun-09 12:32:06

Many, many teachers in France would be happy if their pupils would just sit down, behave in a manner conducive to learning, demonstrate minimal manners, etc.
I think her assessment was true 15 yrs ago; the curriculum was tough, often dull and demanding and discipline was strict. Now in most schools the idea that pupils are concentrating on being good is laughable. What is sad is how little is done to help everyone find a modus operandi for the current intake of pupils.

slug Mon 08-Jun-09 12:34:19

Well, after eleven years teaching in rough areas, my experience is:

Poor discipline = no learning
Good discipline = an environment where children feel safe and learning can take place.

Children need boundries. They need to know that if they decide to concentrate in class they are not going to be constantly interrupted, taunted for working or afraid of speaking in a manner that offends the dominant student in the class. However much they may complain on the surface, students like well disciplined, well run classrooms. They are, in the words of my students "safe".

BonsoirAnna Mon 08-Jun-09 12:36:02

GrapefruitMoon - I'll give you a real life example of what I mean. The teacher asks the class to draw a picture of a boat - whatever takes their fancy. The pupils ask what colour it should be. The teacher says it can be any colour or combination of colours they want. The pupils are so paralysed that they might not use the "right" colours for eg the sail, the oar or whatever that they cannot begin to draw.

BonsoirAnna Mon 08-Jun-09 12:39:55

AuldAlliance - I agree with you that there is a very worrying issue in France, now that authoritarian parenting and teaching practices have been discredited by at least part of the population, of there not generally being the faintest clue of how to encourage the acquisition of self-control.

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