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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.

itfriesthebrain Mon 18-Feb-13 01:13:08

and just to add it took my Ds forever to get himself ready at home time. getting his things in his bag putting his coat on etc and the rest of the class had to hang on until he was ready. no pressure there then. hmm

itfriesthebrain Mon 18-Feb-13 01:08:50

I'm afraid my Ds and several other Dc were the cause of many class punishments during yr 2, and I felt awful about it at the end of the day why should an entire class be punished because of others actions especially because of my Ds. I would agree with another post that it was to use peer pressure but it actually resulted in my Ds being bullied even more so than he already was due to other reasons. In my opinion I think it is a teachers lazy way of dealing with bad behavior rather than finding ways to tackle the individuals involved. My Ds's disruptive behavior would of been greatly reduced had the teacher at the time just followed his IEP but sadly it was better if he was treated like an outcast by his entire class. confused

WorriedTeenMum Sun 17-Feb-13 09:53:55

But can you be sure it is all. This is the problem with assuming an homogeneous group. The one quiet child who was sat in the midst of this 'confident chatty group' gets tarred with the same brush and either gets resentful and more isolated or ends up thinking 'sod it' and joining in with the trouble.

Startail Sat 16-Feb-13 22:16:36

I can't imagine collective punishment for DD1s group, who had their trouble makers and some very quiet children. They would have felt it deeply unfair.

I can imagine by Y5/6 DD2's confident chatty close knit bunch all being kept in for getting too noisy.

But they were a very unusual class in that despite a massive range of abilities and characters they all got on incredibly well and supported each other in a way we didn't until our O'levels loomed.

WorriedTeenMum Sat 16-Feb-13 21:42:50

The problem with using whole class punishments when the majority of the class is involved in the trouble is that the minority who werent involved can end up even more isolated. It is not unusual for there to be piss-taking of the 'good' students. It can seem as though they are doubly punished firstly by having to ignore whatever trouble is going on and then by being punished with the rest of the class.

It can be hard enough being the 'good' student in a disruptive class. They dont need teachers making it worse.

Teachers knowingly punishing innocent students should be ashamed of themselves.

treas Sat 16-Feb-13 21:02:13

Lazy teacher?

piggywigwig Sat 16-Feb-13 18:41:11

My youngest DD's school have done this in the past and I loathe the practice.
One particular teacher (who was and still is a bully) used to keep the entire class in at the end of school for between 5 and 10 minutes at a time, with no prior notice to the parents. We all used to feel very angry at this, as it showed us no respect whatsoever. It also brought about feelings of resentment and confusion amongst the children who behaved and complied . It's a totally counter-productive, lazy, ineffective "disciplinary" measure that should have died out years ago.

auntevil Sat 16-Feb-13 17:41:04

I think as regular practise it is poor, but sometimes, there are situations where, as mentioned before, the whole class do need to respond to get to the bottom of something.
DS3 had whole class sanction last week. He has SNs and didn't understand the fairness of it, so the teacher explained why.
There had been an incident in the playground at lunchtime. It was one where a said something to b, c got involved, d didn't like that c got involved .... It ended up with the majority of the class being involved in some way. In fact it was hard to work out who wasn't involved. DS3 agreed that this was the case.
So whole class kept in, 'chat' about behavioural expectations.
Personally, I don't see a problem with this.
I would see a problem if it were only 2/3 out of 5 repeat offenders. That I would find hard to justify to a whole class.

therontheron Sat 16-Feb-13 16:46:50

lljkk - its a treat every child in the school gets every Friday. Rightly or wrongly, the children have come to look forward to it and to expect it. However, in DS's class it gets cancelled quite often.

Whether its a reward or a punishment, the children certainly feel punished by not getting it and that's the message they get from the teacher too.

AScorpionPitForMimes Sat 16-Feb-13 16:29:32

OP, next tie your school has an OFSTED come up, I'd make sure to contact OFSTED to highlight the fact that whole class punishments are common practice. And get other parents to do the same. Clearly there is a culture of this at your school and it needs tackling.

And it's no wonder you're getting a lot of agreement here, it's a lazy, ineffectual and bad method of maintaining discipline.

MyCatHasStaff Sat 16-Feb-13 16:15:43

Thanks RubberDuck smile

lljkk Sat 16-Feb-13 16:04:48

Is golden time a reward to the group or to the individual? If it's a reward to the group then it makes sense that bad behaviour means no GT.

Is Golden Time a default for all unless there has been bad behaviour? That would make it a punishment, but I thought GT was normally a treat not routine.

I bet there are lots of other rewards to individuals for good behaviour.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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

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'.

Toomanyworriedsonhere Sat 16-Feb-13 13:24:45

Collective punishment is against the Geneva Convention!

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

MyCatHasStaff Sat 16-Feb-13 13:19:47

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...

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).

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!

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.

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.

MyCatHasStaff Sat 16-Feb-13 13:06:49

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.

Itsjustafleshwound Sat 16-Feb-13 13:01:54

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

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??

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