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teachers (and parents!) - is writing lines effective?

(23 Posts)
baconsandwich Fri 22-Aug-14 16:38:24

My 11yo has a new teacher (P7 in Scotland) who has started doling out lines at school. He had the opportunity this week to earn 30 minutes of golden time for cashing in today, but because he only earned 10 minutes of golden time he spent the remaining 20 mins writing out "I must listen to my teacher's instructions carefully". And brought the sheet home for my signature. He wasn't the only one - 15 other children in the class had to also do it for varying amounts of time.

So what's the verdict - an effective punishment?

Oakmaiden Fri 22-Aug-14 16:42:28

Well, it is boring and gives them a chance to practise their penmanship. It is not something I have ever given as a "punishment" but I don't have a huge problem with it either.

My question would be why did your son not earn the full amount of golden time? (in most schools you start with the full amount and get time taken off for poor behaviour.)

WaffleWiffle Fri 22-Aug-14 16:44:35

The work done in 'detention' time is meant to be dull and boring. Writing lines is no less effective than copying out the school rules - done in my school.

What I am not sure of here is if the lacking golden time equates to a detention, or not?

baconsandwich Fri 22-Aug-14 16:45:31

yep that is another question
he has never lost golden time before and it has always been the other way around in previous years with losing time for poor behaviour
doesn't seem very clear to me what the rules are in terms of what she's expecting to see for the earning of it and seems very subjective
one child earned none at all

baconsandwich Fri 22-Aug-14 16:47:26

don't know whether it constitutes 'detention' - that phrase has never been used at this school before

Oakmaiden Fri 22-Aug-14 17:01:14

It does seem an odd way of doing it - I assume she is trying to reinforce positive behaviour, rather than punish bad, which is all very well, but it doesn't work if you don't offer enough opportunities to ear the rewards....

Waffle - Golden time is a bit different to a detention. What happens in most schools which use golden time is that a period of time is set aside, generally on a Friday afternoon, as class goldentime. Every child is entitled to do freeplay/exciting extra curricular activities/whatever the school organises during this time. Children who do not meet behaviour related expectations during the week will have time taken off their golden time (normally in minute or 5 minute increments). So a child who behaved inappropriately 4 times might lose 20 minutes of a 30 minute golden time session. During that time they would have to sit and do nothing/write lines/whatever the school or teacher choose whilst the other children take part in golden time.

So not like detention, but not dissimilar either.

mrz Fri 22-Aug-14 17:05:53

Your son has lost 20 mins "Golden Time" and the teacher has chosen to fill this time with writing lines while others enjoy their reward - it probably would have been better spent doing some class work IMHO but then I hate the whole "Golden Time" thing!

Thatssofunny Fri 22-Aug-14 17:12:51

My class are the same age,...and several of them will choose this as the punishment when they are losing GT. They are losing it for poor behaviour, though, not earning it. (I do give them the chance to earn some of it back, because there's not much point in taking it all away all the time.) It's mainly because they know their handwriting is dire and they will use it as a chance to practise. It's boring, repetitive and doesn't require them to think much. It's nothing they find terrible, though. There are other things they might have to do, depending on which poor choice they made in the first place.

It sounds like the teacher wants to establish herself, though. Y6/P7 can be tricky and she'll need them to be clear about expectations and boundaries. Mine didn't quite know what hit them when they started with me last year, but I love my class to bits and I'm incredibly protective of them. We get along very well, but they know how far they can push it (I'm keeping them for another year). While I came down very hard on them at the beginning of the year, issues were very rare between the Autumn half term and the summer holidays.

Did he have to write this because he wasn't listening to instructions? The teacher needs to make clear how they can earn GT and what they need to do for it. It's just a different approach, though, and generally supposed to reward positive behaviour, instead of putting the focus on sanctioning poor behaviour. I'd give it a little bit of time and speak to the teacher, if it doesn't improve in the next few weeks. (You might also need to speak to him about how he needs to improve his behaviour and show that he's now in P7.)

thelmachicken Fri 22-Aug-14 17:13:32

Well he's not learning anything by writing lines. He's already had the harsh lesson about behaviour enforced by having his golden time removed. Seems to be rubbing salt into the wound a bit by having to write lines out as well.

WaffleWiffle Fri 22-Aug-14 17:17:59

Thanks for explaining Oakmaiden. I'm secondary (and generally Y10-Y13 only) so don't use Golden Time. Straight to detention for poor behaviour in secondary school.

MexicanSpringtime Fri 22-Aug-14 17:23:03

Well it certainly is a punishment. I am ancient, so I used to be caned almost every day in primary school, but I preferred that a thousand times over to the detention and lines I got in secondary school.

thelmachicken Fri 22-Aug-14 17:24:37

I think straight to detention is a better system than taking golden time away.
I really don't like golden time.

baconsandwich Fri 22-Aug-14 17:27:33

thanks all

I think maybe they are a bit old for golden time now but that's by the by. My son has always been as good as gold up till now - previous teachers have been glowing. he has grown up a lot over the summer and maybe he's now pushing the boundaries a bit.

I'm interested in the concept of 'coming down hard on them' at the beginning to establish yourself, but I have never had 30 11 year olds to control so I suppose I get that. The problem is that is she seems to have been coming down too hard and too often and the kids are all hating her already. she starts the day off by bawling them out in the yard before they've even made it into the classroom, and let's be clear we are talking about a posh middle class school here with no major disciplinary or behaviour issues

I will watch and wait and see how things go. Roll on high school - it can;t come soon enough.

Mostlyjustaluker Fri 22-Aug-14 17:31:56

Don't assume that middle class kids are easier to teach. I think you need yo ask your child why they have lost their golden time rather than questioning the teacher.

Thatssofunny Fri 22-Aug-14 17:39:22

It depends on why she is shouting at them and whether she can get away from that any time soon. What was she like with the previous class?
I've got a reputation for being strict, but that doesn't mean I'm being horrible or shouty. I came down hard by not allowing them to step out of line and by being very clear (and quite quick) with consequences. It set the tone. According to my class, I'm more scary when I go really quiet, though. grin

What are they doing wrong in the yard? hmm

baconsandwich Fri 22-Aug-14 17:45:30

of course I've asked him - don't be ridiculous
I don't assume that middle class kids are easier to teach either - what I'm saying is that the teacher should take a bloody chill pill and get them into the building before she loses her rag at 8:50 in the morning. Not a good start to the day is it?

baconsandwich Fri 22-Aug-14 17:56:51

she's new to the school, thatsofunny

what they're doing in the yard is leaning on the wall, not standing up straight and facing forward and probably making too much noise

MexicanSpringtime Fri 22-Aug-14 17:59:00

Give her a chance and see how she pans out.

baconsandwich Fri 22-Aug-14 18:01:22

I will !

Thatssofunny Fri 22-Aug-14 18:16:20

Perhaps give her a chance...and a little bit of time.
I was more shouty in my first year at my current school (never in the playground, though). My class were "challening". They had made their previous class teacher cry on several occasions and thought it was hilarious, as they delighted in telling me,...lots of issues in that group. They were very used to adults raising their voices...couldn't get a reaction otherwise. I don't teach at a "posh middle class" school. Showing any weakness with that group would have had me eaten alive. In that case, it took until about November to get them settled and complying. I stopped raising my voice at that point. They were "teachable" by the summer grin, but it was a really hard year. Are you sure your DS's class are "easy"?

If they are asked to line up, standing up straight, facing the front and being silent...then I would expect a P7 class to do that. They shouldn't be leaning against the wall and they shouldn't be making noise. That's a really poor example to set for the younger classes (which is exactly what my class would be told in that case...). We'd practise during playtime,...again..and again...and again...until they remember. brew cake I've got time.
Might be a suggestion to make. Cuts down on the need to shout.

erin99 Tue 26-Aug-14 10:29:41

Lines when I was 11 were done by the several hundred. We had to sneakily do them through lessons, in homework time and in bed with a torch (with all the risk of further punishment if caught) to get them done in the time limit. That is a ridiculous use of lines. 20 mins' writing in golden time... No more or less effective than any other punishment but it seems quite mild.

inthename Tue 26-Aug-14 16:09:51

ds school use golden time, but its taken away for poor behaviour, lose more than 5 minutes in a week and thats a detention with the deputy head. They don't use lines, headmasfer thinks they are a pointless exercise and that any punishment should fit the 'crime' which seems to work.

cloutiedumpling Wed 27-Aug-14 16:17:26

I've always thought that lines were a pretty pointless exercise. Could he be given a few pages of a maths textbook or something similar to do instead?

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