Friday, July 4, 2014

Why I no longer use time-out in the classroom

As teachers we have all heard how important it is to establish discipline in your classroom. And it is! However, it is also just as important to know HOW to establish a culture of discipline in your classroom.

Too much, and you will crush personalities, too little and your learners will run riot in their  classroom. So, how do we establish a balance of just enough and what types of discipline should we be using.
There are various points about discipline that we are always taught use, one of these being consistency. But, does this mean consistency for the whole class? One punishment for one crime? I disagree.

Children are unique individuals, just as adults. We all have our own belief systems and our own morals, and so do children. We want to help these children develop their personalities, and develop their morals and belief systems, and in order to achieve this we need to give them the tools to help them achieve. And, so I no longer use time-out in my classroom.

Why? Well, when you think about it, what is time-out actually achieving in a work environment? Nothing. You are allowing that child to get out of the work they are supposed to be completing, you are almost rewarding them, and saying to them, don’t worry, you can come back to this later. Some children, may purposefully look for ways to get themselves into a time out. It prolongs task completion, and the child ends up resenting you, as they still have to do the work later on.

Yet, what other methods should we be using? Well, how do you get yourself to complete a task you do not want to do? We use rewards, if I finish this task, I will let myself read some more of my book, if I quit smoking, I can save up some money to buy that really expensive gadget I want.

And now, I would like to challenge you all to use this in your classroom. When you have a child who does not want to complete a task, put a positive spin on it. If you complete your maths work, you may have 5 extra minutes of playtime, if playtime is what they enjoy. If you have a child who enjoys reading, give them extra reading time. Reward them for good and stop punishing them for the bad behaviour.

I also just want to say, that time out does have its place. In the playground and at home, but let us stop using negative punishment in the classroom and start rewarding, and providing an environment in which to reward.