Schools should instil a proper respect for authority, expecting obedience, courtesy and good manners. Teachers should never feel that pupils are out of control. The Education Scotland’s moves to remove punishments from schools, replacing them with “restorative” processes, is misguided, based on an over-optimistic view of human nature. Boys, in particular, tend to need clear boundaries and defined consequences and flourish when these are provided.
As behaviour problems reach crisis point in many schools, staff must be listened to instead of idealistic schemes being imposed from above. Teachers are leaving the profession in the face of routine defiance and pupils’ learning is being disrupted by unchecked bad behaviour. We believe that punishing children is necessary, fair, justified and effective.
Replacing punishments with contrived mini-counselling sessions disempowers teachers and leaves children with the (justified) impression that miscreants continually “get away with it”.
The ideological drive to leave appallingly badly-behaved pupils in mainstream classes is unfair to teachers and other pupils. Attempts to educate and support such aggressive and uncontrollable pupils should be made in a more appropriate context.
Weak and indulgent approaches founded on erroneous principles are undermining teachers and leading to increasing behaviour problems in Scottish schools.
The research cited as evidence that Restorative Practice is effective is flawed, to say the least. Richard Lucas explains why.