School discipline

All school teachers have to deal with unruly students from time to time. It is generally accepted that unwanted behavior should incur some kind of sanctions but opinions differ on what type of punishment is really effective. Earlier we proposed that schools should reward good behaviour.

Dutch educational researcher Astrid Boon argues in favor of strict system of discipline centred on writing rules. (On an interesting side note the Dutch term she uses is schrijfstraf [writing punishment] with rhymes with lijfstraf [corporal punishment].) It works as follows:

  1. When a students misbehaves, the teacher will give him or her a firm warning;
  2. The misbehaving student remains in class, preferably close to the teacher;
  3. If the students continues to misbehave, he or she will get a writing assignment;
  4. In his or her spare time, the student will do the writing assignment;
  5. The assignment needs to be signed by a parent or legal guardian.

The writing assignment will consists of between ten to fifty lines, of each around fifty to sixty words. Each rule contains the following elements:

  1. the wrong behaviour
  2. why this is wrong
  3. a suggestion for better behaviour in the future.

According to Ms Boon her method of school discipline has the big advantage that it punishes bad behavior while not harming the student’s academic career, as it would be the case in giving bad grades or suspension.


Schrijfstraf on (Dutch)

Straf moet echt vervelend zijn [Punishment should really be unpleasant] on (Dutch)