Why misbehaviour isn’t simply a free choice

We need to move beyond behaviour management systems that assume a child’s behaviour will improve through use of punishment or reward, argues Jarlath O’Brien. Instead, we need to embrace psychological principles that lead to a more educational approach to discipline

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You’re on duty in the playground and say hello to Amy, who is due to be with you for an English lesson straight after break. Soon after the bell sounds you notice Amy is last to leave the playground, so you usher her in with a cheery, “Best get a move on so you aren’t late to my lesson, Amy!”

But she starts to go the long way around to your classroom. You point her in the right direction, but she says, “I left my bag in Mr Khan’s classroom.” And then she’s gone.

It’s 10 minutes into your lesson and Amy is not there. But then you see her at the door minus her bag, accompanied by the deputy ...

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