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Rewards and punishments;Update;Research Notes

Surveys, studies and reports examined by Reva Klein

Children, parents and teachers are at odds over the best sanctions for bad behaviour.

Researchers from Nottingham University's Department of Psychology studied parents' views on the effectiveness of rewards and sanctions in primary schools. They found that children and parents agreed over the effectiveness of school-initiated rewards, but parents were at odds with children and teachers over how appropriate school punishments were.

Children ranked public tickings-off as the most effective, but parents preferred punishments such as being sent to the head or discreet reprimands. To parents, the ultimate punishment was having a letter sent home. For children, it was not being allowed on a school trip. Teachers felt that giving pupils unfinished work to do in another class was best.

The survey, of 49 primary pupils, six teachers and 64 parents in an inner-city school, showed that the difference of opinion between parents and teachers needs to be addressed if home-based reinforcement is to be effective.

For further details, contact Andy Miller, Department of Psychology, Nottingham University, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD.

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