Indiscipline and a falling tsar

30th January 2004 at 00:00
'Tis a truly depressing time indeed to be a teacher. With the announcement of new measures to combat indiscipline (TESS, last week), one might think a new era was about to dawn on Scottish education.

Yet a close reading of the proposals of the newly appointed "discipline tsar" in your pages shows that it is business as usual. One of the "initiatives" involves classroom observation of teachers.

This will lead to discussion of disciplinary issues within the lesson and a recommendation of "strategies" to combat problems. Once again, the focus falls on the teacher. Implicit in this approach is the notion that the teacher's behaviour led to the indiscipline, and modification of the teacher's actions will stem this.

At no point is the fault laid at the pupil's door.

We are led to believe that more training and courses will lead to better discipline within the classroom. We, as teachers, are responsible for the situation, not the pupils who in days gone by would have been allocated to special schools; nor a government whose social inclusion policy has led to a rising tide of indiscipline and violence.

The outcome: teachers will stop complaining. No one will want repeated visits to their classroom by these discipline "experts" to recommend further new approaches to tackling the impossible child. From the Executive's point of view, its targets will have been achieved: complaints about indiscipline will cease. Exclusion figures will have dropped further, and nothing will have changed.

A depressing time indeed.

Name and address supplied

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now