Sin bin culture

23rd February 2001 at 00:00
I welcomed Tom Greene's comments (TESS, January 26) on improving discipline in schools by delivering a quality curriculum and encouraging pupils to take more responsibility for their own learning.

There is a wealth of existing research and evidence of good practice to be found in various educational publications to support his views. Likewise there is a significant body of evidence to suggest that increasingly punitive measures, such as the introduction of "sin bins" in schools, are counter-productive. And yet this old chestnut continues to recur with boring regularity.

Creating special discipline rooms in schools (sin bins) is a temping, popular and easy option for those in authority, be it within the school or at government level. Something is "seen" to be being done by the decision-makers, and it avoids the necessity of addressing the root causes of indiscipline within the classroom, which are inappropriate curricula, inadequate teaching methods and poor teacher-pupil relationships.

Looking at the real issues of bad behaviour in schools means acknowledging that we as teachers bear some of the responsibility. Creating a "sin bin" puts all the blame on the pupil - a much easier option.

Jane Mott Principal teacher of support for learners, Aberdeenshire

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