Turning a pencil into a wand

23rd April 2004 at 01:00
I enjoy Marj Adams's articles and usually agree with much of what she says.

However, I believe that she is way off beam in some of her comments about discipline (TESS, April 2). In particular, I would suggest that "any well run school" would have learning, not discipline, "right at the top of the agenda".

This is no mere semantic quibble. The commonest misconception about discipline and learning is encapsulated in the title of the discipline task group report Better Behaviour, Better Learning, which in my view is back to front.

Having experienced Marj's "tapping pencil" scenario as a young teacher, I now recognise that the main reason was almost certainly boredom due to inappropriate learning experiences and a classroom environment that did not engage my pupils in important decisions about their learning.

I am not suggesting that there is a magic wand to make all discipline problems disappear, but I am now certain that by far the best way to reduce andor eliminate these problems is by creating a collaborative classroom learning environment and appropriately designed learning activities.

Colin Weatherley The Paddock Gullane East Lothian

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