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Should teachers punish students for bad behavior? Perhaps I should start out this summative task by defining “punish”. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is to “inflict a penalty or sanction on (someone) as retribution for an offense, especially a transgression of a legal or moral code”. In the olden days, we saw punishment as bad thing, a form of torture towards the child with acts such as straps, belts, kneeling in ditches on rocks for hours, etc. I think as a society we’ve since come a long way from those negative types of punishments. Moreover, I feel “discipline” towards a child for their behavior is a more accurate and socially appropriate and acceptable form from a teacher. There are many different views on disciplining a child in the classroom. Many parents are very opposed to having a teacher discipline their child and feel that the disciplining should be left up to them to do at home. They feel the role of the teacher stops at teaching. However, there are many flaws to this way of thinking. If the teacher is in the midst of teaching a lesson and he/she continuously has to stop the train of thought to deal with the negative behavior of a child, they will quickly also lose the train of thought and attention of the rest of the students. Losing the attention of the class regularly throughout a lesson is detrimental to both the teacher and the students as the core of the lesson and meaning is lost. Getting the attention back of 20 plus or 30 plus students is not an easy task and when this is happening regularly throughout one lesson, it is near impossible. Both teacher and students are left feeling frustrated. Teaching and learning should go hand in hand and cannot happen under this negative mindset. For the parents that believe discipline should not happen in the classroom, homeschooling could be a viable option for them. In this circumstance, they are in constant control of the behavior of their own child at all times. Next, we will have to understand what it looks like to a teacher for a child to have “bad behavior”. Bullying, teasing, hitting and name-calling are all forms of bad behavior that occur in schools. Adjusting to rules at school and in the classroom, can trigger any number of these inappropriate behaviors in children, especially if the class sizes are large. There are many other forms of behavior that can be categorized into two groups: withdrawn behaviors such as shyness, rocking, staring, anxiety, school phobia, truancy, social isolation or hand flapping and disruptive behaviors such as being out of seat, calling out in class, tantrums, swearing, screaming or refusing to follow instructions. All of these pose challenges to the teacher and other students equally and should be corrected where possible. Disciplining the students does not have to be a negative action. If applied correctly, it can be a very positive change to the teacher AND the student. There are many methods of using positive discipline towards a student. 1. Stay in contact with the parents – create a bond with the parents from the beginning and make sure to always keep them up to date of the behavior of their child. 2. Use proximity to limit negative actions – always try to keep the student close to you (or you to them) wherever possible. 3. Define Student Expectations – use the same steps to get the student back on task and showing good behavior every time. 4. Choose the best time to discipline – avoid calling out the student in front of the other students. Talk in private. 5. Empathize – try to find out why the child is behaving in such a way, the reason behind the behavior. 6. Find common ground – ask questions and try to find something you both can relate to whether it is a favorite sport or a favorite food. 7. Use your teaching colleagues – find out if any other teachers are going through the same or similar situation in their own classrooms. Talk to them. Set up meetings. 8. Make class work a non-issue – focus on the disciplining the bad behavior and introduce the “work” part later. 9. Peer/Tutor technique – perhaps the troubled student is very good in one particular subject and can tutor another student in it. Involve the student. Give them purpose. 10. Never give up – the displayed bad behavior may be a cover up for something much deeper. Keep trying to reach that student. Bad behavior can be changed. With a good behavior plan in place, teachers can have a great pathway and guidance in helping to develop positive behavior in their students. They can be better equipped to interact with their more challenging students in a much more productive way. When these good behavior plans are set in place and practiced, the student can begin to demonstrate and show change in their behavior quickly. Sticking to a positive behavior plan is key to having the student adapt quickly to it and encourages an appropriate and positive behavioral change. I do not believe that any child intentionally sets out to display bad behavior in a classroom. It is the key role of a teacher to recognize the bad behavior, assess what the triggers may be for this particular child and to try above everything else to make the environment a positive and safe one for all the students. In summary, I feel that teachers should be able to positively discipline students as long as it is fair punishment and age appropriate. I think the classrooms would be complete chaos if there were no consequences for bad behavior. Teachers need to be able to set boundaries in their classrooms as to not create a great disservice to every other student in that class. When one child misbehaves, that child is cheating the other children out of their education because the teacher is not teaching when he/she is dealing with behavioral issues. The whole idea of punishment is to make behavioral changes. It does not need to be extreme or negative. It is simply a tool used to encourage positive behavior.