Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Practical Strategies in the classroom to reduce bad behaviour

At long last the idea that reward rather than punishment is the more effective way to reduce disruption in the classroom.

By deploying this approach the Garibaldi School has only excluded two pupils in eight years and has successfully managed to reinstate over 40 youngsters from other schools during the same period. Such success must surely be recognised and the strategies copied elsewhere.

Whilst always acknowledging that inappropriate and antisocial behaviour must involve consequences that include some form of penalty, the key is surely to promote an environment where such behaviour is discouraged in the first place. If the Garibaldi School and many other like minded establishments can demonstrate such positive outcomes, why can we not deploy the same philosophy in the rehabilitation of our young offenders?

Such an approach will always produce a reduction in re-offending rates by young people far more quickly and effectively than simply more punitive punishment and calls for retribution. Reward and success serve to address the underlying causes of bad behaviour, namely a lack of values and sense of self-worth. Until these are taught and promoted, the thinking and the behaviour will remain unchanged with many more young people falling further into a life of serious crime from which there is unlikely to be any positive outcome. Punishment by itself does not teach such values. Rather it reaffirms the negative thinking that caused the behaviour in the first place.