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Behaviour management in Asian 2-6yr setting the same as in the UK?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by philaw, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. philaw

    philaw New commenter


    I work in a supervisory role at a 2-6 setting in Asia, and am having slight cultural differences with my staff over behaviour management. Some of my staff have taken to putting different coloured chairs out in the classrooms as 'time out chairs' and children are really keen to avoid sitting on the red chairs, so it helps behaviour. My problem is that I think this is using shame and fear of being shamed to control behaviour, and I'm not a fan.

    The boss's idea was that time out was thinking time and should be restorative, and my thoughts are always with positive behaviour strategies, but I'm also aware that Britain has this kind of modern teaching and poor behaviour in British schools. I also don't want to interfere in classrooms unless I've got something more soilid behind me than "None of the good schools I worked at in Britain would do this." After some of the behaviour I saw in the UK, I don't feel like I have much of a high horse to speak from.

    So here's the question: Is this a valid behaviour management strategy with otherwise extemrely loving care? I told the staff that I wasn't keen, but that I'd do some research before banning it, and all I've turned up so far is a slew of articles weighed down by the word 'posiitve', which this isn't.

    I'm all for evidence based teaching, so if any scholarly types could throw a reference at me, I'd appreciate it.

  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Sanctions should be things children dislike and want to avoid. This seems to be the case at your school, so it works and go with it would be my advice.

    A great many outstanding, good, satisfactory and binkin useless schools use 'time out' or 'thinking' chairs. You certainly would see such things in Britain.

    Sounds like your staff have totally the right idea and you should applaud them for dealing with the behaviour effectively in the classroom.
  3. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I can't see anything wrong with it.
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    I know it's fashionable to root all strategy in research evidence, but there needs to be an understanding of what you;re looking for and why. To begin with, the reason you're looking for evidence is because you have a gut feeling that there's something wrong with this practice. So are you seeking to justify what you think already, or not? Be careful that you aren't merely looking to reinforce your existing belief. The best evidence a teacher can rely on is this: does it work?
    Also, this isn't really an evidence question: it's a matter of values. The question is 'Is it right to use red chairs in classrooms as a time-out facility?' not 'What does the research say?' Apart from the fact that it would be really hard to find a study that focused this closely on an individual strategy (although I could be proven wrong, and someone will produce this exact study to damn me), what would you then do with this evidence? Would you be sure there wasn't evidence that pointed in the exact opposite direction?
    The reason I'm careful before recommending studies and research is that educational science is often far from scientific, and can frequently suffer from the sin of certainty in its efforts to ape the natural sciences. And it just doesn't work like that: human beings are too nebulous and complicated to endure the microscope or the thermometer.
    The best way to answer this question is to ask: does it work? And, is it moral?
    Does it work? Time-outs are a well worn strategy in many schools, either in the classroom or outside. It can be done badly- what it's useful for is to give emotional kids a bit of thinking time to reflect. Whatever you do to a child to promote this- from the old fashioned naughty step to the request to step outside for five minutes- will always possibly engender feelings of shame in the recipient, which at least has the virtue of encouraging them to see their actions as resulting in some kind of isolating consequence. So, yes, it can work, used in moderation.
    Is it moral? It's hardly abuse. If they don't want to sit on the red chair, there;s a simple way to achieve this- don't monkey around. Asking a child to go from one chair to another chair is one of the lightest touch sanctions there is. I wouldn't have the slightest qualm about using it. Any behaviour strategy that helps them to learn and socialise into their communities is positive.
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom here on his blog, or
    follow him. His latest book, Teacher, is out this month, published by Continuum/ Bloomsbury


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