English School Discipline

Figure 1.--This boy attended an English prep school in the 1980s. His history class watched the classic 1938 "Robin Hood" film staring Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone. After watching the film the boy entertained his friends by impersonating the voice of Basil Rathbone. This continued in the dorm and even went on after lights were out. The film and Rathbone acting had apparently gripped the boys imagination. The uproar brought the house master into the dorm to restore order and tranquility for a good nights sleep. Put your cursor on the image to see the boy's punishment.

The term discipline has several meanings in English. It can mean a field of study. but here we are discussing the idea of training to act in accord with a set of rules and expectations. Discipline often is seen as punishment, but that is a more of a method to achive discipline than the actual goal of affectung the child's behavior. Many younger teachers make the mistake of failing to understand the importance of discipline in a desire to be liked by their students or to get on with the subject matter at hand. This is an approsch that they are soon disabused of when they begin teaching. For without a degree of classroom discipline, teaching is impossible. Educational experts msy disagree about the degree of discipline needed or the types of discipline most effective. Some may even argue that instilling a sence of internal discipline in children is as important as the curriculum subject itself. British schools as schools in other countries had very strict discipline standards in the 19th and early 20th centuries. School discipline relied heavily on corporal punishment. The popularity of school uniform is in part related to discipline. Since World war II the schools have moved away from draconian punishment toward more humane methods using both positive rewards and a variety of less coersive punishments such as writing lines, doing chores, or various restrictions. Other methods involve house (group) competitions in which members can earn or lose points for the house. Often the standikngs of the competitions are posted and regulsrly updated. Ponts can be won or loss in academics, sports, behavior, uniform, and a range of other areas. The once notorious private schools in England seem to have made this transition sucessfully and maintain a very high standard of discipline. The situation in state schools is more varied with some schools having very lax discipline standards. A problem here is that many parents to do not properly duscipline their children at home. The perception of poor discipline standards is a factor in many parents chosing the private (independent) sector.


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Created: 6:40 AM 10/24/2009
Last updated: 6:40 AM 10/24/2009