I initially thought that this article was some sort of satire, until, with mounting horror, I decide the perpetrators were not only deadly serious, but certifiably insane. Apparently, not only are teachers not able to use any form of physical discipline, they are not supposed to be using any discipline at all! This is the gist of the argument:
“Pauline Bishop, a Unitec lecturer with 20 years experience in early childhood education, this week told the Early Intervention Association conference in Auckland that Supernanny techniques were unprofessional for teachers.
““What you’re really doing is you’re punishing the child for doing something that is not appropriate, instead of teaching them, which is our mandate,” Bishop said.
““It could be quite traumatic for children they might have hit somebody because they didn’t understand or they couldn’t communicate so they lashed out.
““Instead of teaching them a way of communicating, we’re punishing them by putting them on a naughty chair and giving them time out.””
One wonders if “20 years of experience” actually included children, or was this all academic “experience”? This is early childhood education we are talking about – toddlers and preschoolers. These are kids in their formative years, who need to know where the boundaries of good and bad behaviour lie. They are not having problems in”communication”, they are having problems with group dynamics and interactions. If they are not told what is and is not acceptable behavior, they will have to learn this the hard way with damaged relationships, social ineptitude and even criminal activity and prison. It is vital that kids learn boundaries.
Ms. Bishop’s bizarre approach is a direct result of not considering any behaviour right or wrong. Wrong behaviour is “naughty” and requires punishment in a right/wrong model. In Ms. Bishop’s world, undesirable behaviour is not wrong but “miscommunicated”. The child does not require punishment but counseling. Misbehaviour is a learning experience for everyone.
Does any of this seem familiar? It should. It is the same philosophy used in juvenile crimes. The juvenile criminal is “misunderstood” and needs to express him/herself. The juvenile criminal requires understanding and counsel. Criminal behaviour is a learning experience.
Actually what both the toddler and the juvenile criminal require is “time out”. The former on a naughty step and the latter in a boot camp (we can call them “naughty camps” if you don’t like the military connotations). Anything less will have us on a pathway to hell faster than you can say indisciplined.