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Watch Your Words

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Cindi Rigsbee says that teachers often send students the wrong message about reading and writing. They're not supposed to be forms of punishment.

8 Comments

Brilliant post-- made more so by the fact that using schoolwork as punishment is one of those universal, unthinking practices used and accepted nearly everywhere. And a perfect example of habituated practice--things that seem normal and right, when they are unintentionally reinforcing all the wrong values. A recommended read.

AGREED!!! I hate it when students are asked to write sentences! Most students HATE writing anyway why must some teachers make it worse by using it as a form of punishment???

As a parent who has sought to rely more heavily on consequences than punishment, I have used writing as a consequence at times. Such things as writing a letter of apology, or writing out what different choices might have been made has always seemed to me to be a double dose of what is needed--slowing down to think and using skills that always need reinforcing.

Not quite the same thing as copying something over 100 times off the board, or sitting inside and reading instead of going out for recess--which I agree is using such things as punishment and the intent is to find an unpleasurable activity to force a student through. This is where the school and I parted company on the subject of suspension as punishment. They believed that it was my duty as a parent to turn a day off from school into an unpleasant experience (generally through doing school work). My point of view was that it's hard enough to deal with the emergency child care issue, let alone find a way to make the whole thing unpleasant. Not to mention the enormous disconnect from whatever had happened in the first place to trigger the suspension. Consequences are about experiencing results of actions--and when adults have the opportunity to impose consequences, the experience should always (to my mind) be about teaching something. Reading, writing, acting (as in fixing or repairing damages)--are all activities that can spark learning.

Hi,
I guess this is worse thing that mostly teachers practice. learning should not be made punishment as it may create hatred in student's mind.

Think Before You Speak

Wow. I never thought about the type of message we are sending in those situations. I have done that when I taught third grade when I had a few students who weren't following the few rules we had listed in the classroom. I had them write down the rules several times. Now I see I needed to come up with a different resolution to the problem. Thank you for opening my eyes to this.

Hi,
It was a very nice article! Just want to say thank you for the information you have shared. Just continue writing this kind of post. Thanks.

Hi,
This is really a nice post, you share good piece of information.

Hi,

Nice info at this post thanks!!! I really like it.

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