UK schools to declare war on parents
Hot on the heels of last week's story about U.K. teachers who believe that parents are failing to provide their kids with basic skills, the Telegraph reports that a U.K. government study is recommending fines for parents based on their children's school behaviour. Sir Alan Steer was asked to review behaviour control methods in state schools after it was revealed that some schools were giving out thousands of pounds in rewards for students' good behaviour, including game consoles and plasma TVs. At the same time, surveys indicated that, on average, nearly an hour of instructional time was lost per day because of inappropriate behaviour in high schools, while more than 60% of teachers were not aware of their right to discipline their students. Sir Alan has previously recommended that schools avoid concentrating children with behaviour problems in the same classes, and suggested that vocational schools be established for expelled students. His report suggests that schools be given a set of guidelines aimed at imposing order. Schools will be able to apply to courts for a parenting contract, requiring parents to attend parenting classes; fines of up to £1000 can be levied against those who fail to attend. Guidelines for detention will be provided to schools as well. Teachers will be made aware that they can confiscate students' electronics (such as cell phones and iPods), and "time out" rooms are also expected to be recommended.
Activists speaking out against the current behaviour management practices at U.K. schools have expressed concern that, rather than reinforcing good behaviour, the programs are instead rewarding students for "normal" behaviour. It's well known that positive reinforcement can motivate children to improve their behaviour; however, it can also reduce intrinsic motivation for prosocial behaviour - kids may began to behave appropriately only when rewards are provided.
What do you think? Should parents be punished for their children's behaviour? Leave us a comment.
You can read the Telegraph article here.
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