Expert Advice

Your say: How should teachers discipline badly behaved students?

With no cane or naughty corner, how can teachers discipline misbehaving students?

By: Amanda Pitcher

The cane has been banned as a disciplinary method in Australian schools for several decades, and recent childcare guidelines have warned of hefty fines over the use of timeouts or the "naughty corner".

What do teachers have left to discipline misbehaving students?

Funding cuts to public education have already been flagged by the state governments in Tasmania and Victoria, as governments attempt to rein in costs by cutting public service spending, which will result in an increased workload for Australia's already overworked teachers.

Making the situation worse is the increase in students being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the past decade. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says up to 5 percent of Australian school-aged children are now affected by the developmental problem, which results in poor concentration and a lack of ability to control impulses.

Budget cuts will mean that teachers who are responsible for educating and shaping the nation's future generations will now have larger classes, with increasingly difficult to control students and no real means of disciplining them.

No-one is suggesting resurrecting the cane or strap, which once struck fear into the hearts of school children across Australia and indeed the world. But the question is, what can teachers do to discipline naughty children?

Teachers in the US have resorted to some strange and potentially psychologically damaging methods of discipline. One principal in Mississippi Leigh Todd made a student sit in a chair with his tongue sticking out for an extended period of time after the boy was sent to his office for talking back and poking his tongue out at a teacher, Today.com reported.

While in Tennessee a veteran teacher with 38 years' experience encouraged students to circle around a boy, oink at him and call him a pig to punish him for having a messy "spot". The teacher in question, Debbie Hayes, was herself suspended.

A US child behaviour expert has said children use behaviour to send a message and often avoid something they don't want to do, such as school work or homework, especially if they find it difficult.

"So many kids come to school having already failed before they even enter the classroom," co-author ofChallenging Behavior in Young ChildrenBarbara Kaiser told Today.com. "And the best way to hide that is to be asked to leave the classroom. And the best way to leave the classroom is through behaviour. So it's a really vicious cycle."

Your say: What do you consider to be acceptable disciplinary methods for teachers to use to curb bad behaviour in Australian schools?