WHAT’S WRONG WITH A LITTLE DISCIPLINE?
Caroline Haynes is my new hero. A lot of you may be saying “Who the heck is Caroline Haynes?”, particularly those of you outside of the United Kingdom, but Ms. Haynes is a school principal who recently caught the attention of the press when she started to implement strict discipline in the classroom. I’ve never had the pleasure of actually meeting Ms. Haynes, but I have been doing a lot of reading about her recently. She is with the Tendring Technology College in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, UK, a secondary school which, when translated to the American equivalent, is a private school for children ages 11-19.
What makes her story interesting is that she adopted a zero-tolerance policy on student discipline at her school under the premise that bad behavior effects the culture of learning. She is quoted as saying, “It stands to reason that a lax policy on discipline will result in increased bad behaviour.”
Whereas government policy encourages more tolerance in terms of youth discipline, Ms. Haynes has adopted an opposing policy that has resulted in 478 suspensions in one year at a school with 1,880 pupils (25%). Currently, she is averaging two suspensions every day for bad behavior. Swearing at teachers, classroom disruptions, drugs, fighting, and bad attitudes are simply not tolerated. Her tactics may sound somewhat radical in a permissive society, but you cannot deny her results. Since cracking down on discipline, student passing rates jumped from 48% to 74%, a substantial increase. Ms. Haynes said, “Our policy immediately bore fruit. Exam results have soared. I’m very proud.”
For full test results at Tendring, click HERE.
Now, instead of adversarial relationships and tension in the classroom, students are free to concentrate on their studies and are improving noticeably. Now for the kicker; I’m told students like the discipline and prefer it over chaos. This is consistent with what I have been saying that people tend to thrive in a structured environment that is well organized and leadership is strong, whether it is in school or in business. It eliminates distractions thereby allowing people to focus and be more productive. Further, it brings consistency to work products and promotes craftsmanship. People not only need a little discipline, they actually prefer operating in such a manner which improves communications and gives them a sense of direction.
You have heard me say we need some real heroes these days, people to be emulated. Well, Ms. Haynes is one that gets my vote. In an age where discipline is spurned, she offers tangible proof of the benefits that can be derived from a little law and order in our daily lives.
Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.
Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.
For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.
Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.