Sunday, May 30, 2010
Another education article
Schools and the Pedagogy of Punishment
Traditionally, students who violated school rules and the rights of others were sent to the principal's office, a guidance teacher or another teacher. Corrective discipline in most cases was a matter of judgment and deliberation, generally handled within the school by the appropriate administrator or teacher. Under such circumstances, young people could defend themselves, the context of their rule violation was explored (including underlying issues, such as problems at home, that may have triggered the behavior in the first place), and the discipline they received was suited to the nature of the offense. In other words, teachers and school administrators did what they were supposed to do: listen, exercise judgment and discrimination, and then decide how to handle an infraction. Today, in the age of standardized testing, thinking and acting, reason and judgment have been thrown out the window just as teachers are increasingly being deskilled and forced to act as semi-robotic technicians good for little more than teaching for the test and serving as a reminder that we are arriving at a day when the school curriculum will be teacher-proof. This loss of autonomy results in the sabotaging of critical education and the rise of a culture of security that now defines schools through the narrow optics of measurement and discipline.