Punitive Approaches to Classroom Management Do Not Work!

“Punitive approaches to classroom management do not work”, says internationally renowned author, educator and lecturer Dr Shelley Davidow.

Presenting “The Stress Proof Classroom” at Sydney Rudolf Steiner College on Friday 26thOctober, Shelley will facilitate a NESA accredited workshop on Restorative Practice and how to apply it effectively.

Speaking to the College this morning, Shelley said: “Some people assume Restorative Practice is a soft option. It isn’t. Its premise is that the wrong thing causes harm and creates responsibility and liability – and that everyone who’s part of the problem is also part of the solution. Anyone who says  it doesn’t work hasn’t done it properly. Although it’s initially time consuming for schools to set up and embed, research across the world shows that it works. I’ve had teachers tell me that managing students’ behaviour is so exhausting that they’ve been on the verge of quitting. Understanding and applying Restorative Practice has made professional life sustainable and kept teachers keen to keep going”.

What about bullying within schools? Does Restorative Practise (RP) go far enough to address this issue, so common in so many schools? “RP works best if implemented across the school. In RP, the bully is given the opportunity to repair the harm he/she has caused. The harm (not the child) is the focus. This approach creates altruism rather than narcissism.  Nothing is achieved by simply calling out the bully, an apology from the bully is not enough to repair the damage that was done. It needs to go further. Action needs to happen and the person who was bullied gets an opportunity to say how the bullying behaviour affected him /her and what she/he needs to have to feel safe. However, the School community are unified in knowing what bullying behaviour is and what is needed to make things right. Over time, RP sees this behaviour diminishing. It doesn’t eradicate bullying but it certainly reduces it.

Parenting too is often a minefield of diverse, conflicting approaches to behavioural management. How does restorative practice work to resolve some of the confusions surrounding raising children? Shelley says, “When I work with parents who lack firm boundaries I often see that there’s a confusion around the notion of being authoritative as opposed to authoritarian. Lack of firm boundary parents will often rescue their kids and excuse their behaviour and justify it. The end result is that kids without firm boundaries and clear behavioural expectations become tyrants. I encourage parents to reshape their approach; to use restorative practice to support an approach that is consistently loving and also consistently able to maintain boundaries’.

Restorative practise will be the focus of Dr Shelley Davidow’s upcoming seminar at Sydney Rudolf Steiner College, The Stressproof Classroom.  In high demand, Shelley’s courses frequently sell out. To avoid disappointment, click on this link to book your place. NESA Accredited, completing Shelley’s course will contribute 6 hours of QTC Registered PD.

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