MacDoctor on discipline

April 6th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Read this post from MacDoctor and weep:

I initially thought that this article was some sort of satire, until, with mounting horror, I decide the perpetrators were not only deadly serious, but certifiably insane. Apparently, not only are teachers not able to use any form of physical discipline, they are not supposed to be using any discipline at all! This is the gist of the argument:

I had a similar reaction to the article.

The article said:

, a Unitec lecturer with 20 years experience in early childhood education, this week told the Early Intervention Association conference in Auckland that Supernanny techniques were unprofessional for teachers.

“What you’re really doing is you’re punishing the child for doing something that is not appropriate, instead of teaching them, which is our mandate,” Bishop said.

“It could be quite traumatic for children they might have hit somebody because they didn’t understand or they couldn’t communicate so they lashed out.

“Instead of teaching them a way of communicating, we’re punishing them by putting them on a naughty chair and giving them time out.”

continues:

One wonders if “20 years of experience” actually included children, or was this all academic “experience”? This is early childhood education we are talking about – toddlers and preschoolers. These are kids in their formative years, who need to know where the boundaries of good and bad behaviour lie. They are not having problems in”communication”, they are having problems with group dynamics and interactions. If they are not told what is and is not acceptable behavior, they will have to learn this the hard way with damaged relationships, social ineptitude and even criminal activity and prison. It is vital that kids learn boundaries.

Ms. Bishop’s bizarre approach is a direct result of not considering any behaviour right or wrong. Wrong behaviour is “naughty” and requires punishment in a right/wrong model. In Ms. Bishop’s world, undesirable behaviour is not wrong but “miscommunicated”. The child does not require punishment but counseling. Misbehaviour is a learning experience for everyone.

And we see the effects of such thinking in the article I posted yesterday where a 17 year old defends the murderer of Augustine Borrell as being just as much a victim. No clear understanding of right and wrong.

Tags: , ,

38 Responses to “MacDoctor on discipline”

  1. PaulL (5,965 comments) says:

    I think there are two different things here.

    Just punishing the child without helping them to see what their other options are is not productive – next time they still won’t know what to do, and will probably still do the wrong thing.

    Conversely, not punishing them isn’t useful either – it fails to indicate that there are consequences. There won’t be a behaviour change unless you both show them an alternative way, and also make their current choice one that is unpleasant.

    Not necessarily physical punishment, but time out is pretty standard fare. I was wondering how long it would take the Greens to move from “smacking is bad” to “psychological trauma from time out is bad”. They’re parts of a continuum, once we accept that the trauma is trifling and short term, why distinguish between emotional trauma and physical trauma?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. pete (416 comments) says:

    One wonders if “20 years of experience” actually included children, or was this all academic “experience”?

    How is it that MacDoctor is capable of publishing a blog, yet he hasn’t heard of Google?

    Ms Bishop does in fact have 20 years experience educating young children, which I’m guessing is 20 years more than either MacDoctor or DPF.

    [DPF: Wrong. I taught junior classes occassionally while at secondary school (and in fact even at intermediate) and I also spent 15 years as a youth leader dealing with six year olds up to 19 year olds and have considerable practical experience about getting kids to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Nigel (511 comments) says:

    Nice post PaulL.

    Punishment in itself is pretty meaningless unless there is an explanation of what was done wrong, why it was wrong & how it should be done. But explanations without consequences ( punishment if appropriate ) is pretty meaningless to.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. slightlyrighty (2,471 comments) says:

    This just shows the mentality of some ‘academics’ who deign to tell us all how we should be raising our children. I had to read this part of the article a number of times “Behaviour-control techniques popularised by the TV disciplinarian have spread to preschools despite being in breach of the United Nations (UN) Declaration of the Rights of the Child”

    The UN declaration states in article 7

    “You have the right to go to school for free, to play, and to have an equal chance to develop yourself and to learn to be responsible and useful.”

    How does a child learn responsibility? How does the naughty step in any way breach the UN Declaration?

    It is, in my opinion, a valid learning tool to help develop the social integration of a child into normal society. Now I may not have 20 years experience of ECE, but I know that 4 minutes of time out on a naughty step is very useful in teaching my boy the boundaries of normal social behaviour.

    I wonder if Ms Bishop has any children herself. She certainly disagrees with the child rearing techniques of Jo Frost, having presented the following paper:

    “Bishop, P. (2007). Super nanny leave our kids alone. Paper presented at the New Zealand Early Childhood Convention 2007 ‘Pakiwaitara: Stories of the land’, 23-28 September, Rotorua.”

    Her profile on the Unitec Website reads like a green party candidate’s!

    “She brings particular skills in Music and Movement, Outdoor Education, Storytelling and Science. Pauline is interested in gender issues, optimizing brain function and special education. She is currently developing a proposal for her PhD focusing on ‘Successful Teaching Teams in Early Childhood’. Pauline is passionate about capturing the teaching moment. She is concerned about diversity and how it is valued. Pauline views herself as a change agent.”

    The scary thing is not that she is a teacher, but she is teaching our teachers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. unaha-closp (1,158 comments) says:

    “Instead of teaching them a way of communicating, we’re punishing them by putting them on a naughty chair and giving them time out.”

    And what happens to the rest of the class whilst the teacher is giving “communication lessons” to the naughty kid? They are to be ignored?

    The only lesson the teacher will convey to them is that if they want attention they should bash someone.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. pete (416 comments) says:

    I wonder if Ms Bishop has any children herself. She certainly disagrees with the child rearing techniques of Jo Frost, having presented the following paper

    That paper refers to preschool teachers, not to parents. It sounds like Ms Bishop is suggesting that preschool teachers have a professional obligation to base their teaching on proven research, rather than what they saw on tv last night.

    This just shows the mentality of some ‘academics’ who deign to tell us all how we should be raising our children.

    This probably need repeating: Ms Bishop has 20 years experience in actual real preschool teaching. She is giving her opinion on preschool teaching, not on parenting, which are different things.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (786 comments) says:

    Was about to point out that Ms Bishop is based in early childhood education but Pete has just done that.

    Unaha-closp
    early childhood centres have ratios of about 1 teacher/ 8 children and most of the day is spent unstructured. Not all children are being taught every minute of the day. There is time to give “communication lessons”. Most of the time these “communication lessons” will be to everyone listening anyway through positive reinforcement (ie.”I like the way ‘Joshua’ says please”, “I like the way ‘Sara’ and ‘Lucy’ share”).

    In early childhood some children have trouble communicating with each other and will do things like snatching, hitting and even biting. To punish them for such could create a stigma for the child that they are naughty and other children believe these kids are naughty. That leads to them getting the blame (from other kids) for stuff they haven’t done. I have seen parents accusing children of hitting their child on days that the supposed ‘hitter’ wasn’t even at the centre. Sometimes children will be naughty just to get the attention that punishment offers.
    Gifted children can be nurtured into geniuses and percieved naughty children can be nurtured into bad behaving children.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Had a hell of a time with 4yo Little Miss yesterday.

    IMHO the “Time Out” / “Naughty Step” techniques are the best thing there is by far, for children who are too agitated to listen to anything and/or are not ready to have right and wrong explained to them in words. And it shows them that acting up is not a way to get attention.

    But honestly, Dave – “Political Correctness?” That has never been anything more than a slogan for rallying troops.
    You attend a reinforced concrete lecture at Auckland or Canterbury universities, and it will sound pretty academic, theoretical and abstract compared to what you would see if you visited a major construction site. But that theory and its ongoing development is nonetheless an essential part of the practice. Is the casual glance of the layman in itself enough reason to condemn the work of the academic powers that be?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. pete (416 comments) says:

    DPF: Wrong. I taught junior classes occassionally while at secondary school (and in fact even at intermediate) and I also spent 15 years as a youth leader dealing with six year olds up to 19 year olds and have considerable practical experience about getting kids to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing

    So about zero years teaching preschool then?

    [DPF: Of course, but that does not make a dopey argument any less dopey because a critic has not taught pre-school. Try debating the merits of the issue]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. MacDoctor (63 comments) says:

    Pete: I did, in fact, google Ms. Bishop. Her profile just contains the same bland assurance that she has 20 years experience. My question still stands: How much of her experience is real-world and how much is academic? And either way, it does not detract from my original point that discipline and boundaries are not something that is taught at home and then abandoned in playgroup. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour and must be discouraged at all times.

    Ms Bishop does in fact have 20 years experience educating young children, which I’m guessing is 20 years more than either MacDoctor or DPF.

    This “appeal to authority” argument is fallacious. No-one is disputing Ms. Bishop’s qualifications, only her good sense.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    The only lesson the teacher will convey to them is that if they want attention they should bash someone.

    We have kids at our school who have learned that the way to get attention from their parents is to behave badly… because good behaviour has them ignored. This is really quite sad, and results in kids who are mal-adjusted in their dealing with peers and adults.

    Good parents (and teachers) differentiate the right time to ignore poor behaviour, from the right to intervene to re-confirm boundaries, re-confirm the consequences of crossing the line and, if necessary, take action if that line is crossed… notwithstanding guidance and warnings.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. pete (416 comments) says:

    MacDoctor: No-one is disputing Ms. Bishop’s qualifications, only her good sense.

    MacDoctor: One wonders if “20 years of experience” actually included children, or was this all academic “experience”?

    You certainly appear to be disputing her qualifications.

    This “appeal to authority” argument is fallacious.

    (With apologies to Daniel Davies) There’s no fancy term for the fallacy of elevating your own “common sense” opinion over that of experts in the field.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    As one who has helped raised two children to be successful adults one despairs at the idiot moronics like Ms Bishop. All theory and no practical ability.

    Until one has actually raised ones own children and demonstrated the common sense to do so it would be better for Ms Bishop to hold her opinion rather than open her mouth and confrim her stupidity.

    As I and others with the background of real life experience have long stated it aint rocket science if you apply good old fashioned common sense that has stood the est of time and been handed down from generation to generation.

    Look at the animal kingdom and how they parent. Mum and Dad give both physical discipline and love and attention in equal measure.

    Alas like the smacking issue Ms Bishop and her type have no sense of reality or balance.

    Its all or nothing with them There is no middle ground. they are extremely dangerous and should come with a health warning that their ways are guaranteed to cause maximum harm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Not heard of google pete?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    There are some frightening articles around about what has occurred in Sweden since their early and extreme abolishment of punishment for children.

    If we are now being rightly horrified about young mums and /or their boyfriends murdering babies; what about teenagers murdering their parents?

    I keep saying this: the “conservatives” who were the “establishment” at one time, have not been anything like reactionary enough. We should have tossed the advocates of all this social engineering rot in jail back in the 1950’s when they first started preaching their sedition; instead of letting them take over the universities, followed by bureaucracy, teaching, the media, health, law, crime, and even, tragically, many mainline churches; via their deceived disciples.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Brian Smaller (4,012 comments) says:

    I was at supermarket the other day with daughter. At the checkout there was this kid pulling DVDs from one of those rotating display racks and dumping them on the floor. The mother couldn’t control the kid at all. Eventually the kid gets her finger stuck in one of the shelves while trying to spin the rack around. She hurts her finger – nothing serious just it gets twisted a bit. Mother drops everything and molly-coddles the kid telling her how bad the rack was. My 10 year old looked at me and said “you would have handled that differently Dad – you would have said, serves you right, don’t stick your fingers where they don’t belong.” God I was proud of her.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Razork (375 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller, you are a legend!
    that is a fantastic story.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. pete (416 comments) says:

    Try debating the merits of the issue

    Typical rhetorical sleight of hand DPF.

    1. Make a reflexive anti-intellectual jibe about someone’s “academic” vs “practical” experience (better yet quote someone else doing it. plausible deniability!).
    2. Wait for me to correct you.
    3. Start claiming that her experience is irrelevent and accuse me of not “debating the merits”.

    Hasn’t anyone taught you that dishonesty is wrong?

    [DPF: I did not focus on her academic background. Yes I quoted MacDoctor but that was a minor part of the overall point he was making. You're the one who has been obsesses with experience. I prefer to focus on the argument]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. The Silent Majority (88 comments) says:

    This idiot just beggars belief. I sometimes wonder if the end goals of her and her comrades are total anarchy…I cannot see any other logical reason for their stupidity.

    Does this f***wit have children of her own? If the answer is “not yet” I hope that when she does, she gets at least one that is feisty, naughty and won’t do a thing she/he is told no matter what the consequences.

    Would I send my children to a preschool with no discipline and boundaries in place? No way!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Luke H (73 comments) says:

    We should have tossed the advocates of all this social engineering rot in jail back in the 1950’s when they first started preaching their sedition; instead of letting them take over the universities, followed by bureaucracy, teaching, the media, health, law, crime, and even, tragically, many mainline churches; via their deceived disciples.

    Over the top much?

    People like you are what gives the ‘right-wing’ its bad name.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. metcalph (1,428 comments) says:

    As soon as I read the following words:

    Behaviour-control techniques popularised by the TV disciplinarian have spread to preschools despite being in breach of the United Nations (UN) Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the national curriculum, an Auckland academic says.

    it was clear that she was making shit up. The Declaration of the Rights of the Child does not in fact prohibit behaviour-control techniques. I’m far less certain about the National Curriculum but I had a gander through the New Zealand Curriculum and it is similarly full of positive statements that only with the hardest of handwaving could concievably be interpreted as a ban on specific practices.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. metcalph (1,428 comments) says:

    It beggars belief that in Sweden, Police cannot even investigate offences carried out by any person under fifteen years old!

    Swedish legal philosophy is actually very close to New Zealand in this regard. Children under the age of fourteen are not considered capable of committing any crime other than homicide (and if they are under ten they are not considered capable of committing homicide). This is on the grounds that they are presumed not to have the knowledge that such actions are wrong (as opposed to their actual capacity for doing so).

    But as to the particular case being referred to, the blame should be sheeted to the Social Services.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Ones first response is “how could such an idiot be able to do this” but on second thoughts one must realize that society probably has to go thru the process of the experiment that we are currently going thru. ie: no one is ever wrong, no smacking, etc, etc.

    When schools finally descend into total chaos and teachers are fleeing the schools, maybe then some sense will come back into society.

    So the quicker it happens the better. The terrible thing is though that so many kids will have their lives destroyed by this dumb experiment.

    I hope they sue in time.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. pete (416 comments) says:

    I did not focus on her academic background. Yes I quoted MacDoctor but that was a minor part of the overall point he was making.

    For such a minor point, you’re having a lot of trouble accepting that it was wrong.

    You’re the one who has been obsesses with experience.

    Simply false. I pointed out an error in your post, and now you’re arguing black is white trying to defend it.

    I prefer to focus on the argument

    You, say that, but you haven’t made one.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. dad4justice (8,137 comments) says:

    Hey pete how many children you got that love and respect you?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Not heard of google pete?

    Nope Murray, never have. Is he related to Haiku Dave?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. big bruv (13,718 comments) says:

    Why on earth do we put these fools on such a pedestal?

    Pauline Bishop should be hauled out in front of a group of parents so we can all point and laugh.

    You want kids to stop or modify their behaviour then follow Bruv’s simple guide…

    Parent: Stop doing that little Johny

    Child: Why?

    Parent: Because I bloody well said so

    Child: But I want…

    Parent: “I wants” don’t get in this house young man, now stop it please.

    Child: Nah

    At this point the parent or care giver applies the palm of his or her hand to the backside of wee Johny with such force as to shock wee Johny into doing as he is told.

    Simple!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. aladin (48 comments) says:

    MacDoctor is the one who is bizarre. He has posted his rantings under ‘child health’ and ‘political correctness’. He’s in touch with the ‘right/wrong model’,child psychology and the education of preschoolers and doesn’t need links to back himself.
    Personally, I can’t find anything wrong in Pauline Bishop’s approach and would hope that MacDoctor never comes near a classroom, or encounters ‘bad behaviour’ in a child with autism, ADHD or one with special needs.
    Also, since when does punishment promote ‘good’ behaviour? Links please.

    Thanks, Linda

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    aladin – have kids of your own? if sp, do you set boundaries.. and how do you enforce them? Or do you just let your kids do whatever they want?

    Having raised two now very mature teens (ie I trust them with my car, house and credit-card PIN … and I have never, never been let down) I would back MacDoctor over Bishop’s madness 100% of the time.

    The setting of boundaries of acceptable behaviour is an essential part of civil society. The family is the basic building block, and that’s where a child’s first experience of limits, respect for authority and consequences will occur. The school is (or should be) and extension of the home, rather than an instrument of the state which is seems to have become.

    FWIW, anyone who suggests that education can be effectively delivered to children in an environment where there are no expectation of, or limits applied to behaviour has clearly been ideologically blinded, 20 years of ‘experience’ of not.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. aladin (48 comments) says:

    You’re a worry, getstaffed!!

    Thanks, Linda

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    Aladin, I would agree that discipline does not promote good behaviour – that comes from setting standards, boundaries etc etc and living by them yourself.

    But let me tell you this – punishment OBTAINS good behaviour but again only when the standards, boundaries etc and consequences are known by all.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. aladin (48 comments) says:

    That’s great stuff, poliwatch, but how do you know all this?
    Can you poliease (sic) provide some evidence?
    Or are you just saying this cos you think it is true and sounds good…

    Thanks, Linda

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    Aladin, only from practice. I only preach what i practice. The result is four well rounded balanced children (my biased opinion of course).

    I guess that is not the same as getting a degree or two on the subject. Mind you of the four, one has a BA in Education and another is working towards a degree in Psycology. OMG did that light smack on the arse drive them in that direction – I might need to rethink my theories.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. bobux (349 comments) says:

    aladin

    Some guidance please. Perhaps you could you could advise on the appropriate way the following scene should have been handled without resorting to ‘punishment’.

    As I was dropping my toddler off at daycare yesterday, another child aged around 3 walked up and pushed her to the ground. He then pushed past a preschool teacher beginning to speak to him and hit a second younger child twice in the face, ran across the room and attacked a third child.

    How should the staff manage this without resorting to ‘punishment’. Bear in mind that three children who have done nothing wrong have already been ‘punished’ for being in the same room as the offender.

    If you tell me what you think the correct solution is, I’ll tell you how the teachers actually responded.

    Incidentally, while you have requested both poliwatch and Macdoctor provide links, you haven’t provided any yourself. Nor have you provided any indication of your experience working with children, either as a teacher or parent.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. aladin (48 comments) says:

    Hi bobux,

    “Incidentally, while you have requested both poliwatch and Macdoctor provide links, you haven’t provided any yourself. Nor have you provided any indication of your experience working with children, either as a teacher or parent.”

    I am not the one who is making claims, they are.
    Also, why do I have to have experience as a teacher or parent to have an opinion on discipline and what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? What if I told you I was a child psychologist with 50 years experience and have 10 children? Would that change your mind? P Bishop seems to quite qualified, why don’t you believe her over Macdoctor and getstaffed?

    Linda

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. monkeygod77 (2 comments) says:

    I think I would be upset by the comments reported if they were accurate. Reporters can use comments out of context and even mis-qoute people. Especially when its a controversial topic in a politic area. I can attest that she does in fact have many years practical experience including running an Early Chilhood Education (ECE) centre in her 20 odd years experience. People here are only basing their opinions on Articles which may not even be accurate. In fact it was taken out of context she was using it as an example to Challenge ECE teachers to think outside the box to form constructive ways to deal with issues, rather than just “sit on that chair and think about what you have done!” from memory and experience (as a father to 2 children and volunteer at an childcare centre) they just sulk. Children that young just are not mentally developed enough to logically rationalise about their actions, they are still very egotistical! There is still a place for the naughty chair, Ms Bishop just believes that its not ALWAYS an appropriate form of discipline. She understands the constraints on ECE teachers especially when working in centres with a high child-adult ratio where the naughty chair can be an (for the adult) easy option. But honestly wheres the learning story in that? As a person with teaching experience MacDoctor should agree that teaching is a learning occupation. There is Always something new for the teacher. Thats part of the challenge and makes the job interesting. Teaching is developing minds.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. monkeygod77 (2 comments) says:

    gd (2076) Vote: 8 4 Says:

    April 6th, 2009 at 1:34 pm
    As one who has helped raised two children to be successful adults one despairs at the idiot moronics like Ms Bishop. All theory and no practical ability.

    She has considerable practical experience. No one here seems to be interested in what Ms Bishop ACTUALLY thinks just blindy slagging what was printed in an article. I dont think that the media should ever be taken at face value as there is ALWAYS more than one side to any story. Its a very narrow mind not to consider that there may be more to this than stated in an article. Contoversial topics sell papers. And yes she is a parent too. No I am not a liberal hippy for supporting her. Yes I believe in firm discipline. But I also want it to be effective. Not damaging. I am intelligent, I dont want to beat children into blind obedience. I am a parent and want to be a good teacher and role model not a drill sergeant. If I wanted to do that I would have stayed in the forces.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.