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Writing Lines For Punishment - DO! (sometimes)
I've read several comments about this form of discipline, both for and against, but I have to say that at the level I teach, which is P1 (6 and 7 year olds) in Thailand, it works well.
It's very straight-forward really, and sometimes a bit of good old-fashioned discipline does work, despite it being very trendy to say otherwise. There are lots of theories and new ideas relating to TESOL, but it's important to remember they are just theories and there is no set-in-stone right or wrong way to teach. The best method is whatever gets the job done, and sometimes, in certain situations, giving out lines will do that job.
I want my kids to hate getting lines. I want them to feel bad when they write them, that's the point! I find that they only have to do them a few times and it improves their behaviour considerably, so it's not as if they write them every day and have this growing resentment of English, writing, and heaven forbid, me!
If some students do resent you, that's a shame, but as a teacher you're not expected to be a punch bag. You do have the right to make things easier for yourself. If students' misbehaviour becomes a worry to you then it's time to take action. This may well mean that you turn some students away from English, but what about the ones that don't misbehave, that want to learn? Make sure you're able to control your class well enough to give those students the education they deserve. For those that don't listen and continue to misbehave, I keep trying, but I won't lose sleep over it. Teaching is not an easy job. I would rather keep the class moving forward and try to have some exceptional students, than let certain individuals slow everyone down.
I've found that in certain situations giving lines can bring unruly students sharply back in line, and for those few that it doesn't work on, no matter. They get to write lines in English several times a week and that's probably healthier than playing PS2 for 5 hours straight! Generally, after the first few times it's more the threat than the actual giving of lines that is the method of discipline. That's why I think it can be a useful method.
Nick, 22, Thailand.
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