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News – Carrots, not sticks

January 2009

Carrots, not sticks


New research on school discipline suggests children behave better when they are given positive feedback and more direct help to ensure they complete work. Prizes and rewards for good work have increased with teachers giving three times as much positive feedback as they did 30 years ago

     A report by Ofsted, the education watchdog, found praise was often a more effective tool for controlling children than punishment. Conclusions were drawn from observations made by 70 educational psychologists in 141 primary school classrooms across the UK.

     The study also rejected claims that small schools enjoyed better behaviour. It said the largest primaries, with the biggest budgets, achieved the best results because they employed the best headteachers, spent more money on classroom assistants, and paid for extra resources to keep children occupied. Some secondary schools are said to spend up to £30,000 a year on prizes to reward pupils who turn up on time and behave in the classroom.

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