School discipline had changed in many ways over the years and probably the main change is the abolition of corporal punishment in the early 1980’s. Before then much of the inappropriate behaviour within school would be dealt with this way, and it could be argued that this was sometimes used too often and not as a last resort which is what would have been expected. Many of those children, who are adults today, will have vivid memories of corporal punishment and this will sometimes be the most memorable aspect of their school life, rather than the things that they learned.This of course will not apply to everyone, but the old fashioned discipline methods involved a lot of fear and intimidation, children were treated strictly and grouped together as a whole.
No allowances were made for possible reasons for inappropriate behaviour, anything inappropriate would be dealt with seriously. There were strict rules to be followed, and the children would learn never to question teachers’ methods, this would even reach parents too and teachers were held up with the same kind of respect that doctors would have.Children were not generally treated individually, but as a class who should be ‘kept in line’ with rules and regulations that had to be accepted and followed. The problem with this is that some teachers could take the ‘power’ they had too far and use their position to assert themselves, and children had to suffer any consequences that particular teacher saw fit. The approach to discipline is very different now, there is no physical punishment allowed at all, infact the children are taught that physical harm is completely unacceptable.
Children are treated individually and the school works hard to discover anything in the child’s life/background that might affect their learning or behaviour. There are strong parent/school links and any problems are quickly addressed. Most schools have clear behaviour policies set out and many individual classrooms also have classroom sanctions that the children are made aware of early in the school year.