November 19, 2012

Teaching by humiliation

If your child came home with his or her face covered in marker...from chin to hairline...and told you the students in class did it, how would you feel?

Now how would you feel if you learned it was done with the permission of the teacher?

That is exactly what happened in an Idaho classroom. Students had Accelerated Reading goals. Those who were not able to read a certain number of books in time were punished.

One of the punishments was to miss recess and the other was to have their faces scribbled on by other students.

Talk about humiliation.

This is a classic case of the punishment not fitting the crime. What lesson do the children who failed to meet the reading goal get by having to sit there while their classmates color their faces?

I'm sure there was plenty of laughing and teasing while it was happening and even more throughout the school day.

And I'm even more positive there were kids that felt bad about doing it, but were caught up in the group behavior.

What this teacher did was show one group of students that it is okay to bully those who are slower or different from them, while teaching other students that if you don't measure up, you will be punished and humiliated.

And I have to wonder if any of the students will be better readers because of it.

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