Until two weeks ago, I was a primary school teacher. I’ve used the Naughty Corner many times in my classroom. And apparently, I’ve been abusing some human rights.
In the lead-up to a Behaviour In Australian Schools Summit, experts from the University of South Australia suggest that “suspending or continually excluding children from classrooms could be breaching their fundamental right to an education,” and that sending a child to the corner of a classroom could breach a child’s right to basic “human dignity”.
I don’t see anything wrong with teachers using the Naughty Corner, and here’s why.
Students need to see consequences to their actions and see that they are accountable for the way that they behave. One of the concerns expressed was that teachers need to be more accountable for kids’ bad behaviour, not the children. But if no action is taken to show students that what they are doing is wrong, they will keep doing it, and no-one learns anything.
When a student’s behaviour is stopping the rest of the class from learning, I feel it’s totally justified to isolate them, mostly because you are only “excluding” them for a short time.
For example, if there is a kid who won’t stop chatting about what they’re buying at the canteen at lunchtime, and they don’t stop after I’d given them a few warnings, I would make them sit out.
Temporarily excluding a child from class is not shaming them, but giving them a place to think and reflect on what they have done, without any distractions. The other stigma associated with the Naughty Corner is that it’s a shaming strategy. I’m here to tell you that it’s not.
And no-one says “Naughty Corner” these days, anyway.