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Discipline in private schools abroad: modern experience

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Discipline in private schools abroad: modern experience

Discipline in private boarding schools is the subject of discussion in parent communities, the media, and in government institutions that manage education. Modern boarding schools are focused on students, maintaining order and creating a safe learning environment, an environment for living, but at the same time, schools with full board remain committed to strict discipline. The rules relate to compliance with the daily routine, appearance requirements and maintaining cleanliness. The system of penalties for violations of discipline in different countries may differ, but the principle of “carrot and stick” remains in demand in education even after the abolition of corporal punishment in the 1990s.

Violations and penalties in private boarding schools abroad

School charters of private and public educational institutions abroad necessarily include clauses on the rules of conduct - teachers introduce newcomers to them upon admission or during test visits. The rules are general: you can’t:

  • talk in the classroom
  • do harm to other students
  • take other things
  • ruin school property.

If the set of rules for boarding school is listed above, then it is worth mentioning the points about:

  • observing the curfew 
  • mandatory presence at breakfast
  • a ban on visiting rooms of students of the opposite sex.

But if these rules seem natural to adults, then it is not easy for children to adhere to them: they want to communicate without restrictions in the evenings, discuss something important in the classroom or look at the phone until night. Not to mention the fact that students sometimes steal, fight, try alcohol and drugs - all these are stages of growing up, although they testify to ill-being. Teachers and school workers are responsible for students and discipline, therefore, in case of violations apply penalties.

The list of typical penalties in foreign schools:

  • Repeated recording of the same phrase (Writing Lines) - the number of repetitions can reach up to 200. This type of punishment was actively used until the 1990s, today it is used less often. Students write: "I must not scream in the classroom," "I must follow the rules." Here I recall Bart Simpson from the screen saver of the famous cartoon or Harry Potter with his famous "I must not lie".
  • Detention - in boarding schools, a student may be prohibited from leaving school for the weekend (going on excursions, going for walks), and day schools use this type of disciplinary punishment, inviting students to spend a day off or part of the class, for example, Saturday morning. At this time, students usually sit at their desks, do homework, or write the same phrase on paper.
  • Isolation - Penalty is applied to students who interfere or do not work in the classroom. Students are placed in a separate room (possibly with other students, but they are not allowed to communicate with each other). Students sit in silence and do class work on their own in the presence of the teacher on duty. Accompanied by the student visits the dining room, not communicating with others.
  • Exception (temporary or permanent) - the punishment is applied for serious violations: insults, fights, theft, ignoring the requirements for appearance, for example, tattooing or piercing on visible parts of the body. The student may be suspended from school for a period of time (sometimes up to several weeks) or expelled from school.

Features of life in boarding schools abroad

The greatest number of myths surrounding the life of students in private schools was generated by prestigious and mysterious closed boarding schools. What traditions are still preserved in them?

  • It is traditional for boarding schools to have a morning or afternoon gathering in the main hall, when the principal or another teacher addresses the students with news or messages.
  • General lunch - in many closed schools there is a school cafeteria where students eat with classmates and teachers. During dinner, adult observers are present in the hall - they were formerly called Dinner ladies.
  • Appointment of middle school students as prefects over the younger - adult students should observe the younger, help them navigate the school life, give advice. Each high school class selects a captain, representing him at the meetings, who carries out administrative tasks.
  • Educational institutions with a long history for many years accepted members of the same family who were associated with certain Houses (something similar to a club or school community, but the easiest way is to give a reference to “Harry Potter” and its distribution of students in 4 departments). Each House has developed its own philosophy, symbolism and traditions. It is expected that each new student will join this or that House.
  • Many private boarding schools use school uniforms. It can vary from a standard business style (black / gray trousers and a polo shirt) to a strictly regulated set of items - blazers with a logo, jackets, ties and scarves with a certain pattern. The uniform usually has the color scheme of a particular school and may include characteristic details (for example, a coat or hat of a certain style). In recent years, girls have gained the right to wear trousers or long shorts as part of their uniforms; some schools have introduced restrictions on the length of dresses and skirts.

School Rules Examples

If the above rules are characteristic of many private schools, then each educational institution has extraordinary prohibitions. So, for example, in the prestigious English school Harrow school there is an official ban on buying and eating food or drink on the street and during classes, except on weekends, when boys can buy ice cream or lollipops in stores and eat them immediately on the street. Students should not be given information about the school in the media without the official permission of the Master (the head of the House) and the higher school leadership.

An example of strict school compliance is the Michaela Community School. Here, students are forbidden to communicate in the corridors between classes, so as not to provoke conflicts, there are no mirrors in the toilets, everything is focused on learning and functionality. Students wear a full uniform; their time for preparing books for a lesson or eating is strictly regulated. Mikaela’s students themselves clean dishes and tables, clean plates of leftover food.

Private educational institutions are sensitive to traditions and vibrant unifying rituals. In the evening on the eve of the winter holidays, the English boarding school Winchester invites parents to join their sons for the traditional Illumination Evening. A fire is lit in the school yard, candles are placed everywhere, the chapel choir sings Christmas songs under the stars, and teachers, parents and students act as spectators.

Amusing protests took place in England, when the boys put on skirts in protest against the fact that they could not wear shorts in the summer. Students have achieved that shorts or Bermuda are included in the lists of permitted clothing for the warm season.

The elite private school in the USA, Phillips Exeter Academy, despite the lack of uniform and the recommendation to wear business clothes, indicates which items of clothing are inappropriate for students: hats, strapless tops, tops with straps less than two inches wide, clothes showing a stomach, buttocks or chest.

Theresianische Akademie for international students, a private boarding school in Vienna, is not allowed to smoke or drink alcohol, but smoking is allowed in the designated area, and all visitors must fulfill the so-called “duties of smokers”: to take part in cleaning the smoking area.

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