A Symposium: The Discipline Debate in National and Local Contexts

Year: 1991

Author: Knight, Tony

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This case study describes the progress of an on-going four year project that set out to answer the question of how to create a school environment that allows children to act responsibly. (or put in Ministerial terms: `to develop a School Discipline Policy') As a project it attempted to combine a study of a practical problem with research that contributed to theory building and testing. In order to take the first step, the project coordinators (parents, teachers, members of school community) drew from the work of Kurt Lewin who stated that one of the best ways to understand the world is to try and change it. In choosing not to adopt what was the status-quo of the time - a strong movement toward management and control theory (Cohen, 1985) - the school sub-committee after considerable debate, decided to first agree upon educational ideas and values to inform the general aims of the school. This in turn would provide a theoretical frame to develop a School Code of Behaviour. Building a theory and testing its validity in practice became the priority in policy formation for 1989-90.