Freedom and Discipline, Volume 29

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Routledge, Dec 8, 2011 - Education - 129 pages
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Questions of discipline and order arise wherever formal education is practised, and are particularly acute for those training to teach or in their first school posts. For many years now writing on these topics has tended to depict teaching as the deployment of 'skills' and 'techniques' and competent teachers as those who successfully 'manage' their classes. This approach is criticised by Richard Smith as manipulative and destructive of the kind of pupil-teacher relationship conducive to any but the most trivial sorts of learning.

Thus the philosophical issues which the book explores are shown throughout to have their roots in problems associated with established thinking and practice, and the author's ideas have considerable practical relevance. He argues for a thorough reappraisal of the nature and basis of the teacher's authority and demonstrates the importance of a proper understanding of the function of punishment. He suggests that many of the problems of discipline that teachers meet may actually stem from inappropriate ways of treating pupils, and shows that solutions to these problems must be compatible with the degree of initiative and personal responsibility that it is the business of education to foster.

Schools have changed in many ways, largely for the better, since the first edition of this book appeared: the young people in them are generally treated with far more respect than was the case a quarter of a century ago. The voices of a more repressive tradition however still make themselves heard from time to time. It is therefore important continually to re-state the principles on which civilised relationships between pupils and teachers need to be based.


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1 The Disrupted Teacher
2 Classroom Skills and Management
3 The TeacherPupil Relationship
4 Authority
5 Justifying Authority
6 Punishment and Discipline
7 Punishment and the Moral Order
8 Justice and Other Virtues
9 Responsibility
10 Freedom and Education
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About the author (2011)

Richard Smith's travels throughout the world spurred an appreciation and interest in history. This fascination with history led to his creating historical maps and self-guided history tours that have been published and distributed throughout the Northeast. Dick's previous book, The Revolutionary War in Bennington County: A History & Guide, has been on several bestseller lists. He earned degrees in engineering and management from Lehigh University and an advanced degree in economics from Columbia University. He is a trustee of the Vermont Historical Society and president of the Manchester Historical Society. He resides in Manchester, Vermont, with his wife, Sharon.

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