Ban 'traffic light' type systems in schools

Ban 'traffic light' type systems in schools

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Rebecca Sheikh started this petition to Department of Education

Children are being indirectly punished through control systems in classrooms that are outdated and can cause distress to children. These types of systems are often in the form of 'traffic lights', 'rainbow's and rain clouds' and even footballer type 'red and yellow cards'. If children do not behave in a way that is acceptable or appropriate they are moved off the positive area of the system ie. they may start in the green traffic light at the start of they day, but if they do something deemed as 'naughty' they are moved onto the yellow, and if this behaviour continues they are moved onto the red. A similar type of consequence is applied with the rainbow and rain clouds and the footballer cards.

The reason why this type of system is problematic is that it does not take into account the child's wellbeing. We have enough neuroscience and nervous system knowledge now to know children's brains are not developed enough to regulate or control their behaviour at times, especially if they are currently or have been under stress or experienced trauma. These systems then add stress to a potentiality already stressed child and can cause more problems. It only tackles the behaviour and does not support the child or get the root of the problem. Children will take on ways to protect themselves from these systems that we may not be aware of, and this impacts their wellbeing too. It is based on a behaviourist approach which was based on testing animals, whereas humans have a much more sophisticated and emotional world compared to rats and pigeons.

I used these systems for 17 years in the classroom and it's only when I had my first child I discovered another way to support children to behave in more socially acceptable ways. A way that is based on sound developmental psychology and a deep understanding of children with relationship and secure attachment at the heart. 

In article 28 (right to education):  Discipline in schools must respect children’s dignity and their rights. 

I feel these types of systems take away dignity, they destroy trust and erode relationships and rights.

Let's give our children love, relationship, support, respect and understanding by actually looking a little deeper into why they may be finding it difficult to behave appropriately. It's a a small step towards healing the mental health epidemic our children are facing. 

If you wonder what on earth you can do instead. Get in touch with the Flourish Project: https://www.flourishproject.net

Further reading:

Alfie Kohn's : Punished by Rewards

Michael Sandel: The Moral Limits of Markets

Aletha Solter: Co-operative and Connected

 

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