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Time outs can lead to tuning out, researcher says

Naughty corners and time outs and are common disciplinary actions in the classroom but an education expert has warned that these techniques could make student disengagement worse.

University of South Australia researcher Dr Anna Sullivan said research has shown that there’s little evidence to support punitive and exclusionary approaches when it comes to modifying poor classroom behaviours.

“There’s just been the study that we’ve done and another large study in Western Australia,” Sullivan said. “Both have shown that some of the behaviours that are quite significant in classrooms are around disengagement.

“The Western Australian study found that across all age groups, approximately 20 per cent of students in every classroom were described as disengaged. If you use approaches like time outs or go to a buddy class or go to the office, I’m not quite sure that fixes the disengagement.

“The research in the US says that if you continually remove children from their learning situation, you will in fact exacerbate their disengagement, because if something’s going on, they’ll miss it, they’re removed.

“These approaches to deal with disengaged behaviours just don’t work.”

Click below to listen to the full interview.

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