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Brits Bid Dunce Corner Bye Bye

By jeannesager |

dunceA new year, and a new way of punishing kids is on its way in Britain. Or, at the very least, an old standby is going bye bye.

British press have announced British school children will no longer have to stand in the corner with their nose facing away from the class. The so-called “dunce corner” has been deemed a  breach of children’s human rights.

Right. So no corporal punishment (which we wholeheartedly agree with here on the ‘derby), and now no time out. Is the end of the failing grade that far off?

There are certainly some good arguments against the dunce corner. Its name for one has got to go. And the idea that a child is shamed in front of his or her classmates can easily reinforce the unfortunate playgraound hierarchy of the picked on and the pickers.

But it’s hard for any in-class behavior modification techniques not to result in some sort of shame in front of the other students. And let’s face it – kids who act out in class aren’t ashamed that the other kids are taking note of their antics. They often get a special charge off of it.

Time outs have traditionally been a favored alternative to corporal punishment because it offers both child and adult time to cool off – and time to think about the situation. If that’s a violation of human rights, what’s next – not requiring kids remain in their seats while the teacher is teaching because they’re “locked” in one place? Not requiring they remain in the classroom because they’re “caged?”

Image: sinisterbluebox via flickr

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About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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