Military style discipline in schools?

2IC

Swinger
Those of you with kids in school may have a view on this?

How school behaviour could be improved in the military style
James Bunyard
7th February 2016 at 12:00


An Army background helped one teacher better understand classroom behaviour
I used to be in the Army. As such, it is often assumed that behaviour management in the classroom should hold no fears for me. I am, after all, a military machine, the kids don’t stand a chance, surely?

Utter rubbish. I face the same challenges as every teacher. Yet, while I understand why some in the teaching profession are dubious about “military-style behaviour management”, I know more than most that the military can give us some lessons about behaviour that are worth listening to.

When the British Army faced accusations of mistreating detainees on military operations, it addressed this problem behaviour in an interesting way. There was not the “beasting” you read about in the press – no ramping up of screaming on parade grounds or punishing physical tasks. Instead, General Sir Richard Dannatt, then chief of the general staff, introduced a code of Values and Standards. It was clearly presented, disseminated across the army and delivered as structured training to soldiers on a regular basis.

The code in question consisted of the easily remembered mnemonic SOLIDC – standing for Selfless commitment, respect for Others, Loyalty, Integrity, Discipline and Courage (moral and physical).

You may assume that the glossy booklets that appeared in offices and waiting rooms might have been dismissed by some as a passing initiative, put together by a transient staff in a government department simply to satisfy their managers. But it wasn’t. The reason for this was that it was seamlessly linked with the chain of discipline and supported by the Army’s legal overseers. As a company commander, with the responsibility and accountability for up to 120 soldiers and their equipment, this meant that I had real power to ensure that those standards were met. The whole initiative was, in the end, judged to be a great success.

Being part of that process has served me well as a teacher. While training in the Troops to Teachers programme delivered by the University of Brighton, I have tried to meet these military standards in a way that is appropriate for the classroom.

Build the platoon ethos
Clearly, teenagers have different motivations to soldiers, but they still seem to respond to a consistent, positive and mutually respectful environment. My philosophy in the Army was to make sure that the whole company stayed together and we helped those that struggled; I did not ask anyone to do something I was not prepared to do myself. In the classroom, it is the same. Building mutual trust and respect creates a cohesive class who can learn together and support each other.

Model what you want to achieve
As company commander, I was the person who had to demonstrate what the values that Dannatt set out meant in practice. In schools, every child has to understand what the school values are and why they are important, and it is here where the teacher needs to lead. I model expected behaviours and then expect the same from the pupils. Many of these behaviours are simple, like speaking clearly, never trying to talk over a class and always being well presented. Others can be more subtle, such as maintaining the learning relationship outside the classroom by engaging with the pupils in the lunch queue, or always maintaining eye contact in every interaction (while acknowledging that this needs to be culturally appropriate).

Courage to hold back
In the military, it is essential that you don’t get wound up. The battlefield needs to be a place of calm thought if you are to be effective. The classroom works in much the same way. The brain reacts in the same way to stress in both environments and a teacher becomes redundant if they allow themselves to get angry. More importantly, a pupil cannot learn if they are angry or stressed, so I have always used every opportunity to de-escalate every emerging situation as quickly as possible.

My military training has been useful here: I always come down to the pupil’s eye level and make sure that they understand what I am saying, usually by getting them to repeat what I have asked them to do. It is crucial that I model the behaviour that I expect from the pupils by speaking calmly, keeping steady eye contact and showing a level of empathy with the stress that they are experiencing.

Accountability extends to the leader
At my school, Great Torrington School, our values are resilience, health, opportunity, responsibility, respect and relationships. I will encourage pupils to demand that I meet the same standards and ask them challenge me when I don’t. Once this happens, I will know that the standards of behaviour that the school expects are hardwired.

The core Army values that I came to teaching with have been reinforced and enhanced by the experienced teachers and mentors that I have encountered in schools. I have seen that the consequences of bad behaviour in both schools and the military are effectively the same: a slip in the cohesion of the team and a reduced ability to complete the task. This suggests that a similar solution might be appropriate and, for me, that has certainly proved to be the case.

James Bunyard is a retired infantry major and a trainee history teacher at Great Torrington School in Devon
How school behaviour could be improved in the military style
 

UORMan

War Hero
Great idea, and well thought out.
Sadly I suspect that teaching at Great Torrington in Devon, is considerably different to an inner city school in London/ Manchester/ Birmingham etc, that has peoples for a vast variety of back-grounds, countries and 1st languages.
 
Aye just build schools that incorporate a few hills."top of the hill and back.....gooooo....don't be last back kiddies"

Don't think mumsnet will be impressed though.
 
Aye just build schools that incorporate a few hills."top of the hill and back.....gooooo....don't be last back kiddies"

Don't think mumsnet will be impressed though.
It pays to be a winner.

Do it nice or do it twice.
 
What happened to the idea about schools being run by ex-squaddies?
There is a school near Eastbourne where the headmaster (as he likes to be called) teaches the kids to explore the countryside around the school,lets them build bonfires,shows them how to fire .410 shotguns,make their own bow and arrows etc etc.Top bloke by the sound of it.
Meet the hunky headmaster who teaches kids to use a shotgun
 
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I've said this before, discipline in army would be hard to transfer into school.
Soldiers can lose their jobs and liberty for not doing as they are told. School kids lose neither.
When an officer has a discipline problem with a subordinate, it would be unusual for him to deal with it by himself, he has WOs, SNCOs, JNCOs, RMP, PTIs etc etc to help deal with it, a teacher is by himself.

Some people tend to make the wrong assumption that because soldiers have to do as they are told that this is leadership that can be transferred elsewhere.
 
I would like to see the Cadet force in all secondary schools. Army cadets in the main, although sea and air cadets where appropriate. These would be run by the MOD after the normal school day as a normal cadet meeting.

I believe it would be popular amongst the young boys. Let’s face it, they would like the idea of shooting a rifle! The cadet forces are popular but not always accessible, but putting them in their own school would largely solve this. Even to the point of allowing pupils to wear their uniform to school if the can’t get home and back to change!

At a stroke it would take them off the streets and give them something more to do. It would enable them to take responsibility and to understand that discipline is something to be positive about. It would also expose more young people to the military life, with a consequent improvement in the quality and quantity of new recruits into the armed forces.

I also believe that giving them something to do that they enjoy will feed into other areas of their lives and may even give them an incentive to improve their general education. For example, if someone discovers a talent within himself or herself for leadership and decides to pursue that as an officer in the army, they can be given advice such as what kind of educational qualifications they require. That may well give them the incentive to work harder in their normal educational studies.

It could also provide a way of enabling young offenders to be exposed to discipline without resorting to criminalising them. If a young boy has been brought before the courts for a crime, the judge could have the option to force them to join the schools cadet force and to meet a reasonable standard. Failure to do so could mean they are brought back before the court and given a more severe punishment. But it will give kids the chance to avoid becoming part of the criminalised juvenile commnunity, which does no-one any good least of all the children.

Of course none of the above is costed, but I have a gut feeling that any costs’ will be recouped by having less youngsters in the criminal justice system, with savings in the NHS from them being fitter, and in the MOD more kids think about a military career.
 
I would like to see the Cadet force in all secondary schools. Army cadets in the main, although sea and air cadets where appropriate. These would be run by the MOD after the normal school day as a normal cadet meeting.

I believe it would be popular amongst the young boys. Let’s face it, they would like the idea of shooting a rifle! The cadet forces are popular but not always accessible, but putting them in their own school would largely solve this. Even to the point of allowing pupils to wear their uniform to school if the can’t get home and back to change!

At a stroke it would take them off the streets and give them something more to do. It would enable them to take responsibility and to understand that discipline is something to be positive about. It would also expose more young people to the military life, with a consequent improvement in the quality and quantity of new recruits into the armed forces.

I also believe that giving them something to do that they enjoy will feed into other areas of their lives and may even give them an incentive to improve their general education. For example, if someone discovers a talent within himself or herself for leadership and decides to pursue that as an officer in the army, they can be given advice such as what kind of educational qualifications they require. That may well give them the incentive to work harder in their normal educational studies.

It could also provide a way of enabling young offenders to be exposed to discipline without resorting to criminalising them. If a young boy has been brought before the courts for a crime, the judge could have the option to force them to join the schools cadet force and to meet a reasonable standard. Failure to do so could mean they are brought back before the court and given a more severe punishment. But it will give kids the chance to avoid becoming part of the criminalised juvenile commnunity, which does no-one any good least of all the children.

Of course none of the above is costed, but I have a gut feeling that any costs’ will be recouped by having less youngsters in the criminal justice system, with savings in the NHS from them being fitter, and in the MOD more kids think about a military career.
The MOD main task is to defend the country not run youth clubs.

As I mentioned before, the discipline applied to children is not the same as discipline applied to adults.

I don't think those kids who bother their arse to join the cadets would be very happy if they had to put up with bellthronks who are forced to go by a judge.
 
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I would like to see the Cadet force in all secondary schools. Army cadets in the main, although sea and air cadets where appropriate. These would be run by the MOD after the normal school day as a normal cadet meeting.

I believe it would be popular amongst the young boys. Let’s face it, they would like the idea of shooting a rifle! The cadet forces are popular but not always accessible, but putting them in their own school would largely solve this. Even to the point of allowing pupils to wear their uniform to school if the can’t get home and back to change!

At a stroke it would take them off the streets and give them something more to do. It would enable them to take responsibility and to understand that discipline is something to be positive about. It would also expose more young people to the military life, with a consequent improvement in the quality and quantity of new recruits into the armed forces.

I also believe that giving them something to do that they enjoy will feed into other areas of their lives and may even give them an incentive to improve their general education. For example, if someone discovers a talent within himself or herself for leadership and decides to pursue that as an officer in the army, they can be given advice such as what kind of educational qualifications they require. That may well give them the incentive to work harder in their normal educational studies.

It could also provide a way of enabling young offenders to be exposed to discipline without resorting to criminalising them. If a young boy has been brought before the courts for a crime, the judge could have the option to force them to join the schools cadet force and to meet a reasonable standard. Failure to do so could mean they are brought back before the court and given a more severe punishment. But it will give kids the chance to avoid becoming part of the criminalised juvenile commnunity, which does no-one any good least of all the children.

Of course none of the above is costed, but I have a gut feeling that any costs’ will be recouped by having less youngsters in the criminal justice system, with savings in the NHS from them being fitter, and in the MOD more kids think about a military career.
Did you ever see the film "If......"

 
I've said this before, discipline in army would be hard to transfer into school.
Soldiers can lose their jobs and liberty for not doing as they are told. School kids lose neither.
When an officer has a discipline problem with a subordinate, it would be unusual for him to deal with it by himself, he has WOs, SNCOs, JNCOs, RMP, PTIs etc etc to help deal with it, a teacher is by himself.
You've obviously only met managers who think they are leaders.

I've never had to pass a discipline problem up or down, and certainly not to a gti. On one occasion the monkeys were involved but there's not much one can do when there is a international angle on a drugs matter.
 
Meanwhile... in Tower Hamlets...

 
You've obviously only met managers who think they are leaders.

I've never had to pass a discipline problem up or down, and certainly not to a gti. On one occasion the monkeys were involved but there's not much one can do when there is a international angle on a drugs matter.
I don't know what rank you are, but generally the SSM/RSM deal with minor discipline matters not officers.
 
More free publicity every time something goes bang!

 
To be honest I am more than a tad concerned that the ex-Maj who wrote the piece was under the impression the values and standards of SOLIDC had been rolled out in answer to some misdemeaner or other in Iraq...

I am pretty sure they were around in the '90s, at least.
 
What happened to the idea about schools being run by ex-squaddies?
There is a school near Eastbourne where the headmaster (as he likes to be called) teaches the kids to explore the countryside around the school,lets them build bonfires,shows them how to fire .410 shotguns,make their own bow and arrows etc etc.Top bloke by the sound of it.
Meet the hunky headmaster who teaches kids to use a shotgun

We had that in Sarf Lunden ..... the teachers were most fecking surprised though
 
Nothing kills kids imagination more than stagnant, sterile classroom teaching.

They'll love building fires and making bows and arrows. And this will improve the time they spend learning 'educational' stuff. Which can also be carried out 'in the field'.

Just talking about the fire triangle, whilst building the fire ticks a number of science boxes.
 
I would like to see the Cadet force in all secondary schools. Army cadets in the main, although sea and air cadets where appropriate. These would be run by the MOD after the normal school day as a normal cadet meeting.

I believe it would be popular amongst the young boys. Let’s face it, they would like the idea of shooting a rifle! The cadet forces are popular but not always accessible, but putting them in their own school would largely solve this. Even to the point of allowing pupils to wear their uniform to school if the can’t get home and back to change!

At a stroke it would take them off the streets and give them something more to do. It would enable them to take responsibility and to understand that discipline is something to be positive about. It would also expose more young people to the military life, with a consequent improvement in the quality and quantity of new recruits into the armed forces.

I also believe that giving them something to do that they enjoy will feed into other areas of their lives and may even give them an incentive to improve their general education. For example, if someone discovers a talent within himself or herself for leadership and decides to pursue that as an officer in the army, they can be given advice such as what kind of educational qualifications they require. That may well give them the incentive to work harder in their normal educational studies.

It could also provide a way of enabling young offenders to be exposed to discipline without resorting to criminalising them. If a young boy has been brought before the courts for a crime, the judge could have the option to force them to join the schools cadet force and to meet a reasonable standard. Failure to do so could mean they are brought back before the court and given a more severe punishment. But it will give kids the chance to avoid becoming part of the criminalised juvenile commnunity, which does no-one any good least of all the children.

Of course none of the above is costed, but I have a gut feeling that any costs’ will be recouped by having less youngsters in the criminal justice system, with savings in the NHS from them being fitter, and in the MOD more kids think about a military career.
That's not going to go down well in Bradford (etc). Train them up before they leg it out of the country...
Back on thread... Military discipline doesn't work in schools because the kids know there's no 'summary justice' out the back, or 'stripey suntan ' to threaten them with. Their parents are frequently ineffectual or downright negative and the government will penalise schools for booting the little darlings out. Kids now have to stay in education until 18 when many of them are just not cut out for academia (half the population is below average intelligence don't forget), but teachers are tasked with getting them target grades set according to their performance in primary school where they can be a year older than their classmates... The sooner kids are allowed to fail and not be subsequently mollycoddled by the state, the sooner they'll pull their fingers out and start making an effort.
That would be my humble opinion of course, ECHR notwithstanding.
 
Little Jonny's mummy is angry, because little Jonny is upset.

Little Jonny is upset because he doesn't want the angry mans stick poked through his ear, nor does he want to be ridden round the playground like a bicycle.

It makes little Jonny sad :-(
 

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