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Commercial Education Society of Australia

Hugh Twaddle

Hugh was born and raised in Mildura, Victoria, where he attended primary and secondary school before studying at Flinders University in South Australia. Later Hugh studied at Burwood State College (Vic), SA Institute of Technology (now University of SA) and CQUniversity.

Hugh’s passion for education and learning has been a major element in his life as he progressed from a class teacher, through a variety of school and regional teaching roles to an Inspectorate Country Relieving Teacher, a specialist teacher in Literacy, Music, Behaviour, to Senior Teacher, Head Teacher and Principal. He has worked in three state education systems—SA, Victoria and NSW.

In addition to his educational background, Hugh has run his own companies, and worked in both Private and Government sectors at senior levels.

Writing and music have played a major part in Hugh’s life and he is a widely recognised composer and lyricist having written and published more than 400 songs, skits and plays. He has also written children’s short stories and, professionally, has written and co-written many VET and other educational courses and syllabus.

Hugh is an accomplished presenter, facilitator, trainer and teacher who has also musically directed and produced musical theatre.

A Non-coercive Approach to Self-discipline
Hugh Twaddle

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

— Socrates [Goodreads.com (2012)]

Socrates wrote those few words between 469BC and 399BC — yet when you reflect on what he said, there are many generations these words could apply.

Over time and generations, our society has changed and traditional approaches to managing discipline (and for teachers in particular, classroom behaviour) are no longer working with many of today’s youth.

If we pause to reflect a moment on some of the changes to society’s values since your grandparents lived, we start to build a long list. For the benefit of this CESA article, following is a brief but important few. Important because as time has progressed our society and its values have become far more encompassing and diverse. Australia is currently labelled a ‘multi-cultural society’ where the values and traditions of all the diverse communities that make up Australia as a nation are equally respected alongside our Anglo-Saxon and European beliefs.

To see how values have changed try this small exercise. Speak with a person who supports a different football code than you and try to convince them which one is the best (no physical violence should be used in your challenge). After a few minutes who has changed their mind, and, if so, why; if not, why not? Today many go by the value of WIIFM (what’s in it for me). Our opinions do not change unless we can see a benefit for ourselves.

Power and control in today’s society has ceased to work as a form of discipline. Today Respect has to be earned and be mutual for it to be effective. It needs to be demonstrated by all, and between all, members of a community, including school communities. That respect needs to reflect our own standards and values as well as those of the broader community.

In our schools Respect is related to classroom and playground management as well as discipline.

Classroom management is the procedural things that teachers and students do and these are often reinforced through routine and a set of expectations. When procedures are learned, routines are established and these give rise to instruction. Procedures always precede content and it is essential that they must be taught first in steps such as:

The procedures and instructions are kept clear, concise and are easily understood, catering for all students learning needs.

Discipline deals with how people behave and it is as much about impulse control as it is about self-control. Good classroom management is essential for efficient teaching and learning for without it, learning is inefficient and the atmosphere is filled with stress and often outbursts.

A pro-active discipline and welfare policy fulfils an essential step in establishing a learning climate which promotes good and effective quality teaching and learning. Reflective questioning is a powerful tool for teachers as well as students and it passes ownership and responsibility of behaviour to the individual. Every person is in charge of their own behaviour and must take responsibility for their actions and decisions, both good and bad, as well as accepting the consequences.

Every learning setting sets out clear expectations that reflect the key value of our society, education authority, and also the learning institution itself. It is most effective when all work together in harmony with one goal — Respect.

Planning how this is enacted is one thing but actually doing it requires a pathway. These are my suggestions.

Hugh Twaddle

© Copyright CESA November 2012