Don’t Just Say No

One more example of how schools banning something adults feel is bad for kids has little or no effect on their behavior.

A new study suggests that cutting sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks from school cafeteria menus will have little effect on teens’ overall consumption of the beverages.

Because these drinks are believed to be a major contributor to increasing rates of childhood obesity in the United States, many schools across the nation are banning them or curbing their availability to students.

The fact that students couldn’t get sugared drinks at school didn’t mean they drank less of it. It just means they drank it somewhere else or brought it with them.

Which comes back to a basic point of education…

Simply banning something rarely changes a person’s behavior, unless it’s to make many of them want the banned substance even more.

Helping them understand why that behavior is harmful and which alternatives are better, while not perfect, still works much better.

I know… I’m naive. :-)

The Random Stranger Factor of Child Behavior

Have you ever heard a teacher offer their observations of how bad student behavior has become? How their kids are more unruly this year than in the past?

They’re wrong.

At least in Great Britain they are, where, according to a new long term study, elementary school students “are better behaved within the classroom than in the 1970s”.

The current study claims that pupils are now better behaved than at any time since the 1970s, with the acceleration in the improvement beginning in the mid-1980s and continuing for the subsequent two decades.

The research – A Mass Observation Study of Student and Teacher Behaviour in British Primary Classrooms – was based on the proportion of pupils who were “on-task” (following the teacher’s directions) or “off-task” (not following the teacher’s directions).

“Primary school students have never before been observed to be so well behaved,” concludes Mr Apter, in a study presented to a psychology conference in Glasgow.

Very nice.

Now I’m not a research psychologist, but I wonder if they accounted for all the variables in conducting this study.

My observation was that my students were almost always much better behaved when a stranger with a clipboard was standing in the back of the room. :-)