Discipline in education: The birth of community
There is something very one-sided and faulty with the way many people think about discipline in education. Discipline tends to conjure up negative images and connotations. It is thought to be about grinding students down into a state of conformity. It is thought to be about rules and control, reward and punishment, training and examination. However, as Alison the head teacher from Paddington School suggests – discipline in education need not be about grinding students down into a homogenous blob. 1 Instead, it can be about celebrating, encouraging and developing diversity. It can be about promoting community. For me, the defi nitive attribute of community is not based upon: geographic boundaries, nationality, ethnicity, historic, legal and economic ties, or shared religious or cultural values. In today’s increasingly digital world it is possible to form and sustain meaningful bonds with people physically remote from one’s own immediate vicinity and from different cultural contexts. Community membership is thus no longer restricted to actually being permanently located in a specifi c physical place. Nor must one originally have been brought up in the community of which one is, or seeks
to be a member of. With the increased movement of persons today both within and between countries and continents, the boundaries of communities are increasingly more porous and less permanent than in the past. People may enter and leave a number of different communities over the course of their lives as they seek further educational qualifi cations or work opportunities.