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ladyv900's avatar

Why do some teachers punish all the students in the classroom just because of one or few students?

Asked by ladyv900 (713points) October 1st, 2010

I’m not saying all teachers do that but there are some who do this.Like for say if one student or just a few did something wrong, aren’t discipline, recent troublemakers,were lying about something and didn’t want to tell the truth,or anything the teacher found bad to her she would punish all the students(and I don’t mean a physical treament way) by saying they’re going to get homework for the whole holiday or extra homework,won’t let none of them play outside for recess, cancel special activities, etc of whatever she(most usually a she) or he decides to put a frown on the students faces. I remember a lot of this kind of stuff used to happen when I was in elementary school and always asked myself, “why make the other kids suffer for someone else ignorance or wrongdoing”? “Only punish that individual. Not anything serious, thought it was just stupid.

Has this ever happened to you in school or when you use to attend school? What’s your opinion about it?

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18 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

to try and get the other kids to rat out the person that is to blame. (teaching kids to be rats, very moral of them).

the other time, to get everyone to turn against the kid so he gets the crap beat out of him later.

ladyv900's avatar

@poisonedantidote lol, damn. Sounds sooo true.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@poisonedantidote Authority looooves a rat…

woodcutter's avatar

it’s what they do in the military basic training. Was teach a drill sargent?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@ladyv900 more true than you would think, teachers cant hit them, so get other students to do the dirty work for them.

and yea, no this has never happened to me. a few teacher tried, but the culture here is not to rat people out. if anyone did rat, they would be the one in trouble.

ladyv900's avatar

@woodcutter No, most of them were just bitchy though.

Winters's avatar

It’s because they’re communists. and what @poisonedantidote said. But I’d find it hilarious if the teach was a drill sergeant, I’ve had a class taught by a former drill sergeant and I was greatly amused.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

So that all the other students will get mad at the one being a problem and hopefully set him/her straight thats always why I thought they did that anyway.

Kayak8's avatar

It happens similarly in workplace environments, not just elementary school!

snowberry's avatar

I remember that as a very stupid 7th grader, my history teacher was playing history baseball with the class. If you got an answer right, you scored a point. If you got 3 questions in a row right, you scored a home run…(or something like that). Anyway, I thought the teacher was playing favorites with the other side, and I said so. That stopped the fun, and the whole class got an exam instead.

I was not popular that day.

weeveeship's avatar

Sometimes, this is done because the teacher cannot figure out or does not want to figure out who is at fault.

An example:
An argument breaks out during recess. The mess turns into a “he said, she said” with the students accusing each other of starting it. A few might be crying, but it is not clear if they were involved or not. Some teachers would actually try to figure out what happened, but some would just punish everyone because that is easier.

lillycoyote's avatar

If you ever have a teacher who does that, tell him or her that it is a violation of The Fourth Geneva Conventions, Part III, Section 1 prohibition against “collective punishments.” It’s considered a war crime. Well, no, don’t do that, of course, you’ll just get your class into more trouble for being a smart ass and mouthing off to your teacher and your teacher is actually not subject to the Geneva Conventions so it’s not supportable argument. And a classroom is not a war zone even though I think it feels that way to teachers sometimes.

It’s certainly not fair and I am not justifying it but I think there are so many teachers who waste so much of what little time they have to actually teach and educate their students trying to simply maintain order and discipline in the classroom that they just take the easy way out, rather than waste even more time trying to sort out the individuals responsible, their degree of responsibility and the degree to which they should be punished. I think they just hope either that that will be the end of it for a while, if everyone is held responsible, or that the regular troublemakers will be sanctioned by their fellow students.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote Ok, now I want to call many a parent or teacher a war criminal…

lillycoyote's avatar

@papayalily Well, at the very least, the prohibition in the Geneva Conventions would indicate that civilized people consider the idea of punishing many for the crimes of a few to be unfair.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote I would agree. I mean, a person may not be subject to the Geneva Convention, but going against it doesn’t exactly speak to their integrous commitment to fairness, truth, and personal responsibility.

woodcutter's avatar

possibly done to promote team cohesiveness. When a group works together as a team, more progress is always expected. It forces the group to self police and to bring a straggler or someone who is causing problems to get straight with the program, usually using embarrassment of the offender or sometimes yes, even coercion to solve the disruption among themselves. When someone is being looked at as a dork by a crowd of their peers you’d be surprised how well it can work to make the “dork” stop whatever they were doing wrong.
Teachers are way underpaid for the job they do. They aren’t getting any extra money to babysit unruly, emo adolescents with their often stupid crises. So sometimes they choose to delegate their authority to the class to do what they would more than likely be unsuccessful at anyway. It’s only going to get harder as you get into high school and college where the professors don’t give a rats ass if you succeed.You won’t make them look bad trust me. By that time in your lives you are expected to be adults and conduct yourselves accordingly. Students are paying through the nose for that education and if there are any rabble-rousers in class there will be serious consequences to be paid.

john65pennington's avatar

This happened to my daughter. she was not involved in an altercation in one of her classrooms. Instead of punishing the three involved, her teacher decided that everyone should go home and complete 500 writeoffs. after hearing this from my daughter, i decided that she did not have to do the writeoffs and i told her teacher the same. i also told her teacher that if she received a failing grade, simply because of not doing the writeoffs, that i would file a formal complaint against her, to the school board. this may sound harsh, but right is right and wrong is wrong. if my daughter was at-fault, then punish her and not the whole class. after this conversation, only the three involved, were required to complete the writeoffs. why some teachers do this, is beyond me. maybe, its just a power trip they go on.

linguaphile's avatar

I’m a teacher and don’t do collective punishments (I hate punishing!), but once in a while I will do collective scolding- lecturing the whole class about a behavior that’s wrong. There are several reasons—first, I don’t embarrass the kid, but allow the kid to merge into his/her peers while still getting my point across. Second, I always explain the cause and effect of a misbehavior so that kids know it’s not just a bad behavior, but something that causes a negative chain of events- when the entire class receives the ‘lecture,’ it becomes a teaching moment. Also, when I collective-scold, I nip a possible ‘pass-it-on’ problem at the bud.
As for other teachers who collective-punish, what I understand is that it’s easier to collective-punish because not all parents are like John65pennington (I support what he did in that situation!). What usually happens is a parent will hear that everyone else was punished, and drop the issue because nobody was targeted. When a parent feels his/her child was a target, even if the child was wrong, the parent is more likely to go to battle for his/her kid and the teacher will have to go through a series of meetings to defend his/her decision. If the teacher is unfortunate enough to have an administrator that hides behind the teacher, it’s really, really hard. Not right, but in today’s education climate, I can see how it’s easier for some teachers to collective-punish—easier, but not logical. There’s nothing more difficult than dealing with an angry parent- it can exhaust a teacher for months.
I’ve experienced a whole range of angry parent situations—most are really mild and quickly resolved, but the worst one was having a meeting where a parent showed up with a gun.

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