November 14, 2011 Kerala Taylor

"No recess for you!" – A good way to punish bad behavior?

How to get bad students to behave? Threaten to deny something they like. Kids like recess. Therefore, the "bad kids" will learn their lesson if they are forced to stay indoors, while the "good kids" get to venture outside and play.

At first glance, the logic seems sound. But while taking recess away seems to be an increasingly popular disciplinary measure in the classroom, is it really effective? Research shows that kids who get a chance to run around and let off some steam during the day actually behave better in the classroom. Not only are they more focused, but their brains are more receptive to learning.

In fact, it’s all too likely that the rise in ADHD and other attention disorders is related to the decline in outdoor play opportunities for children—in schools, neighborhoods, and homes.

This is not to say that bad classroom behavior should go unaddressed, but denying kids recess is unlikely to have the desired effect. In fact, it’s those rowdy, uncontrollable kids who need recess the most.

Have your kids been denied recess because they misbehaved in the classroom? Do you think taking away recess is an effective disciplinary technique?

playful learning, the buzz in play, classroom, behavior, recess, education, elementary school