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Strict classroom discipline improves student outcome and work ethic

Research suggests Western classrooms should adopt the stricter discipline approach paying dividends in Eastern Hemisphere education

Bingley, United Kingdom, 17 November 2016 - A study suggests that its strong academic results mean Asia is challenging the West in terms of economic performance - because its educational institutions pass on a strong work ethic through strict discipline and a focus on performance that students then take into their working lives.

The findings - led by Chris Baumann, associate professor in Business at Macquarie University -  provides new evidence that strict discipline and a focus on performance, specifically academic performance, contribute to work ethic in Asian countries.

The study argues that strict pedagogical approaches contribute to the formation of work ethic that in turn impact a country’s workforce – and, ultimately, economic competiveness and development. With Asian students and economies outperforming their Western counterparts, the findings of the study raise important questions for Western education policymakers, both at school and higher education levels.

Asian classrooms tend to impose clear and enforced classroom rules, a focus on manners, punctuality, respect for teaching staff, consequences for poor performance or incomplete homework and an enforced dress code. Western education, on the other hand, is less concerned with formalities, respect for teachers and collective discipline, instead focusing on the individual child.

Professor Baumann said: “The likely outlook is that Western countries may aspire to a balanced pedagogic approach to education, where the playful elements remain. But discipline might be tightened up, since the successes in Asia suggest strict discipline and a focus on academic performance 'pay off'.”

The findings appear in the academic research paper 'School discipline, school uniforms and academic performance', published in the International Journal of Educational Management.

Published by Emerald Group Publishing, the International Journal of Educational Management (IJEM) provides those interested in the effective management of the educational process with a broad overview of developments and best practice in the field, with particular reference to how new ideas can be applied worldwide. 

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