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The “Problem” of Discipline in the Light of Modern – Postmodern Discourse

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Using data from a qualitative study, this article argues that the pedagogical assumptions underlying disciplinary practices require radical revision. The needs of today’s globalized society with the resultant broad interaction and communication among different persons, challenge the pedagogical principles that have prevailed across Europe from the Enlightenment to the end of the 20th century. There are four basic assumptions upon which the disciplinary systems of today’s schools are based and which require rethinking, as follows: the nature of the “rules”, which are defined by the indisputable acceptance of rationalism in everyday life and in all school relationships, the insistence on similarity of behaviour and the tendency to categorize pupils according to common behaviour (the bright ones, the lazy, etc.); discipline based on a system of punishment and reward; attributing “disobedient” behaviour to pupils’ individual characteristics. In contrast, the meta-modern approach highlights the promotion of social and emotional development in a personalized and humanistic world through communicative and interactive action.

Keywords: classroom pedagogy; disciplinary practices; globalized society; postmodern discourse; postmodernism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Cyprus

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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