Despite its absence from my classroom, the notion of ‘punishment’ clearly features heavily in students’ lives.

I asked my new class group if they wanted to clarify anything after my intro.

“Do you give punishments when the homework is started but not finished?”

Paul had clearly been reluctant to ask, but being the least reluctant meant he was the most qualified in the eyes of his peers, so he was cajoled into it.

Over the next few minutes I learned about the punishments they had received in school on a staggered scale of severity for offences such as homework not attempted, homework not completed, copybook not in the room counts as multiple offences, and so on. Instinctively, I knew not to ask if there was a corresponding set of rewards.

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