How disciplining differences reinforce inequality in early education

Teachers’ varying approaches to behavior management for students from particular racial, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds (i.e., low-SES girls and middle-class black boys) contributes to children’s hierarchical identity groups within preschool classrooms.
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Nature and Context

Examination of young children’s experiences of school discipline inequalities, which includes the variety of behavior management approaches (i.e., punitive discipline and positive discipline) that preschool teachers differentially use in response to students’ behavior (e.g., noncompliance) can reveal how such behavior can sometimes cause more problems then solve them. School-level disciplinary practices/cultures (e.g., positive discipline rather than punitive discipline) can help to alleviate disciplinary inequalities apparent in some preschool classrooms. Additionally, preschool teachers’ differential approaches to behavior management affect some marginalized students’ experiences of discipline inequalities as early as preschool.

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