Novel Classroom Discipline Approach: Spoil the Plot of ‘Game of Thrones’

By Ross Brenneman — March 30, 2014 1 min read
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Some might consider this cruel and unusual punishment, but a teacher in Belgium reportedly discovered one quick way to get his class to settle down: By ruining the plot of a beloved TV series.

The story has been making the rounds online, although it’s hard to verify: According to French chat board DansTonChat, in a thread picked up by Belgian outlet Nieuwsblad, it all started with a professor at a Belgian university wanting his students to quiet down. When they refused to do so, he asked who watched the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones,” considered by some longtime TV watchers (ahem) to be one of the best shows ever.

The professor then noted that he had read all the books, and that if students didn’t simmer down, he’d start writing out on the classroom board the names of all the characters that die. (This would be just in time for Season Four, which premieres Sunday, April 6). Apparently, according to the anonymous commenter, that did the trick, and the class quieted down.

While this example comes from higher education, I kind of wonder what would happen at K-12 levels. Can you get away with teasing your class about which Divergent characters don’t make it all the way? About who gets blown up at the end of Mockingjay? About which Pretty Little Liar is actually the lyingest little liar? Or maybe there are some mature high schoolers who would feel just as threatened by spoilers for “Game of Thrones” as their older Belgian counterparts, I don’t know. The possibilities are endless, unlike the characters.

If any of you teachers end up experimenting with this, let us know how it works. (But don’t blame us for the idea when the complaints start rolling in.) Bonus points if a student tells you that your classroom is dark, and full of terrors.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.