Monday, October 4, 2010

A Word About Discipline

Discipline problems are rare and infrequent in classrooms and schools that serve all children well. If there are a number of discipline problems it is time for adults to see it as a problem with the system, not a student problem. A discipline problem is evidence that something isn't working. In other words, the cause for the behavior--not the symptom-- must be what is addressed.

When a child does misbehave the focus should be on what is creating the problem rather trying to find the best punishment. After all, punishment doesn't work! And because the motivation for a misbehavior is different for each child, the response must be equitable and fair rather than equal.

When a student is being disciplined--separated from other students in the classroom, sent to the principal, or suspended--learning is not taking place for that student. This will obviously have an effect on the student's academic achievement.

Proactive disciplinarians establish strong and powerfully reinforced expectations of appropriate conduct. When teachers combine this with interesting learning activities and caring relationships with each students, they won't have to waste learning time disciplining. Therefore, teachers will ask "How can I involve them?" rather than "How can I control them?"

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