GUIDE TO SCHOOL DISCIPLINE
Updated August 12th, 2005
Dean of Students
Morton East High School
Cicero, IL 60804
It is clear that teachers who utilize a myriad of classroom strategies will be able to stimulate students and be successful in the classroom.This tutorial will provide teachers with a number of research driven strategies and practical ideas to institute an environment conducive to learning.It will provide educational leaders a framework to build a successful organization.
Follow up information will be given to invite further investigation and feedback.
The information presented within this document has an online counterpart.It exists as a tutorial (Karadimos, 2005), which may be a more convenient medium for some viewers.
II. Various Strategies
It is clear that students at the high school level need to have their behavior corrected so that behaviors will align with the teacher’s objectives.These corrections will require a number of preventive steps and timely interventions as the moment presents itself.
Research informs us there are a multitude of discipline strategies to use as a teacher.Cotton (2001) reports seven discipline strategies with their abbreviations.
- Reality Therapy (RT). William Glasser’s Reality Therapy involves teachers helping students make positive choices by making clear the connection between student behavior and consequences. Class meetings, clearly communicated rules, and the use of plans and contracts are featured. Researchers (Emmer and Aussiker, Gottfredson, Hyman and Lally) have noted modest improvements as the result of this approach.
- A Positive Approach to Discipline (PAD). PAD is based on Glasser’s Reality Therapy and is grounded in teachers’ respect for students and instilling in them a sense of responsibility. Program components include developing and sharing clear rules, providing daily opportunities for success, and in-school suspension for noncompliant students. Research (e.g., Allen) is generally supportive of the PAD program.
- Teacher Effectiveness Training (TET). The TET philosophy differentiates between teacher-owned and student-owned problems and proposes different strategies for dealing with them. Students are taught problem-solving and negotiation techniques. Researchers (e.g., Emmer and Aussiker) find that teachers like the program and that their behavior is influenced by it, but effects on student behavior are unclear.
- Transactional Analysis (TA). Within the context of counseling programs, students with behavior problems use terminology and exercises from Transactional Analysis to identify issues and make changes. The notion that each person’s psyche includes child, adult, and parent components is basic to the TA philosophy. Such research as has been conducted (e.g., Cobb and Richards) has found the TA counseling approach beneficial.
- Assertive Discipline (AD). First publicized and marketed in 1976 by developer Lee Canter, Assertive Discipline is a well-respected and widely used program. According to Render, Padilla, and Krank, over half a million teachers have received AD training (1989). AD focuses on the right of the teacher to define and enforce standards for student behavior. Clear expectations, rules, and a penalty system with increasingly serious sanctions are major features. Some research (e.g., Mandlebaum and McCormack) is supportive, but most is inconclusive about the effectiveness of the AD approach (Emmer and Aussiker, Gottfredson, and Render, Padilla, and Krank).
- Adlerian approaches. Named for psychiatrist Alfred Adler, “Adlerian approaches” is an umbrella term for a variety of methods which emphasize understanding the individual’s reasons for maladaptive behavior and helping misbehaving students to alter their behavior, while at the same time finding ways to get their needs met. These approaches have shown some positive effects on self-concept, attitudes, and locus of control, but effects on behavior are inconclusive (Emmer and Aussiker).
- Student Team Learning (STL). Student Team Learning is a cooperative learning structure and, as such, is an instructional rather than a disciplinary strategy. Its use, however, appears to have a positive effect upon the incidence of classroom misbehavior (Gottfredson).
Choosing a strategy at any particular moment may depend on a myriad of factors.Those factors include: instructor’s awareness of discipline strategies, instructor’s mastery of styles, instructor’s teaching style, the student population being served, and the overall learning environment.Learning about styles will make a teacher more flexible and able to handle a broader population of students.
III. Laying a Foundation
Even though there are a number of strategies to choose from, each having a list of benefits and disadvantages, there are a number of broad ideas that cut across many of the strategies outlined above.Steffens (1995) and Yorba Middle School (n.d.) have elements that inform instructors to:
- Have a short, clear, and reasonable set of classroom rules for students to follow.
- Focus on positive events.
- Be a role-model for students by acting the way you want them to act.
- Maintain student involvement from beginning of class to end of class.
- Manage conflicts calmly.
- Send a student to someone else only after exhausting all possible strategies.
IV. Preventive Practices
Cotton (2001) suggests a number of strategies for creating a well-disciplined school.The following preventive measures are key elements of schools that exercise preventive practices and are well-disciplined.
- The entire staff must be committed to exercising an intolerance of conditions that inhibit learning.
- Communicate high expectations for appropriate student behavior.
- Clearly state rules that are developed as a result of input from all participants within a school, including staff, students, and administrators.
- Create a warm environment where educators take an active interest in the personal goals, achievements and problems of students.
- School leaders are visible, accessible, and supportive.
- Teachers are expected to handle routine discipline problems.Help from the principal is provided in the form of staff development and assistance for critical situations.
- Form partnerships with the community.
V. Advanced Strategy
There are some teachers who are too willing to send a student to an administrator, like a dean, when handling a student at an early stage of a student-teacher conflict.The scenario is one when a teacher has a certain objective in mind and a student inhibits progress toward the objective.
The problem with sending a student prematurely to an outsider to settle a situation is it sends a clear message to all students.The message is the teacher cannot handle the student.A much more powerful position would be a teacher handling all student behaviors, consequently sending a much more commanding message of classroom management to students.
The tools for dealing with this level of management involve patience, a desire to cultivate students, and a specialized document or two.The cultivation of students rests in a fundamental belief that students are in the process of development and the process requires time and understanding from adults who can help students (reflect on Cotton’s points 2, 5, and 6).The process stems from this belief and becomes concrete through dialogue and structure.
The thrust of the structure comes from consistency, but the process is accented with paperwork for difficult cases.A student who does not succumb to routine discipline strategies will require a greater deal of formality to include individualized discussion and a special document.
A document, called a Behavior Identification & Adjustment sheet can be helpful for instituting such a philosophy because it includes a number of elements key to long-term results.It includes sections such as: a student accepting that a problem exists, fleshing out the specific nature of the problem, a strategy for improvement, and an agreement between the student and the teacher.
Prosocial Skills Training
It is imperative a student understands a problem exists and that he or she can solve it, albeit with guidance from a teacher.Done successfully, the student achieves an ability to recognize future problems, develop strategies for dealing with the problem and then placing a strategy for improvement in to motion.To use educational jargon, it facilitates metacognition and a lifelong framework for handling conflict through basic problem identifying and solving strategies. Cotton (2001) calls it prosocial skills training.
It is not necessary to exclusively use the Behavior Identification & Adjustment sheet, but any strategy helping a student travel from problem realization to problem solution, involving teacher guidance if necessary, will be crucial for handling a problematic student.It may seem like extra work to handle a student in this fashion, but the long-standing gains for a particular classroom of students and the benefits from positive teacher perception by students in the entire community will be incredibly strong and positive.
Standards are being raised at every educational level to include mandates from the federal government, state governments, regional offices, and local schools. It is imperative that schools translate this increase in standards to teachers in the form of improved teaching practices. This includes productive discipline methodologies, which enables teachers to focus on curricula.
Over the course of a career, teachers must become proficient with discipline strategies to further their craft and assist in the development of the students they encounter. As reported by The American Federation of Teachers (AFT, n.d.), furthering discipline is a community event. One can also argue the AFT’s concept of discipline ties in closely with it’s views of raising educational standards.
This tutorial exists to help teachers broaden their repertoire of discipline strategies. It will also allow teachers to revisit these strategies as the need arises. Ideas, new research, and specialized forms that are centered on discipline strategies will be eagerly received. Simply use the link at the top of this page to contact the author of this tutorial.
The resources below were present throughout this tutorial.Below the initial list is another list of sites that appear to offer further helpful information on the topic of school discipline.
AFT. (n.d.) Tips for Student Discipline. Retrieved on August 7th, 2005 at: http://www.aft.org/topics/discipline/downloads/tips.pdf
Cotton, K. (2001) Schoolwide and Classroom Discipline. Retrieved on June 8th, 2005 at: http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/5/cu9.html
ITAA (n.d.) A Summary of Transactional Analysis Key Ideas. Retrieved on August 12th, 2005 at: http://www.itaa-net.org/ta/keyideas.htm
Karadimos, M. (2003) Behavior Identification & Adjustment. Word Document accessible at: http://www.mathguide.com/services/Discipline/BehaviorIDA.doc
Karadimos, M. (2005) Guide to School Discipline. Online tutorial accessible at: http://www.mathguide.com/services/Discipline/
McIntyre, T. (2005) Assertive Discipline. Retrieved on August 12th, 2005 at: http://maxweber.hunter.cuny.edu/pub/eres/EDSPC715_MCINTYRE/AssertiveDiscipline.html
Steffins, P. (1995) Positive Approach to Discipline. Retrieved on June 8th, 2005 at: http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/family/g1190.htm
William Glasser Institute (2005) Counseling With Choice Theory: The New Reality Therapy . Retrieved on August 12th, 2005 at: http://www.wglasser.com/thenew.htm
WikEd (2005) Teacher Effectiveness Training. Retrieved on August 12th, 2005 at: http://moodle.ed.uiuc.edu/wiked/index.php/Teacher_Effectiveness_Training
Yorba Middle School (n.d.) Preventive Discipline/Management. Retrieved on June 8th, 2005 at: http://www.orangeusd.k12.ca.us/yorba/discipline_research.htm
Churchward, B. (2003) 11 Techniques for Better Classroom Discipline. Retrieved on June 8th, 2005 at: http://www.honorlevel.com/techniques.xml
The Master Teacher (2002) Discipline Help: You Can Handle Them All. Retrieved on June 8th, 2005 at: http://www.disciplinehelp.com/
McGraw-Hills. (n.d.) Classroom Rules Sample and Suggestion. Retrieved on June 8th, 2005 at: http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/downloads/pdf/classroom_rules_example_guidleines.pdf
Wiggins, D. (n.d.) Classroom Management Plan. Retrieved on June 8th, 2005 at: http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~dwiggins/plan.html