In Public Schools

from the "outside" looking "in"


Posted by Admin On April - 9 - 2010

Joshapril07Without discipline, there can be no learning. While this statement might sound out of date, it is still true. The ability to maintain classroom discipline is one of the most important assets a teacher can have. Classroom discipline allows every student to learn and excel. It goes beyond the maintenance of an orderly classroom and teaches internal discipline as well. The student with internal discipline will succeed at almost all endeavors.

However, the ability to maintain discipline in the classroom is dramatically thwarted by the rules and regulations faced by teachers today. Simply touching a child on the shoulder has a potential to be misconstrued and leaves the teacher in a position where they must defend their actions.

Teachers can discipline the room and teach at the same time, however, the teacher must establish the discipline in the classroom first for this to occur. Discipline doesn’t necessarily mean abusive punishment. That has no place in the education of the children.

The job of establishing and maintaining classroom discipline is not an easy one. Many students come from homes where the parent is emotionally as immature as the child is. They offer no guidance to their children since they have none of their own.  Other children come to the classroom equipped with the necessary skills to begin the job of learning. They have age appropriate behavior and the ability to focus for the appropriate length of time necessary to absorb the material presented.

Unfortunately, teachers must contend with both styles of children in the same classroom. Without outlining strict codes of behavior expectations and consequence if the students don’t live up to the code, the teacher finds that not only the student with no classroom behavior skills becomes unruly and unmanageable, those that come equipped to learn tend to follow the lead of the unruly.

The quiet, yet effective, use of touch is no longer a viable tool in classrooms across the country.  Many school districts consider the simple touching of a student on the shoulder as a subtle reminder from the teacher to cease bad behavior an inappropriate action.  Keeping children after school is not an option for the teachers nor are many other forms of enforcing the classroom rules.  This leaves the teacher unarmed in their attempt to maintain order.

The problem is no longer whether the teacher should be responsible for maintaining discipline and teaching, the problem is how to maintain discipline with no power.  In an effort to make certain that no child feels emotional pain, teachers still have the ability to set limits but no longer have the tools to enforce the rules.  Without some type of repercussions for bad behavior, there is no incentive for some students to maintain good behavior.

While positive reinforcement is a strong and effective tool for most students, a minority of students do not respond to this type of tool immediately. These children can disrupt the behavior of the entire classroom if there is no alternative solution for the teacher.  Once the control of the classroom leaves the hands of the teacher, it requires massive effort to regain it. During that period, no effective learning takes place.

The teacher is the focus for learning and discipline. Each educator needs to outline the minimum required behavior for the students at the beginning of each year and identify the punishment for breech of the rules, then follow through in a dedicated fashion. The rules must identify specific actions such as no talking while another is speaking without moral lecture on rude behavior.  Through a cooperative effort with the administration, when implemented effectively and strictly, the teacher will have control of the classroom and dedication of time to discipline will be minimal.

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2 Responses to “Discipline”

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  2. Gordon Cade says:

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