Classroom Discipline Tips
Apr 16, 2010 Classroom Management 2812 Views
We all grew up with our parents, friends and mentors teaching us through the use of phrases, sayings and colloquialisms that seemed to fit perfectly to the subject at hand. But those sayings can be adapted to lots of situations that we face in the classroom, including the topic of classroom discipline. I have used them in my classrooms over the years and they have helped me through some tough times. I hope they will help you also!
Do unto others... Good classroom discipline has to be fair. Make sure that the punishment fits the crime and it is something you would accept graciously if you were the person receiving the punishment. If it is something that you wouldn't be comfortable with, why do you think your students will accept it? And please be consistent. It is impossible to maintain good classroom discipline if you only enforce the rules sometimes. Your students won't know how to behave if you aren't consistent.
KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid! Make it easy for your students to understand what is expected of them and make it doubly easy for them to understand what the consequences are if they don't do what you want. The easiest way to make all this happen is to have the children help you make up the rules and consequences. You should even consider using their language and idioms. This gives them ownership of the rules and ensures they know what is being asked.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Everybody gets the SAME rules! Boys or girls, classroom saint or classroom sinner, they all get the same punishment for the same infraction. Even more importantly, everyone gets the same reward for doing good work and behaving properly. Also, make sure you don't play favorites. It is so easy to prefer the girls over the boys (or vice versa). But favoritism only leads to further trouble down the road. Any form of favoritism, no matter how slight, will be noticed by someone and it will lead to resentment and trouble.
Praise in public; punish in private. It is ALWAYS best to praise your students publicly. Particularly, do your best to praise troublemakers in public. Oftentimes a little praise is all that is needed to turn a troublemaker into a model student. On the other hand, do what you can not to confront a student in front of his or her peer group. Trying to "Make an Example" of a troublemaker very frequently will get you in trouble when the confrontation escalates and it doesn't go the way you thought it would. So, the best thing to do is to ask the student to step outside or wait after class for you to discuss the issue.
Laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes it is so easy to go head to head with a student...especially in upper grades. It is those times that slight issues can turn into real conflicts. Those are the confrontations that a teacher always wishes didn't happen. So be on the watch for those times and do your best to defray escalation with some humor.
Problems don't fix themselves. Seemingly small disciplinary problems will almost always grow if they aren't taken care of immediately. Don't assume that things will work themselves out!
The best defense is a good offense. It is always best to start out the school year by being a "meany". If you get a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian, that will just make it easier on you. And, you can always lighten up as the students settle down into their daily routine. Remember, it is always easier to relax the rules than it is to tighten them after the students have formed bad habits.
Idle hands are a devil's workshop. Ever wonder why a substitute teacher has more disciplinary problems than the regular teacher? It's because the substitute frequently doesn't have enough lesson plans prepared to keep the students fully occupied. It is when they have free time that disciplinary problems erupt. So, whatever you do, make sure that you have enough activities available to keep your students active at all times.
Expect the best, prepare for the worst. If you have all the rules in the right place and your students understand the rules and the consequences, you're half way home. Now you can relax a little and let your students live up to your expectations. And make sure your expectations are the highest. The only way that students will excel is if their teacher EXPECTS they will excel and they are ready and willing to live up to the teacher's expectations.
Finally, a little understanding goes a long way. Understand that each of your students is an individual and will act and react slightly differently to various rules and regulations. So what works for one student may not work for the next one. Get to understand them and you will soon find that everyone learns differently and pretty soon you will have your classroom humming right along and learning to their fullest potential.