Classroom Management and Discipline
Classroom discipline varies by teacher. Some forms of discipline are more serious than others and some are not as effective as they may seem. Teachers need to be aware of this when taking action in the classroom. Developing your classroom and discipline plans is an important part of preparation for the upcoming school year. Meeting with other teachers and staff to discuss what has worked for them, as well as what has not, is a great way to ensure you're using the best methods of classroom management.
Assigned seating is an easy and immediate way to start off classroom structure and expectations. Unless you are familiar with all of your news students already, you'll need to give a day or so to learn each child's classroom habits. Chatty kids can be separated. Those who require redirection often can be placed near the front. Any children who need to stand up more often can be seated toward the back of the room.
A teacher could leave assigned seats for the whole school year or perhaps make it open seating during the second half of the year. This does give more control back to the students so it's important to be careful with this and it's best to this when the teacher has been able to recognize their students' work ethic. Open seating can be used as a goal that can be earned with excellent behavior.
This form of classroom management requires constant attention. Watching for changes over the course of the year and making sure that every student's needs are met are a top priority when rearranging seating.
The group tables vs individual desks discussion resonates with experienced and new teachers alike. Remember, what is good for one group, may not be best for another. Tables can open up more of a community feel but also invite more conversation during lessons and testing. Desks are great for individual student organization, but take up a lot of room and don't promote sharing as well.
Detention is a form of discipline where the student is required to stay at a specific place in school for a certain amount of time outside of school hours. Typically, detention is after school but can also be in the morning before school, during lunch or even on a Saturday.
Instead of going home at the end of the day, the student reports to a designated classroom where he or she must sit in a desk for a predetermined time, ranging from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours, and sit in silence while working on an assignment.
- Is it effective?
Students who typically misbehave and are frequently being referred to the office tend to find their way in detention a lot. A study done by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that students who keep going to detention do not see improvement in behavior.
This may be because they don't see detention as a form of discipline anymore but instead as a routine and that becomes the norm for them. For these students, it's important to consider another form of discipline.
However, studies show that detention can be an effective form of discipline to those students that rarely misbehave or cause trouble. Since these students are not used to being disciplined by staying after hours, it'll have more of an effect on these students instead of the students who grow accustomed.
When the most extreme of discipline, expulsion, is not warranted, but detention has not worked, some schools will impose an in or out of school suspension. Suspension is when a student is not allowed to go to school and remain at home for a certain number of days. This is another common form of discipline and is more serious than detention.
- Is it effective?
A Texas study titled, Breaking Schools' Rules, tracked all seventh-graders in Texas for six years (1 million). This study found that 60 percent of those students were suspended or expelled at least once between seventh and 12th grade. This number has increased over the years and more student suspensions mean other forms of discipline should be considered.
When a student is suspended, they are being removed from the current issue at school but at the same time they are losing class days. When the student returns, they could be behind in classwork and possibly even continue to disrupt the classroom.
Suspending someone who is constantly jeopardizing the classroom and breaking the rules can be the right thing to do, but how the teacher deals with it afterwards is just as important.
In-school suspension may be a better route because this way the student is still in class and can be working on classwork while being removed from the situation/problem.
The relationship a teacher builds with parents plays an important part in the classroom. The teacher makes sure the student is on top of their work while in class and the parents can make sure the student is on top of their work at home. It's crucial that a teacher builds a relationship with parents early in the school year. This way they are aware of the teacher's policies and how they tend to run the classroom.
This is important because the teacher doesn't want the first conversion with a student's parent to be about how their child is frequently interrupting class. If the relationship is already there, there is more trust and the conversations tend to be more open and productive.
- It is effective?
When a situation becomes serious enough for the teacher or principal to get the parents directly involved, the hope is that a child realizes how their actions affect everyone on a much larger scale. Not all discipline can be handled inside of the school. There are many times when it will become necessary to get parents involved to ensure that such behavior does not continue, and a student's parents should be kept in the loop for all major issues. This can be effective for students who have a healthy relationship with their parents because the parents will take the necessary action at home.
Disciplinary actions taken on a larger scale should be a team effort from both the school and parents. Relying only on regularly scheduled conferences leaves too much time for poor behavior choices to become habit instead of corrected.
Children require structure and support to flourish. Some teachers have found that greeting each child, individually, every morning establishes mutually beneficial respect and an environment of consistency. Some classes function better with a little less structure and can utilize an open seating and honor system for bathroom visits. Do what's best for you and your class while following guidelines of your school and discussing with other education professionals who can offer tips and best practices, especially if you are a first time teacher or new to a school or district.
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