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PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING

Imposing Discipline in the Classroom

“Self-discipline connotes internal motivation for one’s behavior, the internalization of domestic ideals and is most evident when external regulations of behavior are absent.” – George Bear

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Discipline is controlled behavior. It constitutes the next important concern of teachers as part of good management. No matter how well-managed a learning environment is, students will occasionally misbehave. Teachers must be ready to deal with them with utmost care and consideration.

Some Causes of Disciplinary Problems

Here are some causes of disciplinary problems and preventive measures that may help in ensuring good discipline.

1. Unfavorable learning conditions.

Some of the most common causes of classroom problems point prominently to unfavorable learning conditions that impinge on the learners’ abilities needs and interests.

Following are some classroom situations that must be closely analyzed if the objective is to conduct daily lessons successfully with the least disruptions due to improper students’ responses and reactions. The classroom may not be conducive to learning if it is:

  • overcrowded with more than the regular number of students to a class. This results in’ immobility or discomfort in moving around, especially when there is a need to operate instructional equipment and materials.
  • with poor lighting facilities and inadequate ventilation. Attention and interest will be difficult to sustain.
  • with furniture and storage cabinets disorderly positioned, making the collection and retrieval of tools less efficient.
  • with inappropriate seating arrangement such that distractions can easily occur
  • near sources of noise that obstruct understanding of the lesson.

2. Teacher’s poor management skills.

The teachers’ lack of adequate knowledge and skills in handling occurrences of misbehavior likewise contribute to a trouble-prone. setting. The teachers’ ability to meet discipline-challenging situations can spell the difference between a good or distressed classroom control. So much depend on their: a) knowledge, and skill in employing a wide range of classroom strategies and procedures, and b) personal and emotional attributes.

3. Students’ varied backgrounds.

The students bring to the classroom a surprising record of individual attitudes, interests and abilities. Said characteristics could be traced from their differences in: a) family background, b) physical and mental capacities, and c) emotional traits among others. Students bred in families with different socio-economic backgrounds may exhibit characteristics that are different from the rest. Disciplinary measures practice in different homes may cause unfavorable consequences as they relate with one another.

With varied abilities they may greatly differ in expressing self-control, patience and temper when challenged. Some may have special interests that must be attended to. Others may have problems that would need immediate solution. Their relationships with one an-other can bring about either positive or negative interactions as they study and work together, hence it would be best that they know each other well for a warm climate in the classroom.

Depending on the subject matter and the students’ abilities and interests, the teaching strategies will essentially be varied from time to time. There is not one strategy that can work well for all kinds of lesson objectives. Sad to say, some teachers present, discuss, and conclude their daily lessons through a routine teacher-dominated question-and-answer methodology with the least intention of trying new and interesting student-centered learning procedures. As expected, since they are not looking forward to another way of learning which might be more exciting and challenging, some impatient provocateurs find the chance to incite “own learning actions,” which are often branded as misbehavior.

The teachers’ way of dealing with the students may be wanting in developing a congenial and harmonious relationship, one that is brought about by a pleasing and gracious attitude. Some possess distinctive temperaments that can either attract or distract students’ attention and can lead to truce or miscontrol of behavior.

Teachers’ personality and appearance are often obscured by per-sonal problems coupled with so many tasks to attend to. Instead, some become so stiff, unattractive and unapproachable such that students feel repulsed, with no one to turn to.

How to Prevent Discipline Problems

Seasoned teachers have learned how to prevent discipline problems. They have accepted from varied experiences that no matter how hard they try, somehow a case of misbehaving may occur. The good reminder they share to others is, “You must know .how to anticipate trouble so that minor skirmishes may not erupt to full-fledged battles.”The following are some proven effective measures:

  • Depending on the students’ abilities and interests, teachers can implement group-oriented methodologies such as: 1) cooperative learning approach, 2) team learning, 3) peer tutoring, and 4) group projects and collections. Such strategies promote strong cooperation and shared group responsibility in all classroom undertakings, thus eliminating sources of potential problems. Involving them in planning learning tasks ensure active involvement and participation rather than passive attention as in routine activities.
  • Teachers who are sensitive to possible misdirection of efforts and interactions are fast to switch from one technique to another as the need arises. There must be clear understanding of the objectives of the lesson and the strategies to be used. Any misstep in the procedure will then be avoided. But if the continuous flow of the activity is hampered by an uncontrolled action, then the ability of the teacher to shift to an alternate activity will be necessary.
  • Of prime Importance are the teachers’ personal attributes such as: 1) patience, 2) compassion, 3) concern and caring attitude, and 4) respect and trust for others. A calm and com-posed reaction in the midst of an untoward behavior can en-sure an acceptable solution for all. A compassionate teacher understands and feels sympathetic towards students’ struggles and sufferings. A deep concern for their welfare and growth is easily appreciated.

To prevent discipline problems:

  • employ more group-oriented methodologies
  • use varied teaching techniques
  • develop patience, compassion, genuine respect, and care for your students
  • The teachers’ personalities are their surest “arms” that can either win or fail amidst a controllable learning situation. A warm, respectable relationship with students through sincere and straightforward communications can demonstrate trust and credibility. Unpretentious gestures and genuine modes of receiving students’ explanations bring about much-needed peace of mind. Recognize and appreciate their progress and improvement. A caring attitude can be modeled and the students will feel confident, secure and upright in return. They are truly perceptive if you really care and want to help them. Avoid showing unusual closeness or favoritism,’ and biased treatment for some. Treat them all equally well
  • The teachers’ teaching style will determine how the students will respond, at times receptive, sometimes withdrawn. This points to the way they move around during the class activity, how they give orders in the form of requests and how the procedures are clearly explained. Involving everyone from the planning to the implementing of the lesson results in well-coordinated investigations and disCussions of findings, thus leaving no one in drawing correct conclusions. The use of appropriate assessment tools and evaluation techniques will show ‘a final achievement of learning objectives.

Various Modes of Establishing Discipline/Classroom Control

Discipline occupies the center stage in all learning activities. A classroom where good discipline prevails is most conducive to purposeful activities. On the other hand, improper behavior distracts attention and disrupts procedures being undertaken.

Because of the important role that students’ behavior plays in achieving learning objectives every school sets its own policies regarding the maintenance of appropriate discipline. Said policies would depend upon the concept of discipline they believe in and the extent of the responsibilities willingly accepted by all. Schools differ in how they achieve and maintain good discipline. Following are some common practices.

  1. Discipline is the students’ responsibility. The students participate in formulating rules for their own behavior and they are expected to observe them. If they misbehave; the teacher accepts no excuses. They must be ready for the consequences,
  2. Discipline is the teachers’ way of establishing a desirable student-oriented environment for learning. Teams of learner work and study together for a common goal, thus lessening the occurrence of discipline problems. The feeling of belonging and strength in their union prevails.
  3. Discipline is coupled with effective teaching strategies and techniques. A well-planned learning activity will go on smoothly with less interruptions caused by misbehavior.
  4. Discipline is achieved through the effects of group dynamics on behavior. Individual behavior affects the group likewise the group’s expectations win the individual behavior. Classroom control is maintained.
  5. Discipline is believed to be the exclusive responsibility of the teachers. They have the right to insist. on proper behavior. They announce the rules that students are expected to follow. Good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior is dealt with accordingly. It is termed “assertive discipline.”

Assertive discipline exercised mainly, by the teachers lead to an “autocratic classroom” with no choice but to obey as “set by the rules.” Students feel duty-bound to follow rules strictly. The teachers’ skill in employing interesting, challenging and relevant teaching methodologies which motivate the students to actively participate and manage their own learning serves as the best guarantee of beneficial and respectful classroom control. Both enjoy a winning situation, the students gaining knowledge and useful information on one hand and the teachers feeling satisfied and rewarded in seeing them learn. Classroom discipline taken as a conglomeration of all kinds of responses and manners that are exhibited by a great diversity of learners is never entirely free from misdeeds, lapses or minor offenses. The kind of discipline achieved will depend on the students’ personalities, level of matu-rity and interests, at the same time on the pedagogical skill and managerial ability of the teachers.

Are you a good disciplinarian?

Here are some tips that could make a teacher a good disciplinarian:

  1. Be prepared to face a class with multi-behavior tendencies. Each individual acts in a unique manner. Not one will react in the same way as the other,
  2. Know your students well — their names, family composition, and socioeconomic status. In cases of misbehavior, you will understand them easily and appropriate assistance will come in time.
  3. Show your sincere concern for their welfare. Knowing that you care will develop among them self-control and self-discipline. As they grow they will be more responsible for their own behavior.
  4. Commendable behavior is reciprocal. Your winsome manners and positive attitude will be watched and willingly duplicated in return.
  5. Be calm, poised and tactful in solving discipline problems. Refrain from unkind words and harsh punishments.
  6. At all times be firm and consistent in following classroom “do’s” and don’ts.” Students will likely test your patience and try how far they can go.
  7. Be enthusiastic and the students will match your enthusiasm instead of being drawn to trouble.
  8. Let out your good sense of humor. Laugh with your students and sometimes at yourself. It will reduce tension from all.
  9. Speak with a good voice volume, not too loud to become noise nor too soft to be heard.
  10. Be humble in words and actions. It could produce a magnetizing effect.

You are a good disciplinarian if you can face a class with varied behavior tendencies; know your students; show sincere concern for their welfare; calm, poised, and tactful; are firm and consistent; enthusiastic have a sense of humor; have a well-modulated voice; and humble.

Ways of Dealing with Discipline Problems

Acceptable and effective:

  1. Use verbal reinforcers that encourage good behavior an.d discourage bad tendencies.
  2. Use nonverbal gestures, froWn or a hard look to dissuade them from mischiefs.
  3. Dialogues can help in discovering problems and agreeing on mutually beneficial solutions.
  4. Focus attention on one who is unruly and is about to disturb the neighbors. Lead him/her to a secluded area and nicely convince him/her to be quiet.
  5. Award merits for good behavior and demerits for inconsistencies and lapses.
  6. A private one-on-one brief conference can lead to a better understanding of mistakes that need to be remedied or improved.
  7. Give students the freedom to express or explain agitated feelings and misgivings rather than censure them right away.

Unacceptable and ineffective:

  1. Scolding and harsh words as a reprimand will have a negative effect on the entire class.
  2. Nagging and faultfinding, together with long “sermons” are repugnant and nasty.
  3. Keeping a student in a “detention area” during or after classes as a penalty for misbehavior is a waste of time and occasion, for learning. The shameful experience is not easy to forget.
  4. Denying a student some privileges due to unnecessary hyperactivity can all the more encourage repetitions.
  5. Assignment of additional homework compared to the rest can make them dislike the subject.
  6. Use of ridicule or sarcasm could humiliate and embarrass a tormentor.
  7. Grades for academic achievement should not be affected due to misdemeanor.
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