Strategies for Classroom Discipline

Strategies for Classroom Discipline

Strategies for Classroom Discipline

Strategies for Classroom Discipline


This basic text provides teachers with useful strategies for achieving control in the classroom through intervention rather than punishment. Author Meryl Englander examines why punishment is an ineffective tool and details step-by-step strategies and techniques for intervention including building self esteem among students, resolution of students' personal problems and emotional outbursts, promoting student responsibility, facilitating moral development, reinforcing desired student behavior, and establishing antecendent controls on behavior. Also considered is teacher assertiveness and desired organizational conditions for an orderly classroom.


Time on-task is one of the most critical teacher-controllable variables for academic achievement. For instance, Marliave (1979) reported that evidence from classroom observations shows that over 10 percent of the variance in achievement can be directly accounted for by academic learning time. Off-task behavior, particularly if it is combined with intrusion on other learners, distracts not only students but also teachers from their academic endeavors. Allegedly, in some schools teachers devote as much as 80 percent of their time and energy to the management of classroom behavioral problems. Gallop (1982) has conducted an annual national poll for 14 years to identify the desires and concerns of the public with regard to education. The polls repeatedly show that the most prominent desire of the public is that students develop morally. The schools also show that the perceived most critical problem is lack of discipline. Discipline is listed as the number one problem by 27 percent of the respondents as compared to 6 percent for busing and 11 percent for poor curriculum. If concerns for drug abuse are added to the concerns for discipline, the percentage goes up to 47 percent. The public's meaning of morality and discipline is not clarified by the poll, but it is safe to assume that they want youngsters to learn how to behave, to be self-sufficient, and to be socially responsible.

Fear has become a prominent and pervasive feeling in many of our schools. About one third of our large high schools have armed police officers patrolling the halls during the entire school day. In addition, about 30 percent of our large high schools admittedly have undercover agents who report to either the local police or to the FBI. Testimony of violence in our schools is filled with tales of homicide, rape, assault, vandalism, and robbery. More money is spent on the prevention and repair of vandalism than on textbooks (Bayh 1975; DeCecco and Richards 1975).

Graham (1978) reported that a student is less safe from assault and robbery in urban schools than he or she would be on the streets. To be more explicit Graham noted:

For the typical secondary school student, then, we can estimate the risks as follows: he or she has about 1 chance in 9 of having something stolen in a month; 1 chance in 80 of being attacked; and 1 chance in 200 of being robbed... a typical teacher in the Nation's secondary schools: has around 1 chance in 8 of having something stolen at school in a given month; 1 chance in 167 of being robbed and 1 chance in 200 of being attacked. (p. 4) . . .

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