Monday, February 15, 2016

Management -v- discipline

At the TTP on Saturday, one of my colleagues, Celine, made a great presentation about the difference between classroom management and classroom discipline.  I took some notes which I've decided to share here - as her advice was good and many will find it useful.

In a nutshell, Celine explained that management is all about what the teacher does, whereas discipline is connected to how the students behave.  Management is the responsibility of the teacher, whereas discipline becomes the responsibility of the students.  Management is about routines and procedures.  Discipline is about rules and sanctions or consequences.  Basically her message was that the more effective management is, then the less you have to rely on discipline.

Celine asked us to think about a recent time when we had to discipline students because of our own poor classroom management.  She said "Be aware - 95% of the time that you need to discipline it's your own fault."  She shared several strategies, for example:

  • Establish the classroom rules from Day 1, preferably in conjunction with the students.  
  • Make sure the rules reflect your philosophy of education.
  • The rules need to be clear - about what students must do, not a list of don'ts.  They should be posted in the room for all to see.
  • There should only be 5 or 6 rules - so focus on what is important
  • The rules need to be for behaviour only - not for processes or routines.
We need to think about what our expectations are for classroom management, and then we need to think about the procedures and actions WE will take in order to achieve those expectations.  She stressed how important it is to reflect on our practice.  For example:
  • If our expectation is that students are active 80% of the time .... WE need to give them tasks to do as soon as they come into the classroom and WE need to speak less so they can do more.
  • If we want students to be quiet when being given instructions .... We need to give short, clear instructions and only speak when all are listening. 
  • If we want students to stay on task ..... WE need to give them challenging activities and to explain to them why these are important
  • If we want students to learn and make progress in all lessons .... WE need to plan to be quiet and reflective at the end of the lessons
Celine's final words really struck home with me - "Do not find excuses for your problems - find solutions!"

Photo Credit: LindaH via Compfight cc

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