Discipline, as hard as it may seem, is a necessary tool in every teacher’s toolkit. If the discipline is too light, chaos may ensue. If the discipline is too harsh, anarchy may follow. There has to be as balance between the two. And, as we’ve come to find out, there are many approaches and philosophies in between. The main approaches I will use in a classroom management approach are: discipline with dignity, assertive discipline, noncoersive, and inner discipline. These approaches are grounded in an educational philosophy of the Reconstructionist because with the discipline with dignity it gives the students a sense of community. As with the assertive discipline it allows the students to realize that their actions affect other members of the classroom/society. As for the inner discipline it allows students to work jointly with their teacher to create a positive learning environment. I believe the nature of the learner is genuinely interested and willing to learn and make changes in themselves which will inevitably change our society. The subject matter being mathematics can affect society by teaching students the benefits of rigorous studying and gaining an in-depth understanding of material. The process by which the students can learn is broad. If the structure of discipline is intact, enforced, and internalized, then I feel that the learner will succeed through the support and guidance that the rules and regulations provide.
In order to limit the amount of discipline that a teacher must use, it would be a good idea to put in some preventative measures, in hopes that this will prevent misbehavior in the first place. A preventative approach that I will use in the classroom will come from the inner discipline, dignity, and assertive discipline approaches. From the inner discipline standpoint, the students and I will come up with the class rules, and agree on the consequences. “Reasonable consequences are when teacher and student jointly agree on a set of reasonable logical consequences.”(Coloroso,1994). This is incorporates the Reconstructionist philosophy because it connects the students to society by group collaborating to come up with the rules. The assertive discipline approach suggests “There is a clear structure on how to respond to student disruptions through invoking consequences.”(Canter,1976). This has its place once the student-teacher created rules have been established. The teacher must show authority in some degree, or else the set rules won’t be effective at preventing any misbehavior. Looking at the dignity approach, we can “Establish classroom discipline upon a basis of dignity and hope” (Curwin and Mendler, 1983). The discipline that we do create must be fair and constructive. Once these rules have been established and the consequences understood, I feel that they will be a good measure at preventing misbehavior.
Promoting responsible behavior is the main approach in the supportive approach. “Helping students to learn RESPECT for themselves, for other people in their communities, and for property becomes a pivotal feature of this comprehensive management approach.” (Kyle, 1999). In order to support positive student behavior I can implement a noncoersive method by developing appropriate curriculum. “Curriculum must be organized to meet students’ needs for survival, belonging, power, fun, and freedom. Provide a warm supportive classroom climate.”(Glasser, 1985). Sometimes students may have ideas misconstrued and need some guidance on what really is right or wrong. In order to compensate for that we can incorporate inner discipline by making “sure students differentiate between the reality and the problem.”(Coloroso, 1994).If the situation has been blown out of proportion, we should aim to take a step back and reevaluate and adjust our outlook. Being supportive in that I “Help students see that quality work is never destructive to oneself, other or the environment” (Glasser, 1985), I feel that students will make positive choices based on their internal moral compass. Helping students develop a sense of self will benefit them in their entire lives by helping them realize that their behavior, positive or negative, impacts the entire community.
If the above techniques don’t work as intended, which I realize that they always won’t or else we wouldn’t be discussing the topic of discipline, then we will resort to the corrective approach. The damage has been done, now what can we do to fix it? It is okay to make mistakes, we all do it, and as Coloroso puts it we must “Get across to students that it’s OK, even beneficial, to make mistakes, and that no problem is so great that it can’t be solved.” After a mistake has been made the inner discipline approach also suggests that we look at the three R’s: restitution, resolution and reconciliation. Restitution means “giving back: the return of something to its rightful owner paying back: compensation for a loss, damage, or injury restoration: the return of something to the condition it was in before it was changed.”(Bing.com). Resolution as defined at Bing.com is “solution: an answer to a problem”. Lastly, Reconciliation is defined as “reconciling of people: the ending of conflict or renewing of a friendly relationship between disputing people or groups”. As Coloroso puts it “That means they need to fix what was done wrong, figure out how to keep it from happening again, and heal with the people they have harmed.” This emphasizes the Reconstructionist view by being conscious of others and being considerate of their emotions as that will affect society either positively or negatively. As we have recently seen regarding the anti-Muslim YouTube video how destructive being inconsiderate of others can be. This approach to corrective discipline makes sense, and mimics what happens in the real world when laws are broken.
Discipline may have a bad rap, but I defiantly know the benefits that it entails. The preventative, supportive, and correction approach all must be combine to create one harmonious coherent plan to create a well-established conducive learning atmosphere. To prevent misbehavior we must develop rules and consequences. To support positive behavior we must entrust students with the principles to be their own moral guides. To correct, we must do so with dignity and resolution. The Reconstructionist view upholds dignity and respect for all through education. Without properly implemented disciple strategies, no student or teacher would be giving or providing justice.
Bing.com: Online dictionary http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=define+restitution&qpvt=restitution+definition&FORM=DTPDIA accessed September 23, 2012
Canter: Canter's Assertive Discipline http://cc2010.csusm.edu/course/view.php?id=8866
Coloroso: Coloroso's Inner Discipline http://cc2010.csusm.edu/course/view.php?id=8866
Curwin and Mendler: Curwin & Mendler's Discipline Through Dignity http://cc2010.csusm.edu/course/view.php?id=8866
Other Discipline Approaches http://cc2010.csusm.edu/course/view.php?id=8866
Kern, Patricia: CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT: SUPPORTIVE STRATEGIES http://www.nasponline.org/educators/HCHSII_SupportiveStrategies.pdf accessed September 23, 2012