Students Discipline Plan and Behavior Management

Introduction

Discipline is an important factor which determines a student’s reaction to learning, and how one relates with both teachers and fellow students. Discipline is formed through the behaviour a student exhibits in class, and that influences their performance outcome and learning skills. There are various ways a teacher can use to manage a classroom and ensure positive behaviour that maximizes students’ learning skills and existence, in and out of the classroom. The following discipline plan is developed based on three models which relate to the beliefs held. They include the choice theory, reality therapy and lead management model, the positive behaviour leadership model and the democratic discipline model. The discipline plan will be guided by the thesis statement that students have the power within them to decide how to behave and react to outside forces.

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Beliefs

The belief held in this case is that every student has the power within themselves to choose how to behave and to understand how the outside events and environmental factors are likely to influence the behaviour they portray. It is the teacher’s responsibility to encourage students to make the right behaviour choice. The teachers and students should establish good relationships based on mutual trust and respect, despite the fact that the teacher has more power than the students. Such a relationship facilitates the teacher to counsel the students on their behaviour without the students feeling victimized, threatened and forced into behaving in a certain manner. Discipline is best achieved when students are encouraged to be responsible for their own behaviour without being coerced into it. Rather they should be guided on how to make positive decisions that reflect positive behaviour (Scarlett, Ponte, & Singh, 2009).

These beliefs relate to the choice theory, reality therapy and lead management classroom model which argues that human behaviour is generated to meet biological and psychological needs. Hence, an individual can only change his/her own behaviour (Edwards & Watts, 2008). Therefore, a teacher can only encourage and influence a student to make responsible behavioural choices, but cannot change the student’s behaviour. These beliefs relate to the positive behaviour leadership model that encourages students to make appropriate choices, reduce confrontation between students and teachers, express equal rights and responsibilities in the laid down rules, communicate positively and build good relationships between teachers and students (Scarlett, Ponte, & Singh, 2009). This model encourages teachers to respect students’ rights and relate with them according to these rights. Students are expected to own their behaviour and accept the consequences.

The democratic discipline model relates to these beliefs because the model argues that students behave in a certain manner to be accepted in a social group. Therefore, a teacher should foremost find out why a student behaves the way he /she does, then encourage them to behave in an acceptable manner. The model advocates for students inclusion while making decisions that affect them directly. Also, teachers should serve as guides by assisting students to be more responsible and self-reliant while choosing how to behave in class. The belief is that children learn through what they are taught by their teachers.

Using rewards and punishment as a means to promote positive behaviour does not guarantee long term positive behaviour. This is because when the teacher withdraws the rewards students will have no reason to improve their behaviour since there are no more acknowledgements. Students should be encouraged to make choices and be accountable for them as this will increase self-reliance and good management. The teacher should assist students, set high realistic goals and include the students in decision-making processes. Students should be included in drafting the class rules as this will make them accept the consequences of their negative behaviours. The teacher’s role is to guide the students in making the right choices. Class management should be the responsibility of both the teacher and the students as this will encourage them to be better self-managers.

Teachers should make a clear set of rules with instructions on how students should behave in the classroom. The teacher should distribute to each student a copy and hang one in the classroom. This will ensure that the teacher allocates more time to teaching as compared to discipline issues. The teacher should, however, regularly encourage and guide students on ways to make positive choices. This discipline plan will minimize significantly the level of indiscipline in the classroom. The plan will ensure that maximum learning is achieved since there will be few interruptions in the classroom when the teacher is teaching.

Preventive strategies

The objective of putting in place preventive strategies is to ensure that cases of indiscipline are kept in check and to ensure reduced misbehaviour. Preventive strategies ensure that the teacher gives equal attention and encouragement to all students in terms of self-improvement. The classroom rules will be generated by both the teacher and students through a class discussion. This will encourage them to improve on their behaviour and accept the consequences of their misbehaviour. Making them part of the solution and plan-making process encourages them to adopt the plan independently.

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The teacher should ensure that the consequences of misbehaviour are administered fairly to all students without favours. The classroom environment should be friendly both to the teacher and to the students. The two should develop a relationship based on mutual trust and openness. The teacher should deal with each rising indiscipline case independently to avoid generalizing, which may deteriorate indiscipline further and cause more cases to arise. The rules should be guided by respect, equality and understanding. Therefore, the expectation of these rules is that if a student behaves contrary to them, then he/she should face the consequence of his/her indiscipline.

The chosen preventive strategies are that; first of all, teachers should involve students in decision making on matters that affect them. The teachers should source for students’ input while making classroom rules through an open discussion. This will create a better understanding of the rules and prevent the students from breaking the rules that they were part of creating. The second strategy is to encourage team work and group discussions among the students, as this will enhance their sense of belonging and make them independent decision makers. This will encourage students to respect each others’ rights and to be less interruptive in the classroom. The third strategy is that the teacher should be democratic with all students when dealing with them. Students should be given a platform to express their views, complains and opinions so as to understand their behaviour and their own experiences. This ensures that the students trust the teacher more, and open up to him/ her on a higher level. Through this, the teacher will be in a better position to foster good behaviour since he/she understands the students more.

The fourth strategy is to teach students the rights of their fellow students, and how to respect them through proper behaviour. This will help the students to understand the effect of their behaviour on both their concentration and learning, and that of their fellow students. It will prevent students from misbehaving in class to avoid disrupting the rest of the students’ learning in the classroom. The fifth strategy is that the teacher should choose an appropriate teaching style since it impacts on the behaviour of the students. The teacher should be authoritative, but with a friendly firm tone that is not harsh or threatening. This assertiveness ensures that students recognize that the teacher is in charge (Wolfgang, 2005). It assists in preventing students from misbehaving in class to avoid the consequences, as laid down by the teacher.

The sixth strategy is that the teacher should use encouragement, acknowledgement and praise to promote good behaviour, rather than incentives and rewards (Garner, 2011). This ensures that all students are commended for their efforts and improvements in class, and gives them the motivation to continue behaving well. The seventh strategy is fairness and consistency by the teacher in solving indiscipline cases. If a teacher demonstrates equality with all students, it is more likely to reduce indiscipline as compared to when the teacher is unfair. The last strategy is that the teacher should take responsibility in case of a misunderstanding or communication breakdown. When the teacher has made a mistake, he/she should apologize to the students so as to maintain a good relationship that is trustworthy. This will ensure that students do not become hostile and result to indiscipline. Rules will be accompanied by consequences and also rights’ awareness and responsibility. The teacher should have access to the correct support system to help cope with emotional and social stressing issues. The system also helps in enabling teachers to deal with problems that may arise from time to time (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009). The teacher should do follow up on individual or class discussions to ensure that the students’ needs are known and met.

Corrective measures

Misbehaviour in the classroom will not be tolerated as it interrupts learning and concentration of other students. It will be dealt with appropriately, with regard to the consequences set against specific misbehaviour. These consequences will be constructed by the teacher and the students who will give their opinion during an open discussion on class rules and regulations. The teacher will use the students’ input to come up with corrective strategies to be employed when a student misbehaves during class (Edwards, 2000).

A number of strategies will be used. One such strategy is that the teacher should avoid blaming the students when misbehaviour occurs, but rather the students should be encouraged to improve on that particular area. This will make the student choose to correct their indiscipline and do better next time. The second strategy is to regularly remind the students of the behaviour expected from them in class. This strategy will make the students who are misbehaving understanding that they are doing wrong, and that their actions do not reflect proper discipline. The third strategy is that the teacher should use non verbal message to send his/her disapproval of what the student is doing. When a student misbehaves the teacher can use direct eye contact and stern face expression to convey a message to the student that what they are doing is unacceptable. The fourth strategy is issuing a command to the student misbehaving. The command should be firm and short so that the student understands well, and chooses either to stop the misbehaviour or face the consequences. Through this, the teacher also demonstrates to the students that he /she is in charge of the class, and any misbehaviour will not be tolerated. The fifth strategy is to use the question and feedback response to correct a bad behaviour. Here, the teacher asks the student a question concerning the bad behaviour and the student responds to it.

This ensures that the student recognizes his mistake and is held accountable for his own actions. The students use this strategy to reflect and access their own behaviour to find out whether it is in line with what is expected of them. The sixth strategy is the individual or group therapy the teacher holds with the students to discover their needs, and what could be the cause of an occurring indiscipline. This ensures that the root cause of the indiscipline is uncovered and solved. The seventh strategy is cool off, which involves taking time out. Here, the teacher instructs a misbehaving student to take time out from the classroom or from the rest of the students after an in disciplined action. Challenging behaviours will be addressed on an individual basis, so as to understand the need of that student and how that need influences behaviour. Consequences like isolation, writing an apology letter and detention will be used, if necessary, depending on the magnitude of the behaviour (Bear, 2010). Explosive behaviours will be dealt with through consultation with parents; administration and professional help to ascertain the cause. The teacher will, however, do a one on one therapy, and later involve the rest of the parties if this does not work.

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Classroom set up

Although the classroom set up depends on the year level and resources available in the school, a teacher can organize the class to utilize the space available and create a friendly environment. The class physical layout will be desks arranged in rows facing the teacher’s desk, which will be in front of the classroom. The two individual desks will be placed close to each other and a pathway will be left between each pair, extending from the front to the back. This sitting plan will facilitate easy movement to the teachers and students as they distribute and collect work (Hickey et al., 2009). It will facilitate the teachers to move around the class as they teach and observe students.

The teacher’s desk will be placed in front of the class to enable the teacher see the students’ faces and communicate to them through non- verbal body expressions. The sitting arrangement of the students, which will be double rows, will ensure that two individuals work together as a small group and create relationships, that the teacher has a view of all the students, a factor which is important in securing their trust and respect, and that the students have the choice to select sitting positions and desk partners. The working station will be at the back of the room, and the class will have students’ own charts, art works and rugs at the back and all around the walls to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

There will be a cabinet where resources will be placed. The students will have access to them through the teacher, who will be responsible for locking them up. When there are group discussions, the students will be forming their desks into circles depending on the number of students. The timeout position will be at a corner at the back, since the students face in front, and because the position is within the teacher’s view. The teacher will be taking assignments immediately the day learning starts, and give tasks after each lesson to manage time and minimize disruptions during the learning hours. After each lesson, students will be given a five minute break to stretch and go to the washroom, so as to avoid interruptions during learning.

Three key issues

For this plan to work, the teacher will have to consider key issues that will facilitate the success of this plan. One of the key issues is working with parents by building relationships with them to ensure that they support this plan. The teacher can achieve this by calling all parents for a meeting with the agenda of discussing class discipline (Cole, Knowles & SEBDA, 2011). In the meeting, the teacher can explain the model of choice theory, democracy and positive behaviour leadership that are going to be used to maintain discipline. The teacher should request parents to support their children in regard to this and also offer their opinions.

Cultural diversity is another key issue to consider if the discipline plan is to be effective. The composition of the class, the background upbringing and the beliefs that each culture holds towards discipline should be evaluated and understood by the teacher to ensure no misunderstandings arise from the plan. Understanding the perception each culture has towards discipline can ensure that the teacher and students develop strong trusted and respectful relationships. Through these relationships, the teacher will be able to influence the students to change their beliefs and attitudes and embrace the choice theory, democracy and positive behaviour leadership models that relate to the teacher’s beliefs.

Managing challenging behaviours in students who regularly misbehave, have extreme behaviours and persistently disrupt learning is crucial in ensuring that the plan succeeds. Students with these challenges should be given more attention and encouraged more to ensure that they move towards more positive behaviours (Burden, 2000). The students should be given a chance to express their feelings and needs, in order to find the root cause of this problem. The teacher should handle them on individual basis to avoid embarrassing and provoking them in class. Dangerous behaviour will require to be addressed by a specialist or professional to determine the cause. In addition, parents and the administration will be called in to offer more support.

Summary

The discipline plan is written and guided by the belief that each student has the capability within themselves to choose how to behave and react to outside forces that include the environment, peers and community. The belief that through guidance and encouragement students can make the right behaviour choices is related to the choice theory, reality therapy and lead management model and the positive behaviour leadership models. The plan’s success will be achieved by having the preventive strategies, corrective strategies, key issues addressed and classroom set up outlined in the plan fully implemented. Forming strong teacher and students trust based and respectful relationships will also assist in the success of the plan. The plan will be reviewed regularly to check whether progress is taking place.

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References

Bear, G. (2010). School discipline and self-discipline: A practical guide to promoting prosocial student behavior. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Burden, P. (2000). Powerful classroom management strategies: Motivating students to learn. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.

Cole, T., Knowles, B. & Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties Association (SEBDA). (2011). How to help children and young people with complex behavioural difficulties: A guide for practitioners working in educational settings. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Edwards, C. & Watts, V. (2008). Classroom discipline and management. Milton: John Wiley & Sons.

Edwards, C. (2000). Classroom discipline and management. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Garner, P. (2011). Promoting the conditions for positive behaviour to help every child succeed. Nottingham: National College for School Leadership.

Hickey, L., Heristanidis, C., Leigh, R., McAuliffe, M., Brocklebank, A. & Films for the Humanities & Sciences (Firm). (2009). Hot tips for classroom management. Hamilton, NJ: Films for the Humanities & Sciences.

Jennings, P. & Greenberg, M. (2009). The Prosocial Classroom: Teacher Social and Emotional Competence in Relation to Student and Classroom Outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 79 (1): 491-525.

Scarlett, W., Ponte, C. & Singh, J. (2009). Approaches to behaviour and classroom management: Integrating discipline and care. Los Angeles: Sage.

Wolfgang, C. (2005). Solving discipline and classroom management problems: Methods and models for today’s teachers. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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