Disciplinary policies in school are of paramount importance. These policies set a code of conduct for students to follow, encouraging students to thrive in their studies and create a respectful environment without becoming overbearing.
Discipline has been a key issue in educational settings. In the past, schools allowed corporal punishment to discipline students, but this is no longer the case in modern-day schools. Instead, alternative healthy disciplinary techniques are encouraged to keep students on the right track. Proactive discipline and positive reinforcement are just two of the strategies schools are using to manage student behavior.
Whether it is a child in primary school or a teenager acting out, discipline problems indicate one significant problem; unmet emotional, moral, psychological, and physical needs. Unchecked disruptive behavior creates problems for school authorities as well as other students. It impacts learning outcomes and the psychological and emotional sense of well-being of everyone involved. Hence, the educators must show patience and adopt healthy disciplinary measures to cope with such students.
Below are some strategies to help educators keep a healthy discipline.
- Establish Standard School-Wide Protocols
A standard protocol or system of procedure helps set limits and boundaries for acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Rules clearly define the process for better communication between students and teachers. The policy should include teaching methodologies, class management protocols, and well-defined disciplinary responses for unruly behavior and misconduct.
However, a very strict disciplinary response to unruly behavior can have an adverse effect on children and adolescents. Critics have condemned extreme disciplinary measures, including the zero-tolerance policy for drugs and guns. This inflexible attitude has led a large number of children and adolescents to be imprisoned on possession charges. Consequently, they have become part of the school to prison pipeline statistics pipeline statistics, unfortunately.
- Show Patience with Students Acting Out
Educators must get to the core of the situation and try to understand why the student is acting out instead of resorting to administering punishment instantly. As the teacher, you are responsible for dealing with students patiently instead of responding with anger to disciplinary issues.
There are a few practical measures that you can take to counter a student’s unruly behavior. For example, try to use non-confrontational body language with the student. You can do this by keeping your hands by your side and sitting with the student instead of hovering above them.
Keeping your voice low and your tone calm helps students feel less threatened. Express your desire to listen to their side of the story and say that you’d like to understand where their behavior, anger, or outburst is coming from. In addition, offer your students advice to better deal with their emotions and situations.
- Model Required Behavior & Stay Professional
Teachers are role models, and one of the major disciplinary techniques involves modeling behavior that you want students to adopt. If you remain polite, students will learn to follow your lead.
Many teachers tend to become too friendly with their students while trying to get them to like them and be comfortable with them. However, educators should set certain boundaries with their students. An overly friendly attitude and tolerance of minor misbehavior send a wrong message to the students. Students begin ignoring the directions their teacher is giving them, which often leads to disrespectful behavior as a joke. Hence, teachers should maintain the role of mentors to their students.
- Prepare Lessons & Redirect Student Behavior in a Discreet Manner
In the classroom, teachers can maintain discipline by coming to the class prepared with their lessons. The lesson usually requires that teachers conduct the lesson at the pace of an ordinary student. However, they must include additional tasks for students who work fast or have above-average intelligence. Using positive language to reinforce constructive behavior and discourage disruptive behavior in students, you can make them listen without offending them. For students who find it difficult to focus on the task, you can involve them by instructing them to “turn to page 35 and read the text out loud”. For disrespectful students, teachers can address them through supportive phrases like “You seem frustrated. I’d be happy to sit down and have a chat with you to address your concerns when you are ready.”
- Positive Reinforcement
Acknowledging a student’s social or academic efforts can go a long way in boosting student morale. It motivates them to study harder if they are told they are making headway in their studies. There are several types of positive reinforcements that teachers can use to show how much they appreciate the efforts their students make. For example, verbal praise in front of the whole class boosts students’ confidence, handing out certificates, giving points or extra credits, and even giving little treats such as chocolate work as an incentive to increase motivation in students.
- Stay Firm with Aggressive Students
Aggression is severe misbehavior and should be dealt with firmly and calmly. Aggressive students try to antagonize others and pick fights or start arguments. If you are breaking up a fight between students, you should stay firm and assertive while separating them. After pulling the students apart, you should send each student into a time-out because it gives them time to calm down.
Mediate the conflict between students and allow each to discuss the reason for the conflict. If that does not work, involve the principal or the parents.
Dealing with students can be hard. That is why a healthy yet firm strategy to maintain discipline in school is crucial to its environment and the students’ character development. Teachers should assess and deal with classroom situations with a level head and patient manner, administering punishment following school policy. Teachers must positively influence their students’ lives, guiding them and correcting them when needed.