Positive discipline approach for classroom management

Understand the difference between punishment and positive discipline. Positive discipline is a type of discipline that uses positive alternatives and non-violent methods to respect and reward children when they behave well and to correct any negative behavior. Unlike punishment, positive discipline does not advocate the use of shame, ridicule, aggression or violence to correct student behavior. This type of discipline argues that students respond better to positive approaches, like choice, negotiation, discussion, and a system of rewards.

As a teacher, you will also have more control over your classroom using positive discipline, as you will be advocating the students to make choices and decisions for themselves, rather than try to force them to act correctly. This type of discipline can also lead to long term peace in the classroom, as students will learn how to self correct and how to come up with solutions or issues among themselves. Note the seven principles of positive discipline. Positive discipline is based on seven key principles, which can act as classroom rules for you in your role as the teacher or leader. The seven principles are: To respect the child’s dignity. To develop pro-social behavior and encourage self-discipline. To maximize the child’s participation in class discussion. To respect the child’s developmental needs and quality of life. To respect the child’s motivation and life views.

To assure fairness and justice through equality and non-discrimination. To promote solidarity among students in the classroom.

Follow the four steps of positive discipline. Positive discipline is based on a four-step process that recognized appropriate behavior in the classroom and rewards the behavior. You can apply these steps to an individual student or to the classroom as a whole.

First, describe the appropriate behavior you are expecting from the individual or the class. For example, if you are trying to get the class to settle down, you may say: “Class, please quiet down now.”

Then, provide reasons why this behavior is appropriate. For example: “We are going to start our English lesson and it is important that you all listen closely to me.”

Ask for acknowledgement from the class about the appropriate behavior. For example:“Do you all see why quieting down is so important?”

Reinforce the correct behavior with eye contact, a nod or a smile. You can also reinforce the class’ good behavior with five extra minutes of play time or another marble in the reward jar. If you are reinforcing individual behavior, you may give extra credit points to the student or put a star by his/her name.

Always provide a reward for good behavior immediately and clearly. You want to make the students feel they are on the winning team and to praise individual students for being a good team member.

Apply positive discipline in your classroom. When using positive disciple, follow the 4:1 ratio. This means you should try to catch a student or the class doing something correctly four time for every one time you find them doing something inappropriate. Be consistent with this ratio, as this will show your students you are more interested in rewards and acknowledging appropriate actions rather than punishment. Keep in mind positive discipline can fail is the student or the class is not rewarded quickly enough and clearly enough. Make sure you always follow through with a reward for appropriate behavior.

Always emphasize the task, rather than the behavior. Focus on positive tasks like quieting down and being considerate of others, rather than behaviors like no talking or no shouting. For example, you may use an acknowledgment comment like, “It’s important that we quiet down so we can be considerate of what others have to say,” rather than an acknowledgement comment like, “It’s important that you stop talking and focus.”

By Roselyn Lao-ing Daowan

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