The Department of Education has issued Department Order 40, s.2012, which prohibits the use of corporal punishment and promotes the use of Positive Discipline. For 21st century learners, I wonder why Positive Discipline is more effective in some classrooms than others. Why do some teachers and schools embrace it and others reject it? Why do organizations, such as the Department of Education, based on rewards succeed? I, as a public-school teacher, would at times ask myself why do I implement Positive Discipline and at other times reject it. Why do I resort to things that look like punishment with students and why do I consider rewards when I feel really stuck?
But what is Positive Discipline? Positive Discipline or (PD) is an approach to teaching that helps children succeed, gives them the information they need to learn, and supports their development. It respects children’s rights to healthy development, protection from violence, and active participation in their learning. As teachers, how can we implement this so called Positive Discipline with our 21st century learners? Under what classroom circumstances or cases should PD be put into effect?
No assignment or projects, cutting classes, abseentism, tardiness, and violation of rules. These are just a few of the problems that a classroom teacher usually encounters in everyday teaching. How then can we use PD discipline to address such problems? Here are just a few tips on how to deal with these problems without using corporal punishments.
No assignment or projects. Whenever a student does submit or do her/his project and assignment, the usual reaction of a teacher is to get mad. I am sure we behaved the same way when we were still studying. Often, our students will ask us back if we were a good student way back then. So, instead of punishing the student by telling them that they will fail the subject, try to give support and relate to them. Talk with them and ask if they need help in their assignment or project. Make a deal with them on how they can make up for the assignments and projects. Show to them how learning, projects, and assignments will improve their work in the future. Always relate the students’ skills to what they are learning in class. Try to solicit their suggestion on the best possible way to accomplish their tasks. Encourage all students to help each other in completing assignments because there are students who can easily understand a lesson if they are being mentored by their peers.
Cutting classes. Some students would only choose the subject and the teacher they will attend. Instead of punishing the students with cleaning the comfort room, paying fines, and giving unrealistic tasks, why not talk to them privately and express your concern. Remind them that cutting classes will affect their performance in class and their future. Find out if they are having difficulties on the lessons and if there is anything you could do to help them. Review the way you teach your lessons and consider updating your methodology to fit the interests of your students. If you think it would help, have a conference with the parents about the students’ behavior and seek their support in monitoring and encouraging their children to stop cutting classes. Remind them and the whole class about the rules about school attendance and explain the importance of asking for permission if they must go out of the school.
Abseentism or tardiness. Woke-up late, traffic, sickness. These are just a few of the reasons why our students absent themselves or come to school tardy. Instead of humiliating the student for this, try to talk to the student calmly and confidentially and ask why he or she is frequently absent. Listen to her or his explanation then discuss the effects of this kind of behavior on school performance. Remind the student that her or his performance in attendance would affect his performance in his job in the future.
Violation of rules. Indecent school attire, chewing “moma,” violation of school curfew, drinking alcohol, gambling in any form, and stealing. These are some of the reasons why our students are sent to the guidance office. Whatever the reason why they behave that way, we should talk to the students calmly and confidentially. Let them explain their actions. Listen and acknowledge their feelings and opinions.
Since one of the roles of a teacher is as a guidance counselor, we need to assure the students that they can rely on you and share with you their problems. Tell them that you are a friend that they can count on. Ask them how their actions of violating the rules affect school property and other students and school personnel. Discuss how they can better express their identity, opinions, and emotions and still preserve the integrity of school property. Prepare a space for students to express their opinions and feelings. Remind them also of the school rules and regulations and as well as the different consequences of violating them.
In carrying out Positive Discipline in everyday teaching, it involves a considerate and rounded approach to your relationships with your students. It may appear more difficult to you right now, but it will help make your relations with students more respectful and caring, and in the longer term that investment will provide a happier and calmer classroom and school environment. It is a continuous learning process for both teachers and students. It requires commitment and adherence to the rights of the child to be taught and treated with respect while in school.
BY CLARITA EMILIO EDDIO