Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

Learning for living, Character for life, Hope for the Future

What’s a Principal to do? Classroom Management, Discipline Problems and Redemptive Discipline

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The URLs below link to two downloadable articles from the Journal of Adventist Education February/March 2011, that will be of interest to leaders who work with teachers to develop and improve their classroom behaviour management routines and strategies.

‘Trial or Trail – The Path to Redemptive Discipline’,

by John Wesley Taylor V

Discipline, a Problem?

Findings from the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll indicate that discipline, or the lack thereof, is one of the greatest challenges facing public schools in the United States. This has a dramatic effect on education. Studies indicate that 14 percent or more of public school teachers in the United States leave the profession after their first year, with almost half of beginning teachers exiting within the first five years. Of those who drop out, sig- nificant proportions do so because of classroom management or discipline problems.

Even students recognize that their teachers’ approach to discipline has a significant relationship to their effectiveness in the classroom.  Across a variety of settings, young people agreed that their worst teachers were those who were either coercive or soft on discipline, while their best teachers were those who were both demanding and caring.

This issue of discipline is not unique to the modern era. History reveals that parents and teachers have long searched for so- lutions to student misbehavior. Rousseau, for example, an early theorist of adolescence, observed that a young person can be “almost ungovernable.” From the Old Testament comes the query, “How shall we order the child, and what shall we do unto him?”… Read more

So What’s a Principal to do? Thoughts on How to Help Teachers With Classroom Management and Discipline Problems

by James R Jeffrey with Donna Jeffrey

…Continuing down the hall, I spotted a student sitting on the floor just outside Ms. Susan’s [Pseudonym] classroom door. Not an encouraging sign! Upon entering the back of the classroom, I could tell that things were not going well for this experienced teacher. Students clustered in small groups throughout the classroom, shouting at one another and at students in other groups. The teacher was trying unsuccessfully to get everyone’s attention, but the class seemed determined to ignore her.

As I contemplated this scene, it was all I could do to keep from stepping in to restore some semblance of order. But I resisted the administrative temptation to “take over” and solve this teacher’s immediate problems. Instead, I took a deep breath and asked myself three questions: (1) What had gone wrong in this classroom? (2) How could the principal help Susan? and (3) Could some type of school-wide discipline plan have prevented the chaos in Ms. Susan’s classroom? These three questions are the central focus of this article. But let’s first clarify some important issues involved in classroom discipline and management in a Christian school.

Discipline, a Major Concern for Teachers

1. School and classroom discipline are major concerns for teachers, parents, and communities. For the past 40 years, the Gallup Poll2 organization has asked Americans, in an open-ended question, to describe the biggest problems facing public schools in their communities. Consistently, lack of discipline and control of students have ranked number one or number two. While no such data exists for Adventist schools, I would surmise, from observation and direct in- volvement, that parents, teachers, and churches also consider discipline a significant concern.
2. Although the terms “classroom management” and “discipline” are often used interchangeably, they are not synonymous. According to Marshall, discipline “deals with how people behave,” while classroom management has to do with “procedures, routines and structure.” Wong and Wong agree with this distinction but go even farther, asserting that the vast majority of classroom behavior problems are “caused by the failure of students to follow procedures and routines, which in turn are caused by teachers who do not have procedures and routines.”… Read more

Author: Sandra England

Learning & Teaching Coordinator F-12 at Gilson College, an Adventist Schools Victoria school. Twitter: @GCLandT or @sandy_e

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