Discipline – a word that is absolutely dreaded by teachers in this modern era of education. Gone are the good old days where a good smack or time-out sufficed. Teachers all over the world aren’t faced with learners in the classroom anymore, they are faced with demon spawn when it comes to discipline.
Children have become disrespectful, arrogant, entitled and absolutely unmanageable in classrooms, trust me I have been there. In the same breath, a generalisation can’t be made, but unfortunately the well-mannered, hardworking ones are harder to find than no-name branded clothes in a spoilt teenagers’ closet.
Teachers are not allowed to touch a learner in any way or form when it comes to discipline, if they even so much as attempt to wrap little Johnny over the knuckles with a ruler, they will be clearing out their classroom faster than the government’s finance ministers come and go. And let’s be very honest, to make any child sit in a corner or give them debit points on a points system in their homework diaries isn’t really working out the way it should.
We all know discipline is an integral part of a child’s upbringing, but if charity does not begin at home, it’s an impossible task for teachers to be the parent and the educator. So what is an effective discipline system that will work? Honest answer – every school is different and discipline systems need to be tailored according to the need and degree of problematic areas. When a disciplinary system is developed, there are however five crucial points of reference to keep in mind to ensure that the best system is put in place. According to Tom Schimmer, learner behaviour guru, this can be your five-step plan to not pulling your hair out and chucking a little rebel out the window:
To be clear, a proactive, systemic approach to student discipline has nothing to do with inventing new and creative ways to suspend and/or expel students. Be clear that discipline and punishment are two very different concepts. A systemic approach to discipline is about teaching, guiding, and supporting; it’s about recognising which social skills students are lacking and being able to address them through an instructional approach, not a punitive one.
With all of this said and jotted down, there is still no bulletproof plan against the moods and temperaments of children. What is important however, is the fact that we acknowledge the importance of discipline. Persistence is the only key, you need to stick to your guns and also be consistent.
Nobody said it was easy dear teachers, but nobody said it was going to be this hard. May the force of discipline be with you all!
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