My Personal Model of Discipline
To create positive, and inspiring and technology structured atmosphere where students
feel safe physically and emotionally that fosters sharing, learning and growth.
Most importantly, to respect each student’s uniqueness, and make every effort to create
educational (including technology) experiences that help students to learn, how to
learn, and want to learn thereby ensuring success for every student.
A classroom is not a perfect world with perfect students. It is an environment
where the teacher and the students alike have personal problematic issues to contend with
everyday both within and outside the classroom. My responsibility, as a teacher is to
provide a safe, secure, responsible learning environment.
This responsibility is based upon Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: humans need to
be safe before they can advance or progress to higher-level stages of learning. Students
who are distracted by the misbehavior of others, or who are unsure of the boundaries and
limits within a classroom will spend their energy learning how to cope in the environment
rather than learning the lessons presented by the teacher. Providing a physically safe,
structured atmosphere is essential for learning. This also includes feeling emotionally
safe enough to take risks. Many times students are afraid of mistakes with technology-
computers. If it is true that we learn from our mistakes, then educators must allow
mistakes to happen without overreacting. Computers can easily be repaired students’
feelings of safety cannot.
Technology is definitely based upon the constructivist style of learning: hands-on,
student-directed learning where teacher is the facilitator (driver) not all-knowing, the
expert. In today’s world many times the student has immense technology skills that all
can learn from including the teacher.
Howard Gardner recognized several different styles of learning, but Dr. John
Medina asserts in Brain Rules that there are countless more. Regardless learning styles
are as individual as we are. My students will have the opportunity and feel secure to
explore and try out various ways of learning the same material. One example used is the
Educational City software of playing life using math skills, another is Tutpup for math
(and spelling), and then there is Study Island. The software that is used in the computer
classroom is purchased, free, and online with age specific and if needed language
specific. With the unlimited opportunities student learning is adapted to different student
learning styles; at times there are several different learning activities occurring
In order to create and maintain this learning atmosphere I have be knowledgeable
of and use theoretical approaches “from humanistic (low teacher control) to behavioristic
(high teacher control)” by selecting a model that is “consistent with my beliefs” (JIU,
2011, EDU523, Module 1, Theme 1, para. 1).
I did not realize that there were such identified approaches. In my personal
experiences public school teachers used the High Control Approach. Gene Van Tassell
discussed Assertive Discipline including results of a study that indicated that (2005, para.
Teachers are not trained in the use of effective discipline methods. (Fuhr, 1993;
Hyman as quoted in Harper & Epstein, 1989; Taylor, 1987) Even though other
methods are allowed, teachers most often use Assertive Discipline. Canter claims
that 500,000 teachers have been trained in the methods of Assertive Discipline.
(Render, Padilla, and Krank, 1989) No other discipline method has reported to
have trained so many educators.
My teachers “laid down the law” and enforced it completely with no exceptions.
I found this to be the same regardless of where we lived from northern Illinois to the
boot-heel of Missouri. Not every approach will work for every situation or student, “one
size does not fix all.” Everyone does not lean in the same way. With this thought in
mind I will maintain an explicit knowledge of each approach and use it appropriately.
This knowledge in learning theories only strengthens my abilities to individualized
research-based effective teaching strategies.
However, overall my degree of teacher control approach is definitely Medium
Control Approach as described by Burden (2010, p. 25). “Medium control approaches
are based on the philosophical belief that development comes from a combination of
innate and outer forces” (2010, p. 25, para. 3). Burden continues to state:
Medium control teachers accept the student-centered psychology that is reflected
in the low control philosophy…teacher promotes individual student control over
behavior whenever possible, but places the needs of the group…over the needs of
individual students. The child’s thoughts, feelings, ideas, and preferences are
taken into account when dealing with instruction, classroom management, and
discipline, but ultimately the teacher’s primary focus is on behavior and meeting
the academic needs of the group.
At times I will use Richard Curwin, Allen Mendler, and Brian Mendler’s Discipline with Dignity
medium control approach (Burden, 2010, p.29). Discipline problems may be caused by student
boredom, feelings of powerlessness, unclear limits, a lack of acceptable outlet for
feelings, and attacks on dignity (2010, p. 30).
Although, I have come to realize that the majority of my discipline model is based
upon the Teaching with Love and Logic philosophy. Love and Logic, developed by
educational expert Jim Fay, and child psychiatrist Foster W. Cline, M.D., is a method of
working with students. Teachers are programmed to instruct their students what to do all
of the time; it is human nature and so easy. However, research has shown that giving
students choices enables the student to gain some control over the situation, and thereby
making a positive difference for all. The Love and Logic philosophy enables teachers
and students to share control and decision-making while improving self-concept,
behavior, and achievement for each student. Like all of us, students need to learn from
their mistakes and when this is done responsibility is gained over our choices. Therefore
students will be given choices, and these choices will teach students to think for
themselves. The consequences will be handled individually. Situations will be dealt with
as they arise with the focus on enabling the child to grow and learn from his or her
actions. My behaviors will demonstrate the genuine love for my students and I will use
that Love & Logic (common sense) in my classroom management decisions and
interactions. My teaching philosophy includes how to set limits for children in loving
ways for successful behavior management.
Editor Trent Lorcher (Jan. 30, 2009) explained the same philosophy in his online
The Love and Logic program teaches very simple and “logical” ways to win the
behavior management war, without the child even knowing there was a battle.
Applying a strong dose of empathy before a consequence allows the caregiver to
remain the “good guy” while the consequence is the “bad guy.” Putting an end to
what feels like battles by nipping arguments in the bud. “Going Brain Dead”
when a child begins to argue is a valuable tool in the Love and Logic bag. Love
and Logic gives a practical guide for ending the whining, arguing on the child’s
behalf and an end to the warnings, threats and the ever increasing rewards.
In a nutshell I will give my students two choices. Both of these choices will be
something that I can live with even though one may be more desirable and work better
for me than the other. For example you can do this now, or you can do it during recess
Preventive Discipline Measures
Prevention is the cure and therefore I will use this model to facilitate learning and
minimize disruptions. Whenever possible it is always best to prevent problems or for the
classroom to prevent disruptions from occurring in the first place. I will strive to be an
effective teacher by doing just this. I will do this by following the guidelines outlined by
Kathleen Cotton in School wide and Classroom Discipline, at the Classroom Level:
Hold and communicate high behavioral expectations
Establish clear rules and procedures and instruct students in how to follow them; give
primary-level children and low-SES children, in particular, a great deal of instruction,
practice, and reminding.
Make clear to students the consequences of misbehavior.
Enforce classroom rules promptly, consistently, and equitably from the very first day of
Work to instill a sense of self-discipline in students; devote time to teaching self-
Maintain a brisk instructional pace and make smooth transitions between activities.
Monitor classroom activities and give students feedback and reinforcement regarding
Create opportunities for students to experience success in their learning and social
Identify those students who seem to lack a sense of personal efficacy.
Make sure of humor, when suitable, to stimulate student interest or reduce classroom
Remove distracting materials from view when instruction is in process.
Corrective Discipline Behavior
I cannot have a Discipline Plan without addressing what I would do if discipline
problems arise. I will use the Love and Logic principles as my guide (Fay, 2007, p.1):
1. I will react without anger or haste to problem situations.
2. I will provide consequences that are not punitive but that allow the child to
experience the results of a poor choice, enabling him or her to make better choices
in the future.
3. I will proceed in all situations with the best interest of the child who—
foremost in my mind—academic, social and emotional well-being will be
4. I will guide students toward personal responsibility and the decision-making
skills they will need to function in the real world.
5. I will arrange consequences for problem situations in such a way that the child
will not be humiliated or demeaned.
6. Equal is not always fair. Consequences will be designed to fit the problems of
individual students, and they may be different even when problems appear to be
7. I will make every effort to ensure that, in each situation, the students involved
understand why they are involved in consequences.
8. If I at any time act or react in a way that a child truly feels is unjust, that
student need only say to me, “I’m not sure that’s fair.” I will arrange a private
conference during which the student can express to me why he or she feels my
actions were not fair.
This may or may not change my course of action. I am always open to calm,
rational discussion of any matter.