Managing discipline in theclassroomMamadou Mountagha DIOPThies ATES ELDJune 2013
Classroom management and discipline managementClassroom managementClassroom management is very large andrelates to teacher’s overall organizationalmanagement of all the parameters thatconcur to the process of teaching andlearning; it encompasses time and space,relationships, activities, materials andequipment, attendance, etc.
Classroom management and discipline managementDiscipline management• Discipline management focusses on oneaspect of classroom management: studentbehavior, viz. expected behavior in class andconsequences of misbehavior
Challenges to discipline• Various levels of severity including :– Extreme cases: weapons in class, class or school rebellionagainst a teacher or school authority, rejection of teacher byclass, fist fight between student and teacher or student andstudent, foul language, insults and other forms of languageabuse, offensive gestures, theft (Some of those cases may evenend up in a court of justice).– Mild cases: unauthorized movements in and out of class,tardiness, chattering, homework undone …• New forms of challenges– ICTS: ringing phones, text messaging, playing games,accessing social networks– Dressing: check-downs– Sexual ‘aggressions’ (sts) and blackmailing (teachers)• Failure to learn something or apply a rule (ofgrammar, for ex.) is not an ac of indiscipline!
Nature of issue• Students in high schools at critical stages indevelopmental process: childhood → puberty → earlyadulthood (questions, uncertainties, challenges …)• Discipline norms and challenges are generation-(smoking at school, check-downs, dreadlocks, language...) and culture- related. (Non-conformism in our days,for ex.)• A matter of context:– Almost all classroom discipline management resources available in theInternet are heavily culture- and context-based (Culture referring to boththe culture(s) of the society or the educational culture, with specificbehavioral patterns and norms).– >> Techniques, strategies and rules need re-contextualizing.
A cross-curricular issue• Is discipline management an issue specific toTEFL?– If so, what is specific in TEFL that generates adifferent classroom behavior and subsequent specificclassroom management strategy?» More opportunities for personal expression» Group work as source of noise and disruption• Discipline is a school thing, involving schoolcommunity: students, teachers, principal, parentsand local and national educational authorities. Cf.Ndiass, Nioro, etc, where parents even sided with students against teachers
Classroom & school rulesClassroom rules regulate student behavior withinthe classroom.School rules regulate student behavior within theschool premises and outside of the premises in caseof external school events (outings).Congruence of classroom rules with schoolrules: a must for consistency of message onacceptable and expected student behavior
Mutations in our society• Education not occurring in a vacuum but in a real Senegalese society– Schools (students, teachers, administrative staff, parents) can only reflecttheir society– Shifting values in a de-structured / destructuring society (which doesntimpôts sty is getting worse)Values of old Today’s anti-values• Respect for authority• (elders, parents, teachers)• High sense of honor• Endurance• Courage• Generosity• Determination• Truthfulness• Etc.• Challenge ofauthority• Hypocrisy• Materialism• Over-ambition• Cheating• Lying• Selfishness• Etc.
Mutations in schools• Schools / education on discipline management today as opposed to 20 or30 years ago: shift from education to mere instruction• School and student supervision context:– Students left to themselves with little or no supervision and un-preparedness for self-supervision: large classes with up to 120 students,very few supervisors, no more yard supervisors• Students’ social backgrounds (suburbs, rural...), Insufficient motivationand high rate of failure, changing view of the role of school• Lack of initial training for most teachers with experiences ranging from 1to 5 years,• School leadership: most school heads untrained and some evencompromised• Insufficient involvement of parents in school life• Students usually spend more time at school and in the streets than withtheir families
Students as a source of disruption• Their numbers and hiding behind numbers and anonymity• Natural tendency for fun and play• Their backgrounds• Their temporary exhaustion and relapse (lack of focus, Howlong can they stay focused at any given age?• They often underestimate discipline breach and cannotpredict the consequences. (‘GARAAWUL’)N:B: Neither angels nor demons, students should be taken as theyare: young, immature, vulnerable people learning to becomerespectable and respectful men and women serving themselvesand their society
The teacher as a source of disruption• Teachers are sometimes the problem.• Excessive authority will not make up for your ownincompetence:– Lack of command of subject– Inappropriate teaching strategies– Poor design of learning teaching activity organization– Complacency– Unfairness, etc.• Lack of self-confidence is a source of chaos in theclassroom.• Students receive different messages on discipline fromteachers.
Solitary or shared exercise of politicalpower in the classroom?• High but realistic expectations– How much control do you want to have over your class?– How much control is reasonable?– Who are the stakeholders in discipline management?– What political role or how much political power forstakeholders?– Appreciation of specific aspects of behavior depending onteacher view: some teachers are more or less strict, more orless lenient, which students know!– A participatory and inclusive approach (gender, ethnicgroup, handicap) to discipline management• je suis sage, à ma place...
Caveats• Acts of indiscipline are symptoms of deeper problems.• Losing control of yourself is the first stage in losing control of theclass. For some children this is scary. For many others, it isentertainment. If they can provoke a teacher into losing their ragthen they will do it again and again until the teacher has anervous breakdown. http://changingminds.org/disciplines/teaching/classroom_management/losing_it.htm• Giving students grades for discipline: on what basis, what is theyardstick, what is measured, can it be measured? does it have tobe measured at all ?• Bribing students to obtain peace will not give you the return oninvestment you expect.• Sending a student out is illegal and pregnant with danger for thestudent and the teacher• Regular recourse to school administration on discipline matterswill label you as incompetent and weak.
Tips• Know your subject (story of the French teacher of math in Kl who moved to Zig.)• Do your homework before coming to class: No fumbling!• Maintain students interest and focus: organize learning inactivities that engage all and each student with anappropriate timing and level of challenge• Motivate your learners• Some humor will contribute to a learning-friendlyatmosphere• Be fair• Do not try to humiliate a student!
Tips – Proactivity• Be proactive– Know your students– Give your students the respect you expect from them inreturn (You with the big head !!)– Involve students in defining classroom rules (and sanctions)aimed at creating and maintaining an atmosphere conduciveto learning– Share responsibility for rule enforcement with students– Make students decide what to do in case of breach of rules– Post list of rules on wall– Be the first to respect the rules– Share on the rules with parents if possible
Tips – Crisis management• Face the crisis as a teacher– Laugh it out if it’s not too serious– Do not blow trivial incidents out of proportions.– Temporary removal of student from class following schoolprocedures– Address the behavior not the student (the person)– Do not discipline the student while you are angry– Avoid confrontations with students, esp. in front of otherstudents, esp. of the other sex– Avoid any physical contact with students– It’s wise to sometimes retreat (no shame).
Conclusions• Enforcing rules requires both firmness and flexibility.• School and classroom rules regulate students’behavior, not teachers’ behavior.• Teachers have their own professional code ofconduct they abide by.• Though understanding and caring, the teacher is NOTthe punching ball to vent frustrations on.
Some quotes• "In a completely rational society, the best of us wouldaspire to be teachers and the rest of us would have tosettle for something less, because passing civilizationalong from one generation to the next ought to be thehighest honor and the highest responsibility anyonecould have." Lee Iacocca• “I am indebted to my father for living, but to myteacher for living well”― Alexander the Great• "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacherexplains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The greatteacher inspires." ~William Arthur Ward• http://712educators.about.com/od/teachereducation/a/teachingquotes.htm
More quotes• If your plan is for a year, plant rice. If your plan is for a decade,plant trees. If your plan is for a lifetime, educate children. - Confucius• Dont try to fix the students, fix ourselves first. The good teachermakes the poor student good and the good student superior.When our students fail, we, as teachers, too, have failed.Marva Collins quotes• If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach theway they learn. -Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada