the essentials of discipline a summary of Secrets of Discipline by Ronald G. Morrish, 2004
the history of discipline Children are to be seen, not heard 1960’s 1970’s Children should not be inhibited Children should be reinforced with rewards and deterred with consequences 1980’s 1990’s present Children should have choices; they will learn from the consequence of their choices Are children overly submissive and lacking independence? Are children turning into spoiled brats? Is behaviour modification cold and impersonal conditioning for children? Are children learning right from wrong, or are they learning how to find personally advantageous solutions?
where are we now? Ronald G. Morrish suggests 3 important building blocks to sound discipline TRAIN compliance TEACH skills MANAGE choices
key 1 Never give a choice when it comes to limits. ~ don’t substitute choices for limits ~ avoid “if…., then… statements ~ avoid “ok?” ~ try instead: “ No fighting” “ First, finish your math” “ That’s rude. We don’t speak that way.”
key 2 If you bargain for compliance now, you’ll beg for it later. ~ when did everything become a deal? ~ do you recognize these: the balk, immunity, the sneak, not me!, the reversal, the intimidator ~ rewards and consequences only escalate ~ Discipline will fail some children ie: impulsive, ADD, ADHD IMPORTANT: ~ there is nothing that we can do to some children that is worse than what life is already doing. Step in and help.
key 3 When children are well-trained, it is habit forming. ~ no choices, no bargains, no threats ~ not achieved with rewards and consequences ~ requires direct supervision and direct instruction ~ compliance is built on little compliances; start small
Key 4 Rules worth having, are rules worth enforcing. ~ behaviour you ignore is behaviour you permit ~ punishment only works if it is a rare event ~ strategies: insistence & natural authority, “It’s my job” ~ do not show anger- a child translates this as how unfair you are being ~ model the behaviour you want to see in children
key 5 Behaviour that needs to be learned, needs to be taught. ~ responsible behaviour must be taught ~ forget “time outs”, try “do-overs” ~ try positive practice, not punishment
key 6 Today’s practice is tomorrow’s performance. ~ timing is everything ~ behaviour skills are best taught when they are not needed Then… ~ reminders are better than threats
key 7 Independence isn’t ‘doing your own thing’; it’s doing what’s right on your own. ~ self-discipline needs to be taught ~ “Would you have made the same decision if I was standing beside you?” So… ~ “Why do you need me standing next to you for you to make a good decision?”
key 8 Keep responsible decisions in responsible hands. ~ Teaching children is not always a democracy: Adults must be willing to make decisions that are adult decisions to make.
key 9 Discipline comes best from the heart. ~ Your relationship with a child is the single greatest factor in determining the outcome of discipline ~ It affects how the child sees discipline and how they will respond ~ know and care for your students
key 10 Beware of self-indulgence disguised as self-esteem. ~ rewards and consequences do not intrinsically motivate ~ don’t rely on motivation, instead teach children the skills for doing tasks that interest them along with the skills for doing tasks that don’t interest them. ~ self-esteem should be firmly rooted in reality
key 11 Prevention is the best solution. ~ there are few great solutions to problems after they have occurred ~ sound discipline is proactive and relies on prevention
key 12 There is no great discipline without great commitment. ~ sound discipline is a process, not an event ~we live in a busy world, which is why rewards and consequences have become so popular- a quick fix ~ move away from this and take the time… start small