Positive Discipline in the Classroom

Positive Discipline in the Classroom

If you’re familiar with the concept of positive discipline, you know it’s based on the concept of mutual respect—or, the way I like to think of it, treating kids like people and expecting to be treated like a person yourself! It’s much like the Love and Logic concept with your own children. Rather than yelling, punishing, humiliating and living in a combative environment, it fosters calm discussion, logical and natural consequences, and a generally positive atmosphere.

I’ve taught a class in chaos before—fifth graders can get rowdy and excitable!—and I know how it feels to have everything out of control. Using positive discipline is a much more effective program than yelling, whispering, talking to the wall or any of those little “tricks” you learn along the way. It’s also more constructive, as it doesn’t just help with classroom management, but also with teaching your students even more skills that they will need in life.

Positive discipline works around the concept of class meetings for successful classroom management. This helps you create a “classroom climate that enhances academic learning” by encouraging students (instead of using empty praising), really understanding why kids behave the way they do (there’s always a reason!), and providing them with lifelong skills to use socially and in the business world through the meetings themselves, in which they discuss problems, logical consequences, concerns, and rules.

The only negative drawbacks to the program that most people cite is that it’s too time consuming for them to try. I have found that these people haven’t even given it a try for fear of the time it will eat up. Yes, it does take a bit of time in the beginning—but once implemented, it only takes minutes a day to enforce. How many times do you have your students doing busy worksheets, watching videos, or having free time that could all be spent on this program?

Look, I know you think your job is to hit your district’s objectives, and to also prepare kids for tests they have to take to get your school money on top of it all. That’s a tough order to fill! But aren’t teachers really supposed to be getting kids ready for the real world outside of the classroom? Yelling, punishing and other traditional means of management aren’t going to accomplish this. From experience we know this only makes kids more sulky, reluctant to listen, and often more aggressive. Why not implement a little positive discipline instead? Once you master the concepts yourself you will have no problem integrating it naturally every day.

I highly recommend the positive discipline program to any teacher, parent, or child caregiver. It’s truly a logical, worthwhile concept that works. With a little effort, we can help teach our children to become responsible, respectful, people who make good decisions at any age.