I believe that an effective philosophy of student discipline must have several components. First, the philosophy must include a way to inform the students of classroom rules and expectations. Second, the philosophy must include a way to remind students of the policy and enforce the rules. Finally, teachers must be prepared to discipline the students should the need arise.
Beginning on the first day of class, students should be made aware of classroom rules and expectations. These rules should be given and/or explained to the students as well as posted in the classroom. Rules may vary depending on the age and maturity of a given class. These rules may include (1) being prepared for class, (2) speaking one at a time and only when called upon, (3) respecting others, (4) asking permission to leave seats/use the restroom, (5) paying attention and taking notes, and (6) getting notes/assignments from another student if absent.
If a student is breaking a rule, then several attempts should be made to remind the student of the rule before disciplining him. First, the teacher should continue teaching and simply give the student the "evil eye" or stand near the student. In most cases, looking at the student will remind the student of the rules, and physical proximity will cause the student to cease the behavior simply so that the teacher will move away. If these methods do not work, the teacher should find a short assignment for the class to do and then speak quietly to the student who is misbehaving. This verbal reminder may be enough to change the studentís behavior. (It is important that the teacher should find an activity for the other students to complete while speaking with the disobedient student, as many students thrive upon the attention of others.) Finally, if speaking to the student during class is not effective, the teacher may choose to speak to the student after class to try to discover what the problem was and attempt to find a solution.
In the few cases where the above strategies do not work, one or more of the following strategies should be tried: The teacher may telephone, email, or write the parent/guardian to discuss the studentís behavior and set up a conference if needed. The teacher may speak with other faculty members to see if another teacher has a similar behavior problem and has found a solution. The teacher could check the studentís file to see if the behavior might have a medical basis. As a last resort, the teacher could give the student detention or send the student to the office.
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