Articles for Teachers

Classroom Discipline Tips
By:Troy Alexander

New teachers often struggle with classroom discipline. It can be difficult to manage so many students while trying to instruct them at the same time. The following tips might be helpful to new teachers when it comes to managing discipline in the classroom. A well-disciplined class means you will have fewer disruptions and interruptions throughout the day.

1. Be fair. Students pick up quickly on whether or not you are treating them equally. If you want respect, you will have to discipline each child fairly. Even otherwise good students should receive punishment if they do something wrong. If you need help keeping track of how you handle each situation, use one of your teacher lanyards to keep a "cheat sheet." Write down disciplinary actions on the sheet and refer to them the next time an incident comes up.

2. Don't get easier on the students as time goes on. You probably know that students have a knack for testing the waters. They quickly learn what they can get away with. So keep to your discipline plan and don't get lax. Otherwise your disruptions and issues will only continue to increase.

3. Try to avoid confrontations in front of the class. Confrontations tend to end with a winner and a loser. As the authority figure, you need to maintain order in the class. Dealing with discipline problems in private can be a better way to resolve the issues, as students don't have to "save face" in front of their classmates.

4. Deal with problems immediately, and try to limit the amount of disruption the disciplinary action requires. For example, when a group of students are talking instead of taking time out to chastise the student and remind them of the rules, it might be more effective to simply ask one of the students in the group a question related to the lesson.

5. Use humor to get the lesson back on track. Be careful though not to confuse sarcasm and humor. Humor can diffuse a situation but sarcasm can undermine the relationship you have with your students. Always use your best judgment when dealing with problematic students.

6. Never lower your expectations. If you don't expect your students to behave appropriately, they probably won't. Reinforce your expectations with the way you address your students. For example before you begin a new section, you might say, "I expect that during this section all of you will raise your hands to be called on before speaking. I also expect that each of you will listen to what your classmates have to say."

7. Plan, plan, plan. The last thing you want to have is "free" time. This will encourage chatter in the classroom and give students the impression that you don't value academics. If you over plan, you won't run out of lesson material. And if you don't reach all of the material for the day, you've got the next lesson plan already started.

8. Make sure everyone understands the rules. Keep them clear and simple.

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