Effective Discipline Strategies that Help with Learning
Consider Journal Writing
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How well students manage their own behavior in the class depends on their motivation.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
Teachers need to present rewards so that students find their motivation is for their own personal gain (intrinsic motivation) and not because they deserve the external reward (extrinsic motivation) the teacher has promised.
Gifts as rewards are always fun to receive, but students should know that the most important point in the reward system is to choose good behavior because it is important for one’s own happiness.
In other words, students should be looking at their intrinsic motivation – achieving rewards, and avoiding consequences, not for external gains, but because they want to work hard for their own happiness and success.
Effective Discipline Strategies
When students are told what discipline means and what rewards and consequences are a part of the discipline routine, then we can consider rewards and consequences as one means of effective discipline strategies.
Rewards are seen as tools for motivation.
However, this idea of rewards and how effective they will be in behavior management depends on two factors; age and the kind of motivation.
Age (K - 5th Grade)
Students in the primary stages (K – 5 grades) look at rewards as a way to connect with their teacher and consequences as preventing them from connecting with their teacher.
The more rewards they get, the more their teacher likes them and sees them as a good student.
Types of Rewards (K - 5th)
Age (6th - 12th Grade)
Students in the middle stages (6th – 12th grade) don’t see rewards as important in connecting with their teacher, because they generally see the value of connecting with peers to be more important.
Types of Rewards (6th - 12th)
Students in this age group delight in receiving the extra points they need to get those ever important high grades!
Teachers should be honest in offering extra points for work done that shows appreciation and recognition as to the dedicated efforts students are making with their learning.
While it is tempting to do so, teachers should avoid offering sweets or candy as rewards for improvements in learning.
For both age groups, the reward systems should be set up so that all students have a fair chance at gaining rewards, so as to help them find the intrinsic motivation they need to keep themselves well behaved and learning during the lesson.
When students are not fulfilling their responsibilities in the classroom when it comes to their behavior or their work, or if they are caught cheating, teachers should have students reflect on these issues.
These types of consequences will get students thinking as to how their behavior should be so as to not cause problems for themselves and those around them.
Behavior Issues Impacting Learning
Students need to be aware of the consequences of their behavior as a way of understanding how their negative attitudes and behaviors are hurting their learning.
Negative behaviors include not listening to others in the classroom, refusing to do work, or arguing/fighting in the classroom.
Homework Issues Impacting Learning
Why do teachers give homework?
Well the answer is to help reinforce learning outside the classroom.
Homework teaches students about responsibility.
When students fail to meet this responsibility time and time again, it hurts their learning.
The consequences for not taking responsibilities is again to reflect on what effects their lack of responsibility has to not only themselves, but to those around them.
Consequences that make students think about their actions, will make more of a positive impact on a student, then if they had something taken away, or worse, made to feel embarrassed or ashamed for what they did.
If classroom management is made easier, then teaching and learning is made easier, and that means more time for interesting and valuable discussions can take place making learning enjoyable for everyone!
Discipline strategies are ways in which students recognize thier own behavior leads to actions which can lead to negative consequences if not managed correctly. What they are not is a form of punishment.
Discipline vs. Punishment
Discipline should not be the same as punishment.
Punishment using harsh actions or words may be intended to correct students’ negative behavior, but it has shown to do more damage to children’s confidence and self-esteem.
Punishment has no place in the classroom. The attitudes and work students show in the classroom, and the teacher’s response can impact on their mental health and their learning.
Free Resources for Discipline Strategies
We provide free resources to help teachers deal with behavior and homework issues in the classroom.
Note: The resources we offer below work best for students in grades 4 and older. Join us below to download your free copy of our behavior and homework reflection sheets.
Behavior Reflection Sheet
This sheet has the student firsts recognize the wrong behavior that got them the sheet in the first place.
Homework Reflection Sheet
This sheet has the student first explain their lack of responsibility that got them the sheet in the first place.
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The dynamics in the classroom have changed since schools no longer allowed physical punishments as a form of discipline.
While the threat of physical punishment may have silenced the expressions of thought, it didn’t do much in the way of intrinsic motivation – which is what really matters and what helps students improve their behavior and learning.
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