MYTH: GIVING WARNINGS WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES IS A GOOD IDEA.
FACT: GIVING WARNINGS WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES IS LAZY, AND ONE OF THE WORST MISTAKES THAT TEACHERS(AND PARENTS) MAKE.
The practice of giving multiple warnings without consequences is one of the biggest mistakes that teachers (and parents) make when it comes to discipline.
1) If students know that they can misbehave to a certain degree without receiving consequences then they will often push to see what they can get away with.
2) Teachers will struggle to be consistent with discipline if they get in the habit of giving multiple warnings.
3) Teachers lose respect from their students when they give warnings and do not back them up with consequences that they said they would give.
4) Teachers lose confidence in themselves when students do not behave when they have an inconsistent discipline plan.
The best strategy for teachers is to give consequences starting with the first warning. Even if the consequence is something as simple as a name on the board or in a book, the process of consequences for misbehaviors has begun. As student misbehaviors continue, the severity of the consequences should then increase. The idea is not to scare the students into behaving, but to let them know that there will be consequences for their actions.
The idea is the same for parents. When they are constantly giving warnings to their children without doing anything about it, their children know that they do not have to really pay attention to the warnings. The key for teachers and parents is to make sure that they come up with consequences that reasonably match the severity of the misbehaviors.
Please send me your questions and comments about discipline! I love hearing from people who are interested in the topic like I am. Thanks
I have often heard the advice given to teachers having discipline problems that the answer is to just teach a better lesson. “Just make an interesting lesson and the kids will fall right in line!” is often said. Give me a break. This kind of advice usually comes from people who have not taught in a long time, or who never taught at all. Having good discipline is not quite that simple.
MYTH: A GREAT LESSON IS THE ANSWER TO MOST DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS
TRUTH: A GREAT LESSON IS THE ANSWER TO SOME, BUT NOT MOST, DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS
These days, most young people are used to having all kinds of entertainment easily within their reach. Video games, movies, internet, texting, etc. are all easily accessible to most of them. To hope to compete with this kind of entertainment is a losing battle. Math, science, reading, and spanish are just not going to be thrilling enough in comparison, no matter how well the teacher presents them.
Whoever said that school was supposed to be entertaining, anyway? Outside of elementary school, this approach is one of the most damaging things that a teacher can do to students. School is not meant to be playtime. Sometimes students need to learn that everything does not have to be fun all the time to be worthwhile.
Should teachers do their best to make their lessons as interesting as possible? Of course. Should they try to be SO entertaining that the students have no choice but to be engaged beyond the point of even thinking about misbehaving? Get real.
Please send me your questions and comments about discipline! I love hearing from people who are interested in the topic like I am. I am more than happy to address these comments in future blogs. Thanks
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MYTH: THE BEST DISCIPLINE PLAN IS TO BE MEAN AT FIRST AND THEN LIGHTEN UP AS YOU GO
TRUTH: THE BEST DISCIPLINE PLAN IS TO HAVE RULES AND CONSEQUENCES THAT ARE SIMILAR IN SEVERITY
I talk to so many new teachers who tell me that being mean and then lightening up later is the ONLY advice about classroom management that they got while in college. How terrible! This is one of the reasons why I think my book, Discipline Without Anger, can be so helpful. New teachers are just not getting the training they need when it comes to classroom management.
This traditional discipline advice is bad for a few reasons:
1) If you start mean, that means that you actually have to get meaner and meaner to be able to sustain the control you gain.
2) Having to be mean all the time is extremely stressful.
3) This usually takes acting, which means that you will not be able to truly be yourself.
4) Young people respond to anger and intimidation less and less these days.
5) Your students will not perform as well as they could if there is an atmosphere of teacher vs. student in the class.
I am going to keep my writing for this week very simple--two top 5 lists:
HOW TO KNOW IF TEACHING IS NOT THE JOB FOR YOU:
1. You dread waking up every morning because of what faces you at school.
2. You count down every week until friday and every month until the next holliday.
3. You lack patience.
4. You want to be rich.
5. You don't like kids.
HOW TO KNOW IF TEACHING IS THE JOB FOR YOU:
1. You love your subject and you love young people.
2. You aren't too worried about making a ton of money.
3. You aren't afraid of public speaking.
4. You have extreme self control.
5. You like the idea of making a difference in people's lives.
Next week--mythbusting common myths about teaching and classroom discipline!
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