Rudolf Dreikurs (February 8, 1897, Vienna – May 25, 1972, Chicago) was an American psychiatrist and educator who developed psychologist Alfred Adler’s system of individual psychology into a pragmatic method for understanding the purposes of reprehensible behavior in children and for stimulating cooperative behavior without punishment or reward.
CONTRIBUTIONS… • In 1952, Dreikurs organized a group of followers of Adlerian Psychology to found the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology.. He was an active leader in the organization until his death. • He suggested that human misbehavior is the result of feeling a lack of belonging to one's social group. When this happens the child acts from one of four "mistaken goals": undue attention, power, revenge or avoidance (inadequacy).His overall goal was that students would learn to cooperate reasonably without being penalized or rewarded because they would feel that they are valuable contributors to the classroom.
What Driekurs believed in… • believed that discipline is based on mutual respect, which motivates students to behave constructively because of their high sense of social interest. Dreikurs believed that all humans have a primary need to belong and feel part of a group. Dreikurs also believed that all students desire to feel they have value and to feel they can contribute to the classroom. Dreikurs called this need to belong the genuine goal of human social behavior.
Dreikurs believed that when students are not able to gain their genuine goal of belonging they turn to a series of mistaken goals. Mistaken goals are defined as attention, power, revenge and inadequacy. This is when students misbehave. The mistaken goals are listed in order of difficulty to treat. If the student fails to achieve the amount of recognition they desire, then, they travel into the next stage. Students, whom do not have a sense of belonging, attempt to gain attention from peers and the teacher. When students are not satisfied with their attempt at gaining attention, they often seek power by refusing to do what a teacher asks. When student’s attempts at seeking power fail, they may seek revenge through behaviors such as defacing property, cheating or spreading lies. When all else fails students may display inadequacy by withdrawing and refusing to participate in classroom activities.
THE SOCIAL DISCIPLINE MODEL… • Only a few people investigate the conditions present in particular situations. We make assumptions and believe that these assumptions are true. Human beings all have a need to belong and be accepted. When a student is unsuccessful in obtaining acceptance, a pattern of misbehavior begins. All misbehavior is the result of a child’s mistaken assumption about how to find a place and gain status.
FOUR TYPES OF GOALS… • Attention getting • Power and control • Revenge • Helplessness or inadequacy
WEAKNESS’S of this MODEL… • If the teacher feels annoyed, then the child’s goal is attention getting. • If the teacher feels beaten or intimidated, then the child’s goal is power. • If the teacher feels hurt, then the child’s goal is revenge. • If the teacher feels incapable, then the child’s goal is helplessness.
Dreikurs did not believe in the use of punishment, reinforcement or praise. Instead, he believes that natural/logical consequences and the process of encouragement are the most useful techniques for preventing discipline problems. Praise vs. Encouragement According to Dreikurs, encouragement is more important than any other aspect of child raising because a misbehaving child is a discouraged child.
Praise: • Praise is a reward given for a completed achievement. • Praise tells students they have satisfied the demands of others. • Praise is patronizing. The person who praises has a superior position. • Praise stimulates competition. • Praise stimulates selfishness.
Encouragement… Encouragement is a acknowledgement of an effort. Encouragement helps students evaluate their own performance. Encouragement is a message between equals. Encouragement stimulates cooperation. Encouragement stimulates helpfulness.
Teachers should… • Give clear-cut directions for the actions expected of students. Wait until you have the attention of all class members before giving directions. • Establish a relationship with each individual based on trust and mutual respect. • Use logical consequences instead of traditional punishment. The consequence must bear a direct relationship to the behavior and must be understood by the students. • See each behavior in its proper perspective. In this way, you will avoid making serious issues out of trivial incidents. • Let students assume greater responsibility for their own behavior and learning.
Teachers should not… • Nag and scold as this is likely to strengthen a student's regrettable concept on how to get attention. • Work to obtain a promise from a student. Most students will promise to change in order to free themselves from an uncomfortable situation. Requiring a student to give you a promise is a sheer waste of time. • Find fault with students. It may hurt their self-esteem and discourage them. • Adopt double standards - we are all familiar with these. • Use threats as a method to discipline students. Although some students may become intimidated and conform for the moment, threats have no lasting value. They do not lead to a change in a student's basic attitude.