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Discipline. Is Not A Dirty Word! Or Is It? @adapted by Dr. Douglas Gosse. A wee yarn….

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Is Not A Dirty Word! Or Is It?

@adapted by Dr. Douglas Gosse

a wee yarn
A wee yarn…
  • We are storytelling organisms. For thousands or years, this is how we transmit, share, and create knowledge and rapport. Embrace storytelling as a strategy to connect with students, and vice versa…encourage the telling of stories and subjectivity. Use your own personal experience, or stories from pop culture, e.g. movies, TV, novels, non-fiction.
identify student s behaviour
Identify Student’s Behaviour
  • Usually kids misbehave because they want something
  • The first step of Cooperative Discipline is to find out exactly what the student wants
  • Usually the student had one of four goals:
  • Attention
  • Power
  • Revenge
  • Avoidance of Failure
  • Some students choose misbehavior to get extra attention.
  • They distract teachers and classmates to gain an audience and special recognition.
  • Typical behaviors include making noises, using foul language, and creating unnecessary interruptions during class time.
  • Some students want to be the
  • These students aren’t likely to comply with classroom rules or teacher requests. They will challenge and argue with teachers until they think they’ve had the "last word."
  • Some students want to lash out at their teachers or classmates to get even for real or imagined hurts.
  • may sometimes threaten physical harm or get indirect physical revenge by breaking, damaging, or stealing. They also may try to manipulate you into feeling hurt or guilty.
avoidance of failure
Avoidance of Failure:
  • Some students feel inadequate because they believe they can’t live up to expectations.
  • To compensate, they behave in ways that make them appear inadequate, by procrastinating, not completing their work, or pretending to have a disability.
deal with the misbehavior immediately
Deal With the Misbehavior Immediately
  • Does every misbehavior really have one of these four goals? Of course not; yet these four goals can help you classify the misbehaviors more than 90 percent of the time.
  • After you have categorized the misbehavior, you’ll want to choose specific interventions for dealing with that type of behavior. Give these strategies a try:
  • Give "the eye" so the student knows you mean business.
  • Stand close to the student and continue your lesson.
  • Distract the student by asking a direct question or using the student’s name while continuing your lesson.
  • Give specific praise to a nearby student who’s on task.
  • Avoid direct confrontation by agreeing with the student or changing the subject.
  • Acknowledge the student’s power and state your actions: "You’re right, I can’t make you finish the math problems, but I’ll be collecting the assignment at the end of the class."
  • Change the activity, do something unexpected, or initiate another class discussion on a topic of interest.
  • Use time-out by giving a choice: "You may sit quietly, keep your hands and feet to yourself, and complete the assignment, or you may go to time-out in Mr. Weber’s room. You decide."
  • Revoke a privilege, such as not allowing the student to use play equipment.
  • Build a caring relationship by using affirmation statements that give the message: "You’re okay, but your choice of behavior is not."
  • Require the return, repair, or replacement of damaged objects.
  • Involve school personnel or parents if necessary.
avoidance of failure12
Avoidance of Failure:
  • Acknowledge the difficulty of the assigned task, but remind the student of past successes he had doing similar tasks.
  • Modify instruction, and materials.
  • Teach the student to say "I can" instead of "I can’t" by recognizing achievements.
  • Provide peer tutors or ask the student to help someone else, perhaps a younger student, to help build self-confidence.
provide some encouragement
Provide some encouragement
  • Remember the Pygmalion Theory? Review this!
  • Encouragement techniques are neither time-consuming nor difficult to learn. Commit to using them daily and your students will feel like valuable members of the classroom. Strategies for encouraging students fall into three categories:
Capable:Students need to feel capable of completing their work in a satisfactory manner. How?
  • Create an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes.
  • Build confidence by focusing on improvement and on past successes.
  • Make your learning objectives reachable for all students.
  • Use those Anecdotal Notes positively while being UBER conscious of the Pygmalion Theory!

Connect:Students need to believe they can develop positive relationships with teachers and classmates. How?

  • Be accepting of all students, regardless of past misbehavior.
  • Give attention by listening and showing interest in their activities outside of class.
  • Show appreciation by praise or written notes.
  • Use affirmation statements that are specific and enthusiastic about a student’s good behavior or abilities.
  • Build affectionate relationships with simple acts of kindness.
Contribute: Students need to contribute to the welfare of the class so they feel like they make a difference. How?
  • Involve them in maintaining the learning environment by holding class meetings.
  • Ask for suggestions when decisions need to be made.
  • Use cooperative learning groups frequently.
  • Encourage peer tutoring.
"We can't teach the students we used to have. Or those we wish we had. We must teach the students we do have."

- Linda Albert

from my mother verna gosse an experienced retired teacher
From my Mother, Verna Gosse – An Experienced, Retired Teacher

Advice to a novice teacher in 1990:

“If you smile at that student, you may be the only person who smiled at them all day, perhaps all week! Treat them as good as you’d like to be treated. Put them first . . .”


Albert, L. (1989). A Teacher's Guide to Cooperative Discipline, How to Manage Your Classroom and Promote Self-Esteem. Circle Pines, Minnesota: American Guidance Services, Inc.

Albert, L. (1996a). Cooperative Discipline. Circle Pines, Minnesota: American Guidance Services, Inc.

Albert, L. (1996b). Discipline: Is It a Dirty Word? Retrieved November 8, 2005, from http://www.agsnet.com/staffdev/cd_dirty.asp