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Chapter 4 Foundations of Today's Best  Systems of Discipline. Megan, David, Kevin, Gidget, Chris "The Disciplinarians". Understanding Group Dynamics: Fritz Redl and William Wattenberg. 1951:first theory-based, humane classroom discipline

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chapter 4 foundations of today s best systems of discipline

Chapter 4Foundations of Today's Best Systems of Discipline

Megan, David, Kevin, Gidget, Chris

"The Disciplinarians"


Understanding Group Dynamics: Fritz Redl and William Wattenberg

  • 1951:first theory-based, humane classroom discipline
  • How does group behavior affect individual behavior?
  • Group dynamics precede individual behavior
  • Student roles: leader, follower, clown, instigator, and scapegoat
  • Teacher roles: referee, judge, surrogate parent, etc.
  • Be aware of roles and encourage or discourage certain roles
  • Use influence techniques over punishment
    • Supporting self-control
    • Situational assistance
    • Appraising reality
  • Involve students in discussions of class rules and consequences
    • This technique would not be widely used until years later
  • Overall, most teachers did not convert their classrooms to follow Redl and Wattenberg’s ideas when these ideas were nw

Principles of Behavior Shaping: B. F. Skinner

  • Behavior modification
  • Reinforcing stimulus
    • Constant reinforcement
    • Intermittent reinforcement 
  • Shaping behavior done through successive approximation
  • Reinforcement not used by teachers exclusively for discipline
    • Skinner's great accomplishment 

Behavior as Choice: William Glasser

  • School without Failure, 1969, a classic educational book
  • In 1965, Glasser pioneered reality therapy, which
    • Focuses on the present
    • Stays away from criticizing and blaming
    • Remains nonjudgmental and noncoercive
    • Doesn’t get bogged down in excuses
    • Works on a specific, workable plan to reconnect with people
    • Shows patience and support for the troubled person while also remaining focused on the problem, disconnectedness
  • Schools without Failure applied reality therapy to the classroom and added 3 new ideas
    • Failure damages motivation. All students should feel some success.
    • Students choose to misbehave. Teachers need to influence choices.
    • Classroom meetings make students a part of the reflection and solution. Behavior tends to improve when students are involved.
  • Teachers liked the student-centered approach as opposed to Skinner’s teacher-centered approach

Scenario 1You are an English teacher for 9th graders at Normal High School in Philadelphia, PA.  You have spent the past two weeks trying to teach Romeo and Juliet, but you have noticed that two members of the class are not paying attention and are disrupting the class at various times.  In order to encourage their participation, you have increased your praise for the students if they participate in the class.1. What theorist are you?  What information helped you make that decision?2. Do you agree or disagree with this strategy?  Why or why not?


Lesson Management: Jacob Kounin

  • Good discipline not dependent on what teachers do when misbehavior occurs but how they presented lessons
    • Well behaved classes -
      • Withitness
      • Keep students alert, on task, involved
      • Keep students accountable
      • Momentum
      • Avoid satiation

Congruent Communication: Haim Ginott

  • Teacher and Child (1971) 
    • Genuine Discipline - discipline through example
    • Laconic Language - clarity of intent
    • Students as Social Equals - students capable of good decisions
    • Sane Messages - deal with present situation, do not dwell on past infractions nor student's character

Human Needs and Democratic Teaching: Rudolf Dreikurs

    • Need For Belonging
    • Democratic Classroom - students are involved in making rules
    • mistaken goals:
      • attention - talk out, show off, interrupt
      • power - showing that teacher can not make student do anything
      • revenge - lying, subverting class activities, disrupting the class
      • inadequacy - withdrawing, no effort to learn
    • Best way to correct misbehavior:
      • identify mistaken goal
      • discuss mistaken goal with student

Scenario 2

A high school calculus class is learning how to use their graphing calculators to visualize a difficult problem.  Teaching this involves both clear communication, and self discipline of the students to follow the prescribed steps.  Two of the students in the back seem to be more engrossed in their calculators as a student should be for such a problem.  Upon inspection, the teacher finds that a game has been installed on the students' calculators.  The teacher responds, "I do not believe it is right to distract yourselves with games during class.  Start by typing in y=2x..."  The teacher simply corrected the behavior, and continued on with instruction.  The teacher also did not punish the students by deleting the game.  The students, understand what the correct behavior is, and do not dwell on the bad behavior, but simply move on with the lesson.  Treated as social equals, over time the students decide to respect the teacher and not play games during class.

1. Which of the educational thinkers has influenced this discipline style?

2. Which discipline theories are being utilized?

3. What problems might occur with this strategy? 

4. Why would this strategy work well?  Or why not?


Assertive Discipline: Lee and Marlene Canter

  • Assertive Discipline was a theory that became popular in 1976 and was widely used for 20 years.
    • Assertive Discipline: A Take-Charge approach for Today's Educator.
  • Insisted on a well structured plan that provided rights for the students to learn and for the teachers to teach.
    • A calm and orderly classroom revolved around three aspects:
      • Clear set of rules
      • Positive Consequences
      • Negative Consequences (Hierarchy of Unpleasantness)
  • They later outlined three types of teachers due to criticisms of being too controlling:
    • Hostile Teachers
    • Nonassertive Teachers
    • Assertive Teachers

Responsibility and Inner Discipline: Barbara Coloroso

  • Teach students to conduct themselves in acceptable manner
  • Self-control
    • Classrooms ideal place to learn this
  • Teachers help students learn self-control and inner discipline
  • Restitution
  • Resolution
  • Reconciliation
  • Student makes decisions for future behavior
    • Students control lives through decisions they make; teachers are guides

Classroom Learning Communities: Alfie Kohn

  • “We act as though our goal is short-term retention of right answers rather than genuine understanding.”
  • Advocates non-traditional methods of teaching that promotes group thinking, respect, student guided education, and authentic interest.
    • Feels that typical approaches such as lecture, demonstration, quizzes and test focus on short term goals.
    • Mistakes are part of learning, not to be held against a student.
  • Ways to develop learning communities, places where student care about each others growth and feel safe:
    • Respect
    • Connect (classroom meetings)
    • Reflect

Scenario 3

It is the first week of the year in your 8th grade Math Class. You spend  a day on introductions and then you jump into new material. After about a week many of the students are clearly not following the new math principles, which is leading to an increase of misbehavior. The next Monday you decide to try a student led discussion to find out what is not working for them. You also try to find out how math can relate to current interests. This new strategy seems to help. Students are asking more questions with actual interests and in turn are self disciplining themselves better.

Which educator's strategy does this approach most resemble? How so?

How could this potentially go wrong? And what will you do different at the beginning of next year?