From My Classroom To Yours

Positive Discipline in the
Classroom



One of the most effective classroom management techniques is the use of positive discipline in the classroom rather than just punishment. If your students have a reason to show motivation in the classroom they will be more apt to stay on task and focus on learning.

How do You Create a Positive Classroom Climate?
There are five total things you can do to implement positive discipline in the classroom. If you do all of these things in conjunction with the next, you will have a positive classroom climate you can be proud to show off.

Positive Classroom Management Technique #1

The first thing is something you will hear me say over and over again - respect your students. For a child to give respect they must see it in action. If every single one of your students feels that you have respect for their ideas and contributions, you’re on your way to using positive discipline in the classroom. If you are a “screamer” and just haul off and yell every time someone is off task, you lose them all pretty quickly.

Anecdote: My first year as a teacher I was talking to a student who was 13 and much, much taller than me and I’m 5’8” so that’s pretty tall for a 7th grader!

The conversation went like this:

Him: So Miz D, we having a quiz after lunch today on nonfiction right?

Me: Yes Sir, we sure are.

Him: (shocked) Did you just call me sir?

Me: Yes Sir, I sure did. Why?

Him: Well I’m no sir.

Me: In my classroom you most certainly are.

Him: (thinks, smiles, nods) Cool. Yeah.

Funny enough I didn’t start off planning to call my students "sir" or "m'am" it was just one of those things I did. You can bet I’ve never stopped as every year at least one student will comment on it reinforcing what I suspected - they are just little adults crying out for "grown up treatment."

Positive Classroom Management Technique #2

The second most important thing to do in order to use positive discipline in the classroom is to point out the on task and fantastic behaviors instead of the negative, off task ones. For example, if I see that Jeremy is reading quietly and focused on his individual reading book I’ll say “thank you Jeremy for reading so quietly and with such interest right now.” When the other students hear this praise, the majority of them will scramble to “do the right thing” so they too can be singled out for good behavior. Simple but effective. The more you say “Matt, you should be reading right now!” the worse the behavior will most likely get.



Positive Classroom Management Technique #3
The third most important positive discipline in the classroom technique is nonverbal communication in the classroom. Instead of seeing someone writing notes from across the classroom and calling out to them “put that note away!” which only draws attention to the negative behavior, initiate eye contact with that person and slightly shake your head and hold up your book to show them what they should be doing.

Positive Classroom Management Technique #4
The fourth most important thing to do when implementing positive discipline in the classroom is to get up and walk around! A good teacher is a teacher always on the move. While you read, while you give notes, while you answer questions, while you discuss - whatever the task is, if you are constantly walking around the room it requires more students to be on task more of the time. If they never know where you’re going to be, they’ll most likely find it too risky to be off task.

Positive Classroom Management Technique #5
Finally, my secret to success for creating a positive classroom climate is a reward point system. My first year as a new middle school teacher I saw a variation of this and fell in love. After some tweaking to fit my teaching style, I’ve stuck with it ever since.

  • The whole class works on a point based system.
  • At the beginning of each day the class will start off with 5 points on the board.
  • Points are taken away when ANY student is off task or causing a disruption in our learning experience.
  • Points lost CANNOT be earned back in the same day.
  • At the end of each class period we will mark down the total points earned for that day on the track chart (located in an easily visible place).
  • When the class, as a whole, reaches the point goal (50-90 depending on the challenge) we will have a reward (decided upon by the class
  • and teacher).

Points are kept on the board and erased as they are lost. You have to be careful not to take away all the points or too many points in the beginning. They need motivation in the classroom and by allowing them to earn a few points for good behavior right off the bat, they start to take it more seriously. Be consistent. If a particular class has trouble coming in after lunch and getting settled, emphasize the use of the point system at that time. However you work it in your classroom, be consistent. If they are unsure of how and why they lose points the entire reward point system is ineffective.

For the times when positive discipline in the classroom doesn't work, be sure you have classroom discipline plans in place for the repeat offenders. Deal with them on an individual discipline basis so as not to continually penalize the whole class.


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