Defining Discipline In The Classroom

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa]On: 20 December 2014, At: 01:49Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Action in Teacher EducationPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Defining Discipline In TheClassroomSylvester Kohut aa Department of Secondary Education and Foundations ,Tennessee Technological UniversityPublished online: 17 Jul 2012.</p><p>To cite this article: Sylvester Kohut (1978) Defining Discipline In The Classroom, Action inTeacher Education, 1:2, 11-15, DOI: 10.1080/01626620.1978.10518951</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information(the Content) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor&amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warrantieswhatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purposeof the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are theopinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed byTaylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor andFrancis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands,costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever causedarising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of theuse of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expresslyforbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Defining Discipline In The ClassroomThis article provides the reader with a definition ofthe problem and dilemma which</p><p>educators face when having to make decisions about school behavior. The problemand dilemma are complex with several alternative philosophies and practices availablefrom which to choose. Having to decide on an appropriate response to behavioral inci-dents is a continuing part ofbeing an educator, and making an appropriate response isfrequently not easy because circumstances and personalities vary and what is right oreffective in one situation is not necessarily so in another.</p><p>THE PROBLEM</p><p>Since the early colonial days, essays on teacher training and numerous collections ofeducational archives on pedagogy have reflected many important issues, but nonemore controversial or widely debated than classroom discipline and its ramificationsfor classroom instruction and learning. Discipline has been a concern of classroompractitioners since the days of the one room schoolhouse and the stern headmasterwith a hickory stick. In recent times, countless polls and scientific surveys conductedamong educators have helped "discipline" maintain the dubious distinction as themost troublesome issue confronting school personnel. Novice teachers are not theonly frustrated group when it comes to classroom discipline since many well-seasonedand experienced teachers have pleaded for help by stating concerns such as "childrenare certainly different today because they just don't respect authority ." Many pupilsappear to some teachers to have little self-respect or self-pride.</p><p>Newspapers, magazines and scholarly publications spotlight topics like violence inthe schools, court decisions on corporal punishment and child abuse, and the "back-to-basics" or "forward-to-basics" movement. All of these popular themes, directlyor indirectly, identify discipline in the classroom as a national concern and a seriouschallenge to educators.</p><p>Traditional views of disciplineapplied to the classroom emphasize that teacher con-trol of pupil behavior is essential for learning. From this standpoint, unless firm con-trol and strict rules are established and continually enforced, pupils will probablybecome unruly , obstinate and mischievous.</p><p>Webster (1968) has expressed a more contemporary view of discipline as "thedevelopment within individuals of the necessary personal controls to allow them to beeffective, contributing members of a democratic society and of the human communityat large." Perkins (1969) defines disciplineas "the task of helping students to utilize</p><p>Sylvester Kohut, Jr., Ph.D., is Cha irperson and Associate Professor in the Depart-ment of Secondary Education and Foundations at Tennessee Technological Univer-sity. He previously serVed as Coordinator of Teacher Education at Dickinson Col-lege. He has authored three books and over 50 articles in professional journals and isan active member of ATE.</p><p>11</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f A</p><p>laba</p><p>ma </p><p>at T</p><p>usca</p><p>loos</p><p>a] a</p><p>t 01:</p><p>49 2</p><p>0 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>their abilities, energies, and talents in ways that promote their development and learn-ing." Both of these definitions are humanistic in nature and quite contrary to the tra-ditional "rules to be obeyed" approach. Both viewpoints, traditional and humanistic,have many supporters today and continued argumentation between the two camps isongoing and heated . The controversy is not of recent origin for at different periods inthe history of American public schooling, one view was in vogue while the otherstruggled for supremacy or at least acknowledgment. With the advent of theProgressive Education Movement throughout the country early in this century , amore humanistic mood toward classroom discipline evolved . The Progressive Educa-tion Movement challenged the traditional view of discipline with a more permissiveand humanistic "self-discipline" approach. Traditionalists attacked many aspects ofProgressivism including its "permissiveness" in classroom management. When theProgressive Education Movement waned and splintered, educators became reaction-ary and again stressed the 3 R's, This rejection also meant the reemphasis towardmore traditional approaches for maintaining classroom order and discipline. In a man-ner of speaking, there was now a fourth "R" and that was "respect" in the form ofstrict discipline. By themid-l Sen's, the 3 R's or 4 R's were again under assault by anew wave of humanists, and this meant a resurgence toward a more humane approachto discipline. A discipline code which forced conformity, degraded pupils or discrimi-nated toward or against minority group learners was unwise according to manyhumanists. A.deluge of best-selling books flooded the market and greatly influencedpublic thought and public school decision making. Proposed models for open educa-tion, free schools and other alternative systems of schooling and classroom learningdemanded educational reforms and new approaches to classroom communication.</p><p>12</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f A</p><p>laba</p><p>ma </p><p>at T</p><p>usca</p><p>loos</p><p>a] a</p><p>t 01:</p><p>49 2</p><p>0 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>However, there is a major thrust today in education to return to the basics. Criticshave attributed student unrest and violence of the 1960's, the rapid decline in SATscores, and increased turmoil in the schools to the "permissiveness" of thehumanistic backlash of the past decade. In the midst of this give and take, classroomteachers, many of whom were students in the 1960's, have remained confused, un-sure and frustrated while searching for standards or guidelines that work.</p><p>DEFINITIONS</p><p>Unlike practitioners in other professions, educators usually find it difficult, if notimpossible, to agree upon specific definitions of common terms and practices. In themedical profession, the term "myocardial infarction" which means "heart attack" israrely misunderstood by a nurse or doctor. In a court of law, every attorney and judgeunderstands that "tort" means "a wrongful act, injury or damage which does not in-volve a breach of contract for which a civil action can be brought." But in the field ofeducation, if you ask a group of forty teachers to define or explain the meaning of' 'in -dividualized instruction" or a "behavioral objective," you will probably get fortydifferent, diverse and conflicting interpretations. Attempting to gain a general consen-sus fo- a definition of "discipline" among educators is a confounding task.</p><p>Webster's New World Dictionary defines "discipline" as " training that developsself-control, character, orderliness and efficiency," "accepting of or submission toauthority and control," and "a system of rules or methods, as for the conduct ofmembers of a monastic order." Webster defines "to discipline" as "to develop by in-struction and exercise." Discipline is teaching and learning. Discipline is not punish-ment. It is two-dimensional and involves both imposition and self-discipline. What isyour definition of "discipline" and does it differ from the definitions of your col-leagues and your students?</p><p>. . -There are educators who believe that discipline is synonymous with classroom</p><p>management. They say that a well-planned lesson is the best deterrent to a noisy anddisruptive classroom. Unfortunately, many teachers are judged on their ability to keepthe class quiet, and this is the sole criterion for teacher evaluation. It is inconceivableto think that learning is restricted only to a " quiet" and orderly classroom. Super-visors usually endorse a "lively" classroom atmosphere but often resort to measuringa teacher's ability in terms of the lowest readings on the imaginary gauge that registersthe sound level in the classroom in decibels!</p><p>Classroom management is an all-encompassing term which refers to virtually everyfacet of interaction and activity-planned and spontaneous-which may occur in anacademic classroom, science laboratory or gymnasium. The meaning of "discipline"is narrower. Discipline implies self-respect and respect for others.</p><p>Pupils have their own unwritten definitions of discipline. Because of the drivingneed to please the peer group and for other reasons, any type of attention from theteacher or classmates is a form of positive reinforcement in the minds of some pupils.Knowingly violating a major or minor school regulation directly in front of a teacher isa silent message from the pupil that he/she is seeking attention from the teacher. It isoften inconsequential to the pupil that this attention may result in a scolding or afterschool detention for misbehavior. Teachers often unconsciously reward undesired orinappropriate pupil behaviors which in turn satisfy the pupil. It is quite normal for any</p><p>13</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f A</p><p>laba</p><p>ma </p><p>at T</p><p>usca</p><p>loos</p><p>a] a</p><p>t 01:</p><p>49 2</p><p>0 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>child to seek affection and acceptance from teachers and peers. It is when this thirst foraffection and attention becomes excessive or abnormal that the teacher needs to bealert.</p><p>CONCLUDING</p><p>Most institutions of higher learning today employ many well-trained specialists whouse every known technique to help undergraduate and graduate students cope withthe emotional adjustments and traumas of everyday life on campus. Techniques rangefrom traditional counseling and group therapy sessions to sophisticated laboratory ex-perimentation in biofeedback. The objective is to reduce anxiety and depression andhelp students relax with an ultimate aim of improving academic achievement in theclassroom. Because of financial restraints and a general skepticism of new methodsuntested on youngsters, some educators today are reluctant to hire extra counselorswith special training. Consequently, as an alternative, there is a definite need forclassroom teachers to assume a more pro-active role in dealing with certain com-munication and-interpersonal encounters related to discipline. Teachers must acceptthe challenge of working more closely with " special" pupils in a teacher-counselorrole.</p><p>Defining "discipline" in the classroom is the first stage in establishing a school-wide program. Discipline is a process involving teachers , parents and students. Aneffective program for classroom management and discipline should stress studentawareness and self-discipline. There willcertainly be different solutions or approachessuitable to different situations, and it is of paramount importance that the approachselected facilitates the ongoing academic experience for all pupils in the class. And theapproach selected should provide for a positive rather than a punitive or negative con-frontation between the teacher and the pupils whenever possible. It should also becompatible with the personality, teaching style and educational philosophy of the</p><p>14</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f A</p><p>laba</p><p>ma </p><p>at T</p><p>usca</p><p>loos</p><p>a] a</p><p>t 01:</p><p>49 2</p><p>0 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>teacher, school and community. These stipulations require different approaches indifferent situations and should alert the reader that there are no guarantees of ormagic recipes for success in classroom discipline.</p><p>REFERENCES</p><p>I . Perkins, Hugh V. Hwnan Development and Learning. Belmont, California:Wadsworth Publishing Co., Inc., 1969.</p><p>2. Webster , Staten W. Discipline in the Classroom. San Francisco, California:Chandler Publishing Company, 1968.</p><p>15</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f A</p><p>laba</p><p>ma </p><p>at T</p><p>usca</p><p>loos</p><p>a] a</p><p>t 01:</p><p>49 2</p><p>0 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li></ul>