The Answer to an Undisciplined Classroom
A school full of undisciplined classrooms affects teachers, schools, the administration and ultimately the entire community. The situation creates low performance, teacher uncertainty, and failure of student progress and achievement.
However, a successful solution involves bringing the knowledge and experience of the whole village or community to bare upon the problems of discipline.
Effective discipline is highly instrumental to the success of the classroom. There are several reasons. First, an undisciplined classroom interferes with the learning of students. In the classroom there are students who are committed to learning. Instead of disrupting the classroom they would rather acquire knowledge about history, science, and the social-economics of a changing world. Teachers must not allow these students to become frustrated and lose hope in the classroom or the value of attending school.
The Force of Disruption
Second, an undisciplined classroom disrupts lesson presentations and knowledge deliveries essential to a successful learning environment. When teachers have to hesitate in the beginning or stop in the middle of a lesson to redirect a student, the focus of the classroom is thrown off course and must be regained. This activity wasted time and energy and eventually lead to exhaustion.
Consequences of Poor Teaching
Teachers may find it hard to continue with the same momentum and excitement as in the beginning. As a result, the whole classroom is cheated out of quality teaching and learning.
Third, a school filled with undisciplined classrooms develops a bad reputation. Parents often pull the good students out of chaotic learning environments. As the result, the enrollment of new students dramatically decreases. Eventually, if the school doesn’t improve and continually loses students, the district may think about shutting it down.
The old ways of discipline such as isolation, suspension, humiliation, extra work and withdrawing privileges must be changed, according to Kohn’s book, Beyond Discipline. These reactive activities do very little in curving discipline and actually creates more aggression in some students.
The new ways of discipline must involve all participants relevant to the student’s education, including teachers, parents and communities. Students must be convinced that they are valuable and instrumental to the future and growth of the country.
Recommendations: The Players
Schools with excessive classroom discipline problems must create a collaboration team consisting of administrators, teachers, parents, students and community representatives. Together this team must brainstorm ideas, using a variety of experiences and knowledge, and produce a package of extraordinary teaching practices that can excite and capture the student’s imagination.
In an effort to reduce discipline problems, student involvement must be a priority. The choices of students must be maximized in order for them to feel they have a hand in shaping their future. The classroom must be an environment where caring, sharing, deciding, planning, and reflecting must be the order the day. The greater show of support for excellent behavior and achievement from all sides, the greater the chances for positively reversing the reputation of a troubled school.
Administrators must be dedicated to providing the best teacher training and practices. Teachers must be committed to the progress of all students, willing to encourage the academic growth of the most unreachable students.
Parents must be committed to showing an uncompromising care for the academic and psychological success of their children throughout grade school, and beyond. Students must be motivated and enthused about their academic achievement and take full responsibility for their future. Community representatives must communicate the great leadership and entrepreneur opportunities that await students who value education and achievement.
A well- disciplined school or classroom presents a safe learning environment where children can thrive in the joy of learning and where academic achievement is the focus of everyday. Whether teachers call it a village or a community, educating today’s students will take the whole team.
Kohn, Alfa, Beyond Discipline: from compliance to community (1996/2006)