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Classroom Management And Discipline

Introduction to Classroom Management and Discipline


At the end of this lesson the student should be able to:

  1. Identify     three or more of the major classroom management or student discipline     theorists of the twentieth century.
  2. Identify     three or more classroom discipline strategies often used in public school     classrooms.
  3. Summarize     the changes of the public regarding school discipline.


Almost no productive activity can occur in a classroom without the cooperation of both the teacher and students. Therefore, one of the most fundamental tasks of a teacher is to enlist the cooperation of students in activities that lead to learning. The first step in this process is for the teacher to organize the classroom and select and adopt a consistent and fair discipline policy for students. This week’s lesson is divided into three parts:

  1. a brief examination of the public’s attitudes towards school discipline
  2. a review of some of the major theorists on student behavior
  3. a discussion of some of the more common commercial student discipline plans. 

The Public’s Attitude toward School Discipline

The lack of school discipline has been a source of concern of the American public for decades. Gallup polls back to the 1950’s indicated that nearly two-thirds of the public was concerned over the apparent lack of discipline in schools. Behavior management of students in schools is a concern that is on the minds of many Americans today. The top three problems identified in 1997 Gallup poll were:

  1. a lack of discipline and control of students
  2. fighting, violence and gangs
  3. a lack of financial support

These problems were the same given in 1996, but in1997, the perceived lack of discipline and student control moved to the first problem on the list while fighting, violence and gangs moved into second place. In Gallup polls sponsored by Phi Delta Kappa on the general public’s attitude toward schools, respondents indicated that lack of discipline is one of the top two problems faced by public schools in their communities (Rose & Gallup, 2001; 2002; 2003). The discipline problems identified in previous decades were, of course,  substantially different from those identified today. In 1985, nearly one-third of the public that responded to a Gallup survey indicated that discipline was a very serious problem in American schools. The 2004 Gallup survey, the thirty-sixth in the series, mirrored similar results. The 2004 survey revealed that concern regarding school discipline placed second as the most worrisome topic for parents, behind the lack of money and funding for public schools.  Other areas identified by parents behind the concern over school discipline were overcrowded schools, the spread and use of drugs, and gang violence.

Statistical evidence supports the worries of the public concerning school discipline and school violence. A 2001 study by the National School Safety Center reports that between thirty and forty percent of middle school and high school students feel unsafe at school. Two thirds of the students responding to the survey indicated that some students regularly intimidate students at school without receiving any punishment for their actions.

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