Education Lab recently reached out to a handful of teacher groups in an effort to gather educators’ thoughts and experiences with student discipline, as part of our Sunday story about the issue. What follows in a sampling of the responses we’ve received so far.
Are you a teacher, parent or student? Have something to say about this important topic? Join the discussion by filling out our reader questionnaire or weighing in in the comments section.
How do you approach student behavior in your classroom? Has your strategy or technique changed at all during your career? If so, how?
I try to deal with children one on one. If that fails, then I call home. If the behavior continues, then I use the progressive discipline (guidelines) in our school.
At Kentlake (High School), we have been doing a freshman retreat for all ninth-grade kids. We also have been doing a Breaking Down the Walls community building exercise for the past four years. As a result, the number of fights at Kentlake are the lowest in the district. Does this kind of success translate to the classrooms? I like to believe it does.
–Theresa Turner, Kent
My approach to student behavior is to model for students, be calm and positive, and to be understanding and inviting in my approach to requesting respectful behavior.
–Ellen Dorr, Seattle
What’s the best way to balance school safety with the need to keep more students in class?
Intervention systems must be school wide and supported by administration. If not, schools will have a hodge podge of issues with no long-term outcomes of improving the learning environment and the overall culture of the school.
–Ritchie Garcia, Seattle
Practice modeling and supporting expectations and re-teaching in situations where behaviors are inappropriate. Follow through with parent communication frequently, document for legal purposes … and always protect the opinion, rights and value of each and every student.
–Shirley Hickey, Kent
Mahatma Ghandi said: ‘A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.’ Children really are our among our weakest members. And from my vantage point, it doesn’t look like we are doing such a great job in our state. This question appears to be deceptively simple. It isn’t a simple issue. We live in a very complex society. Schools cannot solve this problem on their own.
–Amy Miller, Lynden