In his seminar on classroom management, behavioral researcher and professor, Glenn Latham tells the story of a teacher who had been particularly abusive to her students. Not only was she heavy handed in her classroom, her discipline was often indiscriminate and patently unfair. To express that the students didn’t like or respect her could be an understatement, as was evident one weekend if they burned her classroom to the ground.
That being said, we would be wise not to come quickly to the conclusion that discipline should not play an important role in student behavior at school. What is essential is they be treated with respect, even if they’re not doing what they know they ought to and that discipline, if it is necessary is applied appropriately. Tragic as it might be, this is not always the case in the present schools.
As a teacher, there is nothing more exciting than entering a well organized and disciplined classroom and few things less attractive than one that will not possess those qualities, but creating this environment requires great planning and discipline on the area of the teacher and administrators. Harry Wong makes this clear in his book, The First Days of School, as he tells us that success in the classroom is normally won or lost in the initial couple of minutes, perhaps even the initial couple of seconds, of the institution year tabula rasa mystery school. Good teachers, he tells us, spend a lot of time get yourself ready for the first few days of school, and then spend the initial a couple of weeks developing and rehearsing procedures which will create the classroom environment to last through the entire year.
In his book, Teach Such as a Champion, Doug Lemov tells of a teacher who spends the initial hour of the initial day of school teaching students to pass out papers. “We did that in 33 seconds,” he tells them, “let’s see when we can’t have it under thirty seconds this time.” Lemov goes on to indicate that such rehearsals are not a waste of time and estimates that teacher saves several hours on the course of the year insurance firms this procedure in place.
However, this is not almost acquiring proficiency, it’s about making a warm nurturing environment where students can learn and thrive. Systems and procedures must be in place and well practiced so that students know what is required of them as well as what the expected outcomes will undoubtedly be for his or her behavior. The net effect is a huge decrease in stress levels for the students and the teachers, and with less stress, teachers are free to engage and instruct at a high level.
So just how do we prevent vandalism and teach kids respect? We do it by first demonstrating ourselves the behaviors we should instill within our students, by treating them with respect even whenever we don’t think they deserve it, and by putting systems into place which will ensure growth. Kids for the reason that sort of environment are highly unlikely to wish to destroy property and, perhaps even most importantly, tend to be more likely to produce a significant contribution to the planet in the future.