Behavior Manual

Contributors

Toby Colombe Section 43 of the Criminal Code

Darren Flynn Punishment and Due Process

Kelly Furey The Use of Consequences

Jason Hodder Introduction, Causes of Discipline Problems

Three Dimensional Disciple Model

Mike Losinski Atribution Theory

Gail Pardy Classroom Management as Prevention

Vanessa Payne Ethics in Education

Rob Power Democracy in the classroom

 

 

 

 

Teachers and students share a very unique relationship. They spend the majority of their time interacting with each other, yet there always seem to be a feeling of conflict between each other. In a sense, there always seems to be battle occurring between the two groups with the school itself acting as the battlefield. It often appears that the major goal of the school system is to outwit and scheme against the students. This rifted relationship does not occur at all times nor with all people, there are some instances of qualitative emotional sharing between the teachers and the students. It takes a lot of courage to be either a teacher or a student in the school system today. Courage, because that everyday bears witness to another battle. One of the major components of these everyday battles is the notion of discipline or misbehavior. Teachers use discipline as means of creating an optimum learning environment for their students. There has been a vast amount of research dealing with the use of disciplinary procedures in the school system. The evidence suggests that rather than focusing on disciplining the child, teachers should focus on affecting the childís life in a positive manner.

There are several causes of discipline problems in the school system today. There has been a great amount of evidence presented to suggest that classroom management problems are more effectively dealt with through prevention techniques. Thus it is very important to look at the roots of the problems in order to construct a successful prevention plan. The causes of classroom misbehavior are broken down into two distinct subgroups; in-school causes and out-of-school causes. We will first take a look at the out-of-school causes.

The notion of societal violence is becoming a more important issue each and everyday. Both adults and youths are becoming more and more accepting of the prevalence of extreme violence in todayís society. Children are being exposed to violence almost everywhere they go, in their neighborhoods, at home, and in the school. This exposure to violence has had dire effects on the behavior of children in the present school setting. Children have become more physically and verbally aggressive toward their teachers and their peers. Children are becoming desensitized to the negative consequences of such violent behaviors. The increased level of aggression in students has increased the importance of an effective classroom management plan. Many teachers and administrators have come to rely on using disciplinary measures to rectify the problems with misbehavior in their schools.

Another contributor to the increased levels of violence present in schools is the effect of the media. Through milieus such as television and the computer (internet) children are constantly exposed to violence. Even shows that are designed for children are filled with scenes of violence. The Internet has opened a whole new world for children to explore. Even though there are many educational benefits provided by the Internet, the amount of inappropriate material available is beginning to outweigh the beneficial material. Many children have difficulty separating reality from fantasy and this often creates problems when these negative misconceptions are brought into the school system.

One of the major factors influencing a childís behavior in school is the presence or absence of a secure family environment. Many children do not have the pleasure of growing with a traditional father and mother family. The incidence of single parenting, divorce and separations has been on the incline. This lack of stability has left children in a search for security. This security is often found in peer groups both in and out of the school system. Peer pressure within these peer groups is often a source for rebelliousness and misbehavior in the school system. Evidence shows that the inconsistent disciplinary techniques used by the parents at home often reflect the childís misbehavior in school.

One final out-of-school cause of discipline problems is the fact that childrenís temperament is plastic. Children tend to be very inconsistent with their temperament, this makes them very difficult to manage. Sporadic personalities often give rise to discipline problems in the classroom. Teachers have great difficulty anticipating their actions and thus are often surprised by their behavior.

Discipline problems do not only originate from sources within the home and the community, they also are formed within and sometimes due to the educational system. The first in-school cause of misbehavior is the fact that students are often bored. Teachers perceive this expression of boredom as a behavior problem. It is inevitable that students are going to get bored with certain subject areas. The ability to hide this boredom and appear interested is what separates the behavior problem students from the "normal" students. Teachers put a lot of work into their lessons and they feel that it is insulting for a student to appear disinterested. The nature of this problem takes on a double-sided effect. On one hand the student is somewhat responsible for not trying to exercise proper etiquette and on the other hand the teacher is responsible for not accepting the fact that some students cannot help being bored with the curriculum.

Schools that do not involve their students with decisions and rules often encounter more problems than those that do. The administration or the school board makes most of the decisions within the school system. Students have very little say in what occurs in the school setting. Thus students often see this situation as a power struggle between them and their teachers/administration (more so the teachers). This struggle often results in the students rebelling against the teachers in an attempt to gain power. For example, if the rules of the school and the classrooms are made without the consultation of the students, the students will not likely see the logic of these rules and be prone to break them to show off their power.

The lack of rule limits and the imposition of unclear rule limits often results in the students trying to extend the boundaries of these rules. The absence of a standard set of rules and consequences for breaking them often presents an opportunity for misbehavior on behalf of the student. These rules and consequences need to be consistent for every student in the school. Teachers often impose rules differently for different students. A lot of the rules tend to apply only to the students who have a history of discipline problems. By doing this teachers are often giving these students the feeling that misbehavior is what is expected of them. These students then tend to live up to this expectation by continuously misbehaving.

When stating the rules and regulations of the school and the classroom, teachers often tell students what not to do rather than what is expected form them. This negative focus is based on the assumption that students know what to do and they choose not to do it. But do students really know what is appropriate behavior for all situations? Proper behavior and etiquette involves a lot of learning and training. In order to maintain successful classroom management, teachers must begin to put their rules in a more positive context. When a teacher does use negative connotations of rules, students often see that teacher as being a more negative teacher, thus putting stress on the student teacher relationship. When there is a good student teacher relationship classroom management becomes less of an issue.

One other common cause of misbehavior in the classroom is the idea that students known for their misbehavior often give up on themselves academically. They begin to feel like they do not fit in with the other students. They often use misbehavior as a defense mechanism to avoid being embarrassed in the classroom. Many students strive for recognition, but feel that they cannot get this recognition through their academic work. Thus, they look for recognition in other ways. This often occurs in the form of misbehavior. It is the responsibility of the teacher to include these students in all aspects of the classroom, especially in academics. The teacher must use his classroom control to increase the studentís view of their academic self worth.

Student misbehavior is often a form of rebellion. Sometimes acting out is used by students to gain attention, or to find a place where they fit in the school community. And other times acting out is simply a symptom of restlessness or boredom. All of these causes can lead to behavior which is disruptive to the classroom environment, and which can be difficult to deal with, or curb. It has been shown, however, that a commitment on the part of educators to a democratic environment can not only be a solution to such behavioral problems, it can prevent them from arising in the first place.

A teacher's commitment to a democratic environment has many benefits. If acted upon effectively, it can establish an air of mutual trust and respect between teachers and students, as well as the community. Effective classroom democracy also brings the student into the problem solving process as an active player, increasing the student's self-esteem and willingness to co-operate. This, in turn, makes it easier to establish enforceable rules, and increases the effectiveness of disciplinary action. Effective use of democracy also improves the overall learning environment by decreasing the boredom that can lead to misbehavior, by personalizing learning for the students, and by making evaluation more meaningful, and helpful to the individual student. Taking a closer look at the theory of democracy in the classroom, and several ways to show a commitment to democracy, will offer a better understanding of just how far it can go to make the school more effective for students and teachers alike.

The usefulness of democracy in the classroom is supported by the theories behind the STEP program. STEP stands for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. Although the program was developed for parents, it has proven useful to educators. The program was developed by Alfred Adler, and is based on social and developmental psychology. At its heart is the belief that a child is a social being who is searching for a place at home, at school, and in the community. Misbehavior could indicate that the child has developed erroneous ideas about how to belong. In the classroom, this could be because the student feels isolated or ignored in an impersonal and overwhelming system, or feels isolated and out of place because of underachievement. In the STEP program, it is the role of the teacher or parent to examine misbehavior for clues as to motivation, including such end-results of the behavior as the reactions of fellow classmates, and the teacher. The teacher is encouraged to address the underlying problem, as opposed to the actual misdeed. This is achieved by applying democratic principles to enhance respect, equality, and dignity, and to help the student to understand the natural and logical consequences of misbehavior. It is not enough for the student to know that misbehavior results in discipline. The student must understand why the behavior was inappropriate, and why their motivations were flawed, and must learn to feel regret for their actions because of a sense of responsibility, not because of the intervention of others.

The democratic process helps to build this sense of responsibility, first of all, teachers must create an air of mutual respect in the classroom. By including students in many levels of classroom decision-making, teachers can help them to feel more at ease, and welcomed. The students will feel that they do matter, and that their opinion is valuable. They will be more motivated to co-operate with their teachers and fellow classmates. They will also realize that the teacher respects them, and is there to interact with them, and help them, and not just to control or subjugate them. Helping the student to feel as though they are a part of the class, and belong in the class, is key to preventing behavioral problems because it establishes a sense of responsibility, and respect towards the teacher and fellow classmates. By extending this democratic process to include the community, educators can extend the air of mutual respect into a three-way relationship between students, the school, and the entire community. This has the benefit of increasing community interest and involvement in the school, increasing community respect and support for the initiatives of the school and its teachers, and increasing student interest and involvement in the community. The overall impact of the democratic process would be to make the school environment more comfortable for students, and more comfortable and manageable for teachers.

The first step to using democracy to effectively improve the school environment is establishing a set of core values, a workable system of rules, and standards of discipline. Establishing a set of core values is necessary as a base for any rules to be used in the school. It also provides educators and parents with a base in which to ground their own decision-making processes. A core set of values is something that the school can easily create through consultation with the community -- a method that ensures the school's values are in line with those of the surrounding community. Studies have shown that the five most common values of any community include compassion, honesty, fairness, responsibility and respect. It is easy to see how such values can positively shape the rule-making process. From there, a core set of rules can also be established for the entire school. This can also be achieved through consultation between educators and members of the community, including parents, community leaders, and business leaders. All of this will ensure that the school's basic rules reflect the values of the community, and increase the level of community and business interest in, involvement in, and respect for the school.

On a classroom level, students can easily be brought into the rule-making process. At the start of the year, teachers can consult with students to develop a handful of rules dealing with classroom behavior. Some examples include rules on speaking in class, leaving and entering the classroom, interacting with fellow classmates, and even an acceptable process for dealing with any problems or issues that may arise.
Students can also be consulted in the establishment of a system for dealing with classroom administration. This could include the collection and distribution of assignments and handouts, etc, collection of lunch money or other fees, and even developing schedules for such responsibilities as bulletin boards, or classroom tidiness.

Establishing a standard of discipline is also essential. This can be achieved through consultation with both the community and students. Involving students with this process will help to increase the students' awareness of what disciplinary measures are in place, and why they are used when they are used. Students will gain an appreciation for the fairness of the system, and will be less likely to perceive discipline as a personal attack. In short, they will understand that discipline is a result of their actions, and will develop a sense of responsibility for their own behavior. Uniform enforcement of such discipline will also increase the level or respect between teachers and students by separating the deed from the doer, and by increasing the air of co-operation. It is important to note that disciplinary methods should not diminish the dignity and self-esteem of the student. By involving the student in deciding upon a code of discipline, and by discussing the use of discipline with students, educators can avoid this problem.

Once the rules and consequences are established, teachers must work to maintain and enhance a more comfortable and manageable school environment. Consulting with students when problems or issues arise, and working together on necessary amendments, is one way to achieve this. Offering choices to the students in their daily routine, and in curriculum, is another. Students can be consulted on the appearance of the classroom. This process can range from how to decorate the classroom, and what to include on bulletin boards, to how to organize desks, and what the seating arrangements will be. Take time out with students to decorate the classroom, and to periodically change these decorations, and decide with students when this should be done. Periodically take time out with students to change seating arrangements. And, most importantly, take time out for fun and relaxation. School routines are often both demanding and monotonous, or boring. Involve students in deciding when to take a break from the routine for either free work periods, or extra-curricular activities. Doing this from time to time, along with the other types of choices available, will break up the monotony. This will help decrease restlessness and boredom, and will increase the willingness of students to co-operate.

Students can also be offered some degree of choice in the curriculum. Class discussions will help to determine what topics to address in a given unit of study, making that unit more meaningful and interesting to students. Often times there is leeway in the curriculum as to what units or topics to cover, and when. Consulting students on what order to study topics will offer them a sense of control over their education, and will help to increase their interest in the topics themselves. This process is another great way to break up the monotony of the school routine, and to personalize education for students. Again, it will help to decrease boredom, and increase the level of co-operation.

Personalizing education can go a long way in helping to overcome and prevent discipline problems. It, too, can be achieved through the democratic process. By personalizing education to meet the needs of each student, teachers can prevent students from falling through the cracks, and not achieving to their full potential. This helps by enhancing the student's sense of self-worth, and it shows the student that he or she matters to the teacher. The level of respect for the teacher will increase, along with the student's willingness to co-operate. As well, a major motivator for misbehavior -- the sense of isolation which comes from being overwhelmed by the school system, by feeling ignored by the teacher, and by feeling out of place because of underachievement -- can be circumvented.

The democratic approach can be used to effectively personalize education. The benefits of offering students choice in what topics will be studied, and when, have already been discussed. Offering students a choice in how they will be evaluated -- what sorts of projects or tests will be undertaken for a unit, or course -- is another method. There is also the option of developing learning contracts with individual students. This would allow teachers to consult with students on a one-on-one basis, increasing the level of control students have in determining their educational goals, and increasing their sense of responsibility. Finally, teachers can involve students more in their own evaluations. Options include a self-evaluation process, along with individual consultation before a final grade is assigned. This gives students a chance to assess their own performance, and gives teachers an opportunity to make assessments more meaningful. It has been shown that most students will under-value their own performance. A self-assessment followed by consultation with the teacher can simultaneously give teachers the ability to offer constructive advice, and to boost the student's self-esteem by increasing their sense of achievement. This process also gives the student some say in their final grade, which is another way to increase their sense of self-worth, and co-operation within the school environment.

Although it is impossible to eliminate all behavioral problems from the school, it has been shown that a commitment on the part of educators to a democratic environment can be one of the best preventative measures. By consulting with students and the community, schools can develop a strong set of shared values, and a more meaningful and readily enforceable set of rules, and code of discipline. Students can also be consulted on a wide range of classroom decisions, including classroom layout, and the unfolding of curriculum. This, and including students in their own education by developing learning contracts, and including them in the evaluation process, can go a long way towards increasing a sense of belonging amongst students, an air of mutual respect between teachers and students, and a sense of responsibility amongst students. And all of these measures have the potential to decrease the sense of isolation felt by many students, and the boredom associated with daily school routine. By doing this, teachers can help to improve the overall school environment by making the school a more comfortable place to be, and by removing many of the factors which may cause student misbehavior.

There are consequences for every belief, action, decision, etcÖ that we make. By encouraging students to feel that they can control consequences by controlling their behavior, good behavior is encouraged. One area that has many consequences would be Attribution Theory. The history of attribution theory originated in the writings of four main authors: Fritz Heider, who wrote about dyadic relationships; Edward Jones, who researched dispositional ascriptions; Harold Kelley, who was concerned with personal interdependence and inferential processes; and Julian Rotter, who investigated individual differences in casual perceptions. From these beginnings, the conceptual approach of attribution theory has become incorporated into the study of virtually all aspects of psychology. One area in particular would be Social Psychology. Arising from social psychology, attribution theory is concerned with our constant search for the causes of our successes and failures. How we perceive these causes is rather important because they influence self-concept, expectations for future situations, feelings of potency, and subsequent motivation to put forth effort. In our culture we attribute success and failure to four factors: native ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck, and these four attributions exist on three continuums: locus, stability, and controllability. How we attribute success and failure also has implications for students, and teachers in terms of discipline.

The first continuum, in which the four factors, [native ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck] exist, is called Locus. Locus is when feelings of self-esteem, shame, or guilt are based on oneís perception of the location of the cause. Locus can be internal Ė "me", or external Ė "not me". We attribute native ability and effort to internal, and we attribute task difficulty and luck to external. Attribution of success to internal locus results in increased self-esteem, whereas attribution of failure to internal locus results in shame {lack of effort}. The second continuum, in which the four factors, [native ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck] exist, is called Stability. Stability is when expectations for the future are based on whether the cause is perceived as stable or subject to change. We attribute native ability and task difficulty to stable causes of success and failure, and we attribute effort and luck to unstable causes of success and failure. When students attribute success or failure to stable causes, they expect the same from the future as from the past. When they attribute success or failure to unstable causes their expectations can change. The only attribution that would offer no chance of change would be native ability. For example, a short person would not perceive to be a great sprinter, or a deep voiced individual would not perceive to try and become a soprano. Hence, it is the invalid attribution of failure to native ability that is dangerous. For example, math is perceived as too hard, not because of native ability, but because of mechanically manipulating numbers with little or no meaning. The third continuum, in which the four factors, [native ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck] exist, is called Controllability. Controllability is related to an individualís feeling of potency to affect the outcome by controlling the cause. We attribute effort to controllable causes of success and failure. Of all the casual attributions, the only one completely under our control is effort. Hence, we put fourth effort if we believe that the effort will improve the outcome. On the same wavelength, if students perceive success as the result of ability, task difficulty, or luck, then there would be no point in putting forth a lot of effort. Hence, how students attribute success and failure to native ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck, along the three continuums of locus, stability, and controllability, can affect their self-esteem, effort, and discipline in some cases.

Attribution theory along the three continuums has many implications for students that could relate to a disciplinary issue. The first continuum, locus of causality, determines academic self-esteem. If they believe they have ability, and achieve success with effort, then they will have a positive self-concept. If they believe that no matter how hard they try, they will not be successful then they will have a low self-esteem. The student in the latter scenario can become a disciplinary issue in class or shy away from participating in class. The second continuum, stability of causality, prompts a student to believe either that the future is predetermined or that it can be changed by effort. The problem arises when the students try hard, and fail. They may come to the conclusion that they lack ability. As a result, their self-esteem is diminished, and future effort seems pointless. Again, the students in this case may become disciplinary issues, and constantly interrupt the class. The third continuum, controllability of causality, creates the feeling of being commander of oneís fate, and is a powerful determiner of emotional health. Students must accept the fact that much of what happens to them is a result of what they do. The placebo effect in medicine is testimony to the powerful effect of a personís beliefs of causality, and controllability rather than reality. Hence, in terms of ability and effort, if a student thinks he/she succeeded because of his ability, then his self-esteem will have a positive reinforcement, this leads to positive behavior. If a student thinks he/she failed because of lack of ability, then his self-esteem will be lowered, or negatively reinforced. The negative reinforcement has the potential to isolate the student from the rest of the class or allow the student to become bitter and have negative feelings of self worth, which tends to lead to drop outs or students that become real disciplinary issues for teachers.

Therefore, attribution theory has real implications for teachers as well. It is very important that teachers can diagnose where students learning leaves off and new learning needs to begin. If a teacher makes a test too hard for a student, then no matter how much effort a student puts in, the possible outcomes will be failure. Thus tests/assignments have to be designed so that they are challenging and encourage effort to promote success, and higher self-esteem. Thus a teacherís accurate diagnosis, combined with effective teaching, will enable student effort to bring success, and ultimately control of discipline in the classroom. Teachers also need to get their students to believe that their ability to be successful is stable and that they control the effort necessary for success. If the students see success as being unstable then they will attribute success to other factors instead of effort. This creates the situations for disciplinary issues to enter the classroom. Also, the way a teacher responds to a studentís success or failure can signal the teacherís belief as to whether the student is in control of success or failure. For example, annoyance, on behalf of the teacher, can say to a student that he had the ability to perform successfully and was responsible for the less-than satisfactory performance. Where as, if a teacher accepts less than satisfactory work from a student who is capable of much more implies to the student that no matter how much effort he/she puts in, he/she doesnít have the ability to meet the teachers expectations.

Effort is the key to attribution theory in the classroom. The lack of effort or how we attribute effort to success and failure can have a direct relationship on how a student thinks, and feels about his self and his ability. We attribute success and failure to native ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck. It is how students attribute, or are taught to attribute, these characteristics to success and failure that builds, or takes away self-esteem, allows stability in attributing success with effort, and the students feeling of potency to affect the outcome by controlling the cause. How the child associates failure with internal locus of cause, stability, or controllability, could create disciplinary problems for a classroom. So it is up to the teacher to make sure that his students are attributing success and failure to the right causes.

An approach to dealing with student behavior problems focuses on the issue of responsibility. Students must be taught that all of their actions have consequences, both good and bad. Good consequences result in praise where bad consequences result in discipline problems. Students must be taught that they have to accept and be responsible for the results that their own behavior creates. If individual and collective responsibility is encouraged and accepted by students then discipline problems can be reduced. This technique encourages student analysis of the possible consequences of their behavior and attempts to focus students towards the achievement of positive consequences. The successful use of this technique depends on a variety of points. The first of which includes the characteristics of the consequences of a specific action. These qualities include whether or not it is logical, clear and practical. Consequences must be thoroughly developed and well known to students. This technique must also be implemented consistently, otherwise it will fail to be effective. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when using this technique the focus must be on the positive.

Effective consequences have a range of characteristics. Firstly, they must be clear and specific. This allows students to be aware that their behavior has an effect on themselves and on others. It also permits them to predict the results of their behavior and gives them the opportunity to control the outcomes through control of their own actions. Secondly, consequences should have a range of alternatives. Since all situations are not the same and should not be judged as such, there should be more than one consequence for a specific behavior. A student who does not complete his homework because he spent the night at the hospital with a sick parent should not be treated the same as a student who did not complete his homework because he had to attend hockey practice. The main point is that fairness is not always the same as equality. The third quality of consequences is that they should be natural, logical and related to a rule. Consequences are meant to be instructional. By allowing a student to control his behavior, he will learn from both the positive and negative consequences of his actions. If the consequences are related to the rule then the possibility of illustrating why the rule should be adhered to is much greater. The purpose is not to punish a student for their behavior. Punishment only changes a behavior by motivating with fear. The goal is to teach a student responsibility and acceptance of the results of his actions.

To develop effective consequences that have the aforementioned characteristics teachers should try to be creative, logical and consistent. Innovation and original consequences, both good and bad, have the advantage of keeping a studentís attention. Teachers should strive to push the envelope but still keep the consequence logical. The consequence should be a natural progression of the rule. Remember that consequences are not punishments. They are the repercussions of a set of behavior. These repercussions are, in reality, a tool for illustrating acceptable behavior. Positive consequences reinforce good behavior while negative consequences demonstrate the need to alter behavior patterns.

There are three strategies that can help to establish effective consequences. Attempt to visualize from the studentsí perspective the consequences of not obeying that rule. Read and re-read your rule. What will be the effect on the student? How will the student react? How will the student assume responsibility for their actions? By attempting to analyze the issue from the studentsí point of view you gain a realistic perspective of the possible outcomes that might be accomplished by the consequences. Another strategy to develop effective consequences is to collect input from other sources. Other teachers are prime candidates. Often the range of behavioral problems is the same in different classrooms. By drawing on the experience of other teachers who have had similar experiences you can broaden your range of available consequences. Asking for student input is also a valuable resource. Not only does this return to the issue of the studentsí perspective, it also allows students to understand the logic and reason behind a rule and the results of disobeying that rule. It gives the students input and a feeling of control over their classroom environment. A third strategy to develop effective consequences is to use your own experience. Try to remember what was important to you when you were a student. Then try to remember how you reacted in specific situations and what your prime motivators were. Apply these experiences to the development of consequences for your rules. This process helps to keep you in touch with the studentsí reality. If a consequence does not impact upon the studentsí existence then it will not be successful. Consequences must be meaningful to be effective.

Once you have taken care to develop effective consequences and to make them well known to students, you must also be sure to implement them consistently. If consequences are not implemented consistently they will fail to be effective. Students will feel that teachers are not serious. If consistency is not present, they will get the impression that there will always be the slightest chance of not accepting the consequences of their actions. This will prevent them from constantly striving to attain positive consequences and thus good behavior.

Teachers often fail to be consistent for a variety of reasons. The best approach to this situation is to be aware of your behavior as a teacher and to attempt to curtail it. The teacher plays as important a role as the student. If the teacher fails to be constant then the student will fail to act responsibly. Many situations result in inconsistency. If a consequence is too harsh a teacher will generally refrain from implementing it. This sends the message that the rule is not serious enough to warrant the use of a consequence. To correct this, change the consequence to one that is more fitting for the rule. Remember that a consequence should be a natural and logical extension of a rule. Occasionally, if a rule violation occurs at an inconvenient place or time, a teacher will hesitate to enforce the consequences. Again, this tells the student that the rule is obviously not important if the consequence is not applicable all the time. Regardless of the situation, consequences must apply. Teachers usually prefer not to act like policemen. They dislike the continuous monitoring of every studentsí behavior. It becomes a drain on their energy and diminishes the time for actual teaching. In a situation like this it must be remembered that encouraging responsible behavior among students helps to create an efficiently managed classroom. Additionally, teacher frustration can interfere with logical reactions and the implementation of consequences. Again, be aware of your behavior and attempt to curtail it. Try to be consistent and logical regardless of the situation. A consistent teacher helps to create responsible students.

To implement the use of consequences there are four consecutive steps that should be followed. When there is an indication that behavior might occur that conflicts with a rule, the first step is to remind the student of the rule and its parameters. If the behavior continues the student should be warned that there are consequences if behavior of this nature continues. If the behavior does not change, the third step should be taken. A consequence should be implemented. This occurs in the form of developing a positive action plan to fix the results of the previous action and to improve future behavior. The fourth step includes practicing the behavior. This will enable the student to acquire the skills to match their cognitive understanding of the rule. Following these steps allows consistency and clear reactions to acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

When implementing consequences and encouraging responsibility, the use of the positive is primary. It should be remembered that consequences are not punishments. Consequences are tools for learning proper behavior through the acceptance of responsibility. By stressing responsibility for behavior, focus is shifted to self-control. This control can just as easily influence positive reactions as it can negative ones. As a result, it is important to focus on the good things that happen when a rule is followed. By encouraging ownership of actions students are made to feel like they have control over their lives. Control implies that they can change what they do not like. Focusing on the positive makes it easier to encourage positive or good behavior.

One approach to dealing with student behavior problems focuses on the issue of responsibility and accepting the consequences of your actions. Students must be taught that they have to accept and be responsible for the results that their own behavior creates. By encouraging student analysis of the possible consequences of their behavior and attempting to focus students towards the achievement of positive consequences, you are encouraging positive behavior. If consequences are to be used effectively they must be logical, clear and practical. Consequences must be thoroughly developed and well known to students. This technique must be implemented consistently, otherwise it will be ineffective. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when using this technique the focus must be on the positive.

Further examination of the use of consequences includes a discussion of punishment and due process. Punishment is usually used to maintain proper order or to eliminate conditions that are incompatible with a positive learning environment. The idea of due process "Öis that people are entitled to procedures that ensure that decisions made about them are not arbitrary or capricious" (The Ethics of Teaching, third edition, p.25). Arbitrarily based decisions are made without evidence. Capriciously made decisions are done unsystematically or are based on irrelevant grounds.

Due process is an important component in free society. People in decision-making positions often have to follow particular procedures, requiring them to base their decisions on the available evidence. These procedures are important wherever one has the power of decision over another. When a teacher does not take the time to read a paper carefully, or gives grades based on personal bias he violates the rules underlying the process. Associated with the concept of due process are two quite different perspectives on punishment. They include the consequentalist and nonconsequentalist perspectives.

Consequentalists are expected to have a fair amount of regard for the idea of due process since conscientious decisions are more likely to have desirable outcomes than arbitrary or capricious ones. However, consequentalists are less likely to view the rule of due process as absolute. They believe that when rules are applied in different situations the consequences of these rules can be quite different. For example, rules or laws are put into place to protect the innocent from being wrongly accused of a particular offense. Thus, this law serves the purpose for which it was intended. Yet, unfortunately this law may have other unintended consequences. This law, originally designed to protect the innocent, may make it difficult to convict even the guilty. In order to adequately address the kinds of due process we, as decision-makers, must weigh the consequences of not acting at all.

When deciding about the types of due process to use in cases of punishment we must understand what the intended consequences of punishment are. A consequentalist has three desirable outcomes of punishment. The first is that punishment could prevent the punished and others from repeating the misbehavior. Secondly, punishment may aid in the rehabilitation of the individual or group that is guilty. Thirdly, punishment could remove the potentially dangerous person from society. If you give the consequentalist perspective some thought you would realize that this is exactly the intended function of the justice system.

Unfortunately, the intended functions do not always match perfectly with the unintended functions. If an innocent person is convicted of a crime, the guilty person may act again feeling that they can elude the justice system. Even if the guilty person is convicted of a crime, the intended consequences may not be known. The guilty individual could become enraged at society for punishing him so harshly and may seek revenge when he is released.

From the arguments mentioned above it becomes apparent that punishment could have negative consequences on society and the convicted individual, regardless of guilt. So why does it matter if the guilty person is punished, so long as it prevents others from acting undesirably. Some may argue that punishment is unlikely to deter others if they feel that their guilt is unrelated to the probability that they will be punished.

Punishment from a nonconsequentalist perspective believes in balancing the scales of justice, "and eye for an eye". The punishment should fit the crime, although its primary function is not to deter future misbehavior but to provide retribution.

When punishment is seen as retribution we can easily see why it is right to punish the guilty but not the innocent. This theory also explains why the punishment should fit the crime Ė to balance the scales of justice. The significance of punishing the guilty and of having the punishment fit the crime highlights the importance of due process. Due process ensures that we punish the guilty in appropriate ways.

An obvious problem that one can see with this retribution or "payback" theory of punishment is that evildoers are punished with a compensating amount of pain. This theory suggests that we respond to one or more evil acts by inflicting another. Many may view this whole idea s senseless and hypocritical, and indeed it may be.

After reviewing both perspectives on punishment it seem that employing a purely consequentalist or a purely nonconsequentalist view will not always result in the effect you intend. Consequentalist views may justify immoral conduct in order to produce desirable consequences. On the other hand, nonconsequentalists often need to take consequences into consideration in order to be fully adequate. The best approach may be to combine the best features of the two perspectives.

The three-dimensional discipline model suggests that there are three distinct steps that we can take to deal with classroom management issues. The first step is prevention and refers to the necessary actions we take prior to any misbehavior occurring. The second step in the continuum is action. This refers to the actions that can be taken when a discipline problem occurs that do not cause the problem to become worse. The third and final step is resolution. It refers to the actions that are done when a student becomes out of control. There has been evidence to suggest that prevention is the most important and effective means of controlling discipline in the classroom. When teachers except the fact that they are going to have some discipline problems, they then can begin to exercise prevention measures that will help prevent these problems from interfering with the class.

One of the most effective methods of prevention is through thorough planning. Preparation and organization are just two things a teacher must have in order to achieve effective class management. A well-prepared teacher will tend to set very clear rules and objectives for their students. This will result in very little confusion with regards to the expectations of the students and thus there will be fewer classroom management problems.

Classroom management and discipline share a close relationship. Many papers have been written about discipline and effective techniques that inexperienced teachers can use to improve discipline in the classroom. Many articles imply that the "Donít smile until Christmas" advice should not be taken too seriously as it may cause more problems than it alleviates for teachers. It clearly doesnít help the inexperienced teacher maintain an optimal learning environment for the students. Effective techniques have been developed to assist teachers in dealing with misbehavior in a fair and appropriate way.

The techniques listed provide effective implications for better discipline in the classroom.

  1. Let the students know what you need by having five to six classroom rules.

    Establishment of clear and specific rules in the class at the beginning of the year is crucial if you are to succeed in maintaining a good learning environment. For each rule, be sure to discuss acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and the consequences of breaking the rule. It is helpful to post the rules in the classroom.

  2. Be consistent and take charge of your classes in a firm manner .

    Make it clear to the class that everyone has the right to learn and no one will be allowed to jeopardize or interfere with this right.

  3. Be sure that the instruction you provide matches the ability of the student.

    When a student acts out in the classroom, assume that this is his or her way of defending themselves because he or she can not handle the material being covered. As a teacher you should conduct some tests to assess the studentís academic ability. By changing your teaching style you can accommodate the studentís academic ability and this may keep the student from acting out in class.

  4. Have a planned discipline strategy.
  5. Develop a discipline strategy with several steps to follow to deal with a problem. The first step to take in any situation is to identify the problem. Once the problem is known, you should try to develop some clue towards its causes and how it can be solved. Have a developed procedure to test the clues that you see as being the problem. This may be observing and assessing the situation, getting an experienced teacher to observe and assess, or revising the developed procedure once you determine the effects of its actions on student discipline.

  6. Listen to what students are thinking or feeling.
  7. Teachers should actively listen to their students to determine the problems that they may be encountering. By listening to the students the teachers gain insight to problems and are at a better advantage to prevent disruption that may occur.

  8. Invite help from other individuals who may come in contact with the students.
  9. Listening to what others think or know about the students may help the teacher in assisting the problem. Listen to the advice that these individuals offer, but be sure to build your own assumptions of the students.

  10. Correct inappropriate behavior before it gets out of hand.
  11. The teacher can use many signals to prevent some disruptions that have the potential to cause major problems. Some of the signals would be to use facial expressions, making individual eye contact, or walking near the area that is causing disruption.

  12. Use humor in the classroom.
  13. When faced with frustrating situations it is often useful to replace anger or stress with humor. It is a good idea to use humor to poke fun at yourself and not the students since this may only make the situation worst. Humor relaxes the situation because the students are now laughing at you and the tension is lifted to a certain extent.

  14. Use various techniques to move smoothly from one activity to another.
  15. This relates back to the rules and procedures of the class. Teachers should have routines for distribution of materials to the students, collecting materials, and rearrangement of seats for group discussions. By implying and practicing these routines the students are aware of what is expected in various activities.

  16. Offer choices to your students.
  17. Teachers should give the students a choice when faced with a problem. The students should be made aware of the consequences of the choice that they make. For example, if the student makes the choice of fighting with a classmate then the student should know what follows this choice, which is that their parents will be called and they will be sent home for the rest of the day.

  18. Spend time with your students individually.
  19. Teachers should make it a habit to talk with the students one on one, not only to discover what they like or dislike, but also to find out how the student approaches schoolwork. The feedback that is received from the students can be used to the teacherís advantage to assess with appropriate teaching techniques. Teachers should also speak to the students individually to show that they are interested in the studentsí ideas.

  20. Set up techniques that will teach the students to monitor their own behavior.
  21. Such a technique would be to construct a contingency contract, which provides the students with a two-way agreement. The student agrees to perform a certain task at a certain time and the teacher provides the student with support and payoff when the performance is appropriately fulfilled. When students are allowed the chance to monitor their own behavior they come to terms with appropriate and inappropriate actions in the classroom.

  22. Inform your students that accuses will not be accepted in the classroom.
  23. Teachers may want to implement this as a rule in the classroom at the beginning of the year so that students are aware that if something is required then it should be completed on time because accuses are not accepted. This helps to alleviate problems of incomplete homework, assignments, lab reports, etc.

  24. Designate your classroom into different activity or learning areas.
  25. Teachers often have certain areas assigned for different activities to take place. For example, there may be an area for group or individual activities to take place; there may be a collecting or distributing area, reading area, or reinforcement area. By designing certain areas for various activities, students are aware of how the class operates and this lessens the chance of disruption.

  26. Legitimize misbehavior that you cannot stop.
  27. When you feel you have done everything possible to put an end to misbehavior, think of creative things that you can do to legitimize it. For example, if students are throwing things like paper airplanes around the class then you may want to set some time aside for building airplanes with the class. By doing this you are legitimizing the situation in that the student can no longer see the fun in acting out. The misbehavior seems to lose its reason or point of being.

  28. Realize and accept that you will not reach every student in your class.
  29. Teachers have to face reality that not every student is capable of getting through to. Some students will not be cooperative at all and it is pointless for the teacher to try to come to terms with this student because they constantly tell you that they need and want more than you can provide them with. These must be allowed to accept failure when you have done everything in your power to accommodate the student.

  30. Reduce the stress that comes with being a teacher.
  31. As a teacher you will experience both ups and downs in different situations and you must learn to deal with this accordingly. Set realistic goals for both yourself and your students. Get acquainted with other staff members to share experiences and discuss resolutions of certain problems of misbehavior in the class.

  32. Start fresh everyday.

    Take every day as a new day, with a new prospect. What happened the day before is finished and you should not dwell on what could have been. Have a positive attitude and focus on making today a good one.

Many of the problems faced by teachers originate from poor classroom management, which may lead to a poor learning environment for students. Starting out the year by clearly defining rules and procedures will have positive effects on your classroom management. When students are made aware of the rules and consequences through practice, the students are more likely to behave in appropriate ways. Teachers should research the topic of discipline and use many of the techniques listed here to create an atmosphere where both the students and the teacher benefit. Having a list of effective techniques that provide implications for better discipline will help the inexperienced teacher deal with the disruptions that take place behind the classroom door.

Teaching is comprised of a myriad of complex issues. First, ethical issues deal with questions of right or wrong, these include our duties, obligations, rights and responsibilities. Ethics often imply words such as ought, should, fair and unfair. Second, ethical questions cannot be concluded on mere facts. For example, Ms. Payne has had several thefts of recess money in her grade 11 class. She has been unable to catch the thief, although she is certain, that some students in her class know who it is. She decides to punish the entire class by keeping them inside for their recess, until someone comes forward and tells her who the culprit is. In this case, knowing the consequence of our actions is not enough in determining the correct punishment. If Ms. Payne punishes her entire class, she may catch the thief, but this does not tell us whether punishing the entire group of students was the right thing to do. Situations like this, call upon ethical reasoning, whereby facts are relevant in deciding what to do. However, facts alone are not sufficient. We, also require ethical principles which enable us to judge the facts. Third, ethical questions should be separated from our values. Our values focus on what we like or what we believe to be good. If one enjoys Madonna or likes skating, that illustrates something about one's values. Often our values are neither right nor wrong, and they are a matter of free choice. For example, it would be hard to argue that someone who preferred swimming to skating had committed a mistake. Even, if we believe that Jodee Messina is better than Madonna, that is not a reason to make people who prefer Madonna listen to Jodee Messina. In general, questions of values represent our choices; what we like, what we find worth liking. However, there is no obligation to our values. On the other hand, since ethics focuses on what we ought to do, our ethical obligations

are often dependent of what we choose. The fact that we may want what someone else has, does not give us the right to take it. Nor does a choice to steal make stealing right or even "right for us" (Strike, 1988). Our ethical obligations continue to be obligations, no matter what we want, or what we may choose.

The case mentioned above concerning Ms. Payne, involves an ethical dilemma: a situation in which it seems possible to supply a reasonable argument for more than one course of action. We must think about the choices we have, then we must engage in moral reasoning. Teaching is saturated with dilemmas such as the one mentioned, plus many more. This is why it is extremely important to be aware of ethical reasoning. According to Strike, ethical reasoning involves two stages: applying principles to cases and judging the adequacy or applicability of the principles. In the first stage, we are summoned to determine the ethical principle or principles that apply to a case, to consider the facts of the case, and to compare facts to the principles and to make judgment.

Recalling the case of Ms. Payne and the stolen recess money, some ethical principles regarding punishment seem to directly relate to the case. Generally, we believe that we should punish the guilty not the innocent; that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty; and that the punishment should fit the crime. If Ms. Payne punishes the whole class for the behavior of an unknown few, she will violate these common ethical principles about punishment.

However, identifying the correct principle is not enough. Since the case above involves an ethical dilemma, it can call upon more than one course of action. For example, suppose Ms. Payne decides to punish the whole class. It could be argued that she has misplaced her anger, and has acted unethically because she punished innocent people. She might defend herself, by arguing that it was important to catch the thief or that it was important to stress to her entire class, that stealing is wrong. Perhaps she could not make these points by ignoring the matter. By keeping her entire class in, Ms Payne was able to catch the thief and in turn, teach her class a lesson. Could her action be justified on the basis that everyone benefits?

Situations like this, are considered ethical dilemmas. According to Strike, in order to think through such concepts we need to consider two principles: the principle of maximization and the principle of equal respect for persons. The principle of maximization suggests that we should take the course of action that benefits everyone. Recalling Ms. Payne's situation would ensure that she indeed used this principle in dealing with her class. Unlike this situation, the principle does not always yield the best results for all. Suppose we discovered that the way to produce the highest overall learning in a class is for the teacher to spend the time with the highly achieved children. Even though the low achievers learn less than they would with an equal division of time, the overall learning that takes place in the classroom is maximized when we concentrate on the high achievers. Now, lets consider this result and compare it with Ms. Payne's. Clearly we can distinguish between the two outcomes, one seems to benefit all students

involved while the other seems only to benefit the smarter bunch. Hence, the principle of benefit maximization seems to lead to an undesirable result and should therefore be looked at more closely when applied to specific situations.

The principle of equal respect requires that our actions respect the equal worth of others. It could relate to one of the Ten Commandments: do onto to others and you would have them do onto you. There are three components that fit with this principle: (1) it requires us to treat others as ends in themselves, instead as a means to further our own achievements; everyone has their own separate goals, (2) in considering the previously mentioned component, we must consider that people's goals are of their own free will/choice; and that we should respect everyone's choice, even if we do not agree with it, (3) even though we treat everyone equally and with respect, does not mean we must see people equal in the capabilities or abilities.

If we look closely at these two moral principles, we will notice that both principles are part of the moral concepts of almost everyone who is reading this manual. These are the sorts of the moral principles that everyone cites in making moral arguments. They are part of a common understanding. According to Strike, both principles are necessary for moral reflection. Neither principle is sufficient by itself. For example, the principle of equal respect requires us to respect others as well as we respect ourselves. However, in order to do this, we must engage in maximizing benefits; we want all people to be as happy as possible. The principles may also conflict with one another, just as they compliment each other. One difference between the two is in their regard for consequences. For the principle of benefit maximization, only consequences

matter. However, dignity and worth of the individuals involved is the sole factor for the principle of equal respect. This distinction poses a crucial question: when is it acceptable to violate a person's rights in order to produce a better outcome? For example, this may seem to be the best way to describe an issue that may arise when a teacher punishes an entire class for the act of a few unknown troublemakers. Students' rights are violated when they are innocently punished, however the overall consequence of the teacher's

actions may be called for. The principle of equal respect implies that we should as teachers, allocate a more equal share of benefits of education.

As teachers we are faced with many ethical issues. It is our responsibility individually and collectively to examine these issues and to form intelligent and rational opinions about them. Even though, some ethical issues are very much debatable, we must explore them in a fair and responsible manner. This can be achieved through ethical reflection; helping us to understand what consequences are at stake in our decision making, and implore us to make the right choices. Many ethical dilemmas are better handled if we incorporate them into the two principles.

 

A short description of Section 43 of the Criminal Code follows. Though this section does not highlight specific ways to deal with behavior issues in the classroom, it does highlight teachersí rights and the legal difficulties associated with inappropriate reactions to classroom behavior issues.

Section 43 Of The Criminal Code

(School Discipline)

In the past the Canadian public has been subjected to a great deal of misleading information surrounding school discipline and section 43 of the Criminal Code. The teachers

Of Canada want to make it very clear that Section 43 of the Criminal Code does not sanction or condone child abuse. The CTF opposes the use of corporal punishment and has an extensive policy supporting the right of children to be protected from abuse.

In order to get an understanding of the section 43 controversy, it would be beneficial to define exactly what section 43 means. Section 43 states the following:

"Every school teacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances." (Canadian Criminal Code, Section 43).

This simply states that in order for a teacher to use this section as a successful defense against an assault charge it is necessary that:

It should be noted that there have been many cases where teachers have tried to use section 43 as a defense and have been found guilty. Therefore, we can say that Section 43 does not provide teachers with an excuse and a defense to abuse children.

Because of the many misconceptions that exist a number of organizations and foundations have asked for the repeal of section 43. The most important player in this constitutional challenge is The Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law. This group is arguing that Section 43 of the Criminal Code violates the autonomous rights of children. If this group is successful and this law is ruled unconstitutional, then parents who spank their children will be considered criminals and charged with assault. Make no mistake about it, this group wants to radically change society and destroy the natural family.

This could also have a tremendous effect on teachers with regards to classroom discipline. The repeal of section 43 would send the wrong signal to both the students and the teachers. Students who are abusive to their peers, and in some cases to teachers, would receive a message that such behavior is more likely to be tolerated in the future. Teachers would be more vulnerable to the threat of prosecution and less likely to intervene in, and more likely to ignore, situations that require remedial action.

The government of Canada, as it has when other federal statutes have been challenged, takes the position that Section 43 is constitutionally and practically sound and should be retained. The federal government has been joined by the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF), which has become a vocal advocate of the existing law. While the CTF has adopted policy that opposes the use of corporal punishment in schools, it warns that the repeal of Section 43 would quickly lead to chaos in the classroom.

Many people and rights groups feel that striking down Section 43 is not the way to educate the public, to deal with parents or teachers who cannot control their rage, or to remediate judges who get sentimental feelings about the strap. As anxiety about school violence spirals, sending any message that can be interpreted as restricting teachers' ability to control students could further undermine public confidence in the safety of schools -- perhaps for good reason. It is all very well for outsiders to imagine that sweet persuasion will always break up disputes in the cafeteria, but the real world tells a different story. Repealing Section 43 would actually endanger children rather then protect them, because it would tie the hands of responsible adults who understand that managing excitable, immature, or even dangerous youths sometimes requires physical restraint.

Those opposing repeal also point out that because Section 43 permits only the reasonable use of force, it does not shield true child abuse. Responsible teachers use appropriate "force," such as a restraining hand on the shoulder or an escort to the principal's office, thousands of times every day not because the law permits it, but because common sense dictates it. Perhaps too many parents or teachers are acquitted under Section 43 for actions that exceed "reasonableness" in the minds of most adults, but the fact that some judges make poor decisions is no reason to strike down the law. And finally, interveners claim, Section 43 wisely allows police officers and judges the discretion to apply common sense and to refuse to proceed when complaints are trivial or malicious.

Without Section 43, charges of assault could be laid whenever a child or student is touched without permission, irrespective of the circumstances. Teachers could no longer break up schoolyard fights, put their arms around little children running in the halls, or even defend themselves from physical attacks. The trauma of criminal charges would irreparably damage careers and reputations. If section 43 is repealed the teaching profession will be left standing on one leg and classroom discipline will cease to exist as it should.

 

 

1. Henry Hess, "Father's Spanking of Child Not a Crime, Judge Rules," Globe and Mail, 27 April 1997.


2. Michele Landsberg, "If Law Protects Animals, Why Not Children?," Toronto Star, 12 December 1999.