Discipline to Promote Responsibility & Learning

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Dr. Marvin Marshall’s Blog

The Best Way to Promote Responsibility

One vital thought to keep in mind when promoting responsibility with the young is this: “Do not do something for them that they can do for themselves.” When you want the young person to do something and he or she does not, oftentimes stress is induced—on the adult. The youngster is aware of your emotions and (nonconsciously) derives a sense of power from it. What he is doing—or not doing—is seen as directing your … [Read more...]

Encouragement, Empowerment, and Likability

We all want to be liked—teachers are no different. Unfortunately, one of the major mistakes many new teachers make is attempting to have their students like them by befriending them. This often takes the form of encouraging students to call them by their given name rather than by their surname, and generally to place themselves on the same level as their students. Certainly, teachers should be friendly, but friendship is … [Read more...]

Success and Positivity

Human nature is based on a deficit model—to fix what is wrong. In a very real sense, our attention is geared at fixing others. For example, after a meeting with teachers, the student said to his mother, “Why didn’t they talk more about my social studies—what I am good at instead of what I am not good at? All they want to do is fix what is wrong with me.” The mother responded by saying, “They are trying to help … [Read more...]

Get Children to Take Ownership

All parents and teachers want children to keep their end of agreements. For example, if a child says he will take out the garbage, the parent expects that’s what will happen. If a student says she will do her homework, the teacher expects her to follow through. When the youth doesn’t do what he or she promised to do, adults often try to discipline the child, dishing out punishments or imposing consequences. This approach … [Read more...]

Positivity Builds Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a person’s sense of self-worth and is manifested in large part by a person’s self-talk. One of the advantages researchers report about positive self-talk is that it encourages persistence—a key characteristic for success. Negative self-talk creates a negative mindset that can lead to avoiding failure rather than reaching for success. The more young people are encouraged and are talked to in positive ways … [Read more...]

Discipline and Fairness

Maintaining order in your classroom or your home is critical. As you do so, though, never forget this basic truth about discipline: Children do not mind a tough teacher (or parent) but they despise an unfair one. Being unfair can run the gamut from imposing a harsh punishment one day and a lenient one the next, or not giving a reward for something even though the same behavior earned a reward last week. Once children … [Read more...]

Charter Schools and Discipline

Charter schools were conceived in large part as an alternative to underperforming public schools. Charter schools allow educators and entrepreneurs to create new teaching models. More flexibility will allow more successful approaches for dealing with not only instruction but also behavior and discipline problems that impinge on the effectiveness of schools. The ability to experiment created enthusiasm nationwide for the … [Read more...]

Recess and Discipline

I recently read an article in The Atlantic about teaching in Finland. In the piece, an American teacher in Helsinki questioned the national practice of giving 15 minute breaks each hour—until he saw the difference it made in his classroom. In Finland, teachers send kids outside—rain or shine—for a 15-minute break after every 45 minutes of teaching. And the children get to decide how they spend their break times. There … [Read more...]

No Child Left Behind and Discipline

The follow-up to the original 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now referred to as “No Child Left Behind,” will rank as one of the most poorly constructed laws to improve education. The approaches to increase low academic performance (which always concerns behavior and how schools handle discipline challenges) are narrowly drawn and rigid and in many ways counterproductive for improving education. In addition, … [Read more...]

Declining Discipline Suspensions?

The Los Angeles Times reported on June 1, 2014 that the Los Angeles Unified School District’s disciplinary suspensions have been reduced. The article reported about schools where administrators typically handled discipline problems by suspending students. However, several parents complained that their children were sent home without officially being suspended. Several parents at one of the schools said their children … [Read more...]