The basic rights of teacher in their classrooms include: (1) the right to establish optimal learning environments; (2) the right to request and express appropriate behavior; and (3) the right to receive help from administrators and parents as needed. (Behavior Management Themes, 2007) the basic rights of students in the classroom include: (1) the right to have teachers who help limit self-destructing behavior; and (2) the right to choose how to behave. (Behavior Management Themes, 2007) These rights and needs of students are most optimally met through use of assertive discipline in which the teacher "...clearly communicates the expectations to the students and consistently follows-up with appropriate actions, but never violates, the best interests of the students." (Behavior Management Themes, 2007) the work of Usha McNab entitled: "The Individual and the Whole Class" states that: "that the teacher needs to work on creating a social and cultural milieu in the classroom to cause positive behavior, where pupils can have control of themselves, and a feeling of empowerment and self-esteem, and problems can be seen as interesting puzzles to be solved through recognizing the network of causes. If there is a disturbance, an immediate mild rebuke is often enough. Planned "ignoring" of some provocative behavior, linked with positive attention for work is often useful." (nd) in fact, this approach is stated by McNab to be use in Assertive Discipline: "where the clear rules, rewards, and consequences are known to all, which enables the teacher to manage behavior inn the classroom without lowering the children's self-esteem or making it a personal issue. Children themselves recently confirmed the benefits of this approach when they described how a code of discipline had improved their school." (nd)
X. Logical Consequences
John Shindler states in the work entitled: "Developing Logical Consequences" that "An essential part of a well functioning system of social relationships" or the 'social contract' is "...a set of logical and related consequences for student behavior. Consequences act to create boundaries and clarity of expectations." (Shindler, nd) in his work, Shindler compares consequences with punishment and states that: "In a punishment condition, the pain and discomfort inflicted on the "punished" is always calculated by an external agent, the "punisher." With consequences, the cost or benefit is determined by natural laws, whereas with the punishment, the price is determined artificially. Consequences teach lessons, punishments teach avoidance of the punisher. Most consequences are understood before decisions are made and actions take place. Punishments are typically reactive." (nd) the following chart lists consequences vs. punishments in making a comparison of the two.
Consequences vs. Punishments: A Comparison
Intend to teach lessons
Intend to give discomfort
Foster internal locus of control
Foster external locus of control
Are logical and related
Are unrelated and personal
Work in the long-term
Work in the short-term
Can promote obedience (but more likely resentment)
Source: Shindler (nd)
The following is an example of a common uniform school-wide policy chart listing the levels of consequences for each incident of misbehavior.
Figure 2 - Common uniform school-wide policy chart depicting levels' of consequences for each misbehavior
Time at recess or after school
Detention and/or contacting parents
Source: Shindler (nd)
According to Shindler: "Effective consequences are proactively built in to the contract before they are implemented." (nd)
XI.Ascending & Increasing Level of Consequences for Each Problem Behavior
Shindler additionally states that it only makes good sense: "...to have an increasingly more powerful series of consequences for a particular problem behavior. If the problem behavior is minor and it is infrequent, a small consequence may be all that is necessary. If it is prevalent or is a persistent problem for a particular student, more significant consequences may be necessary to help make the need for more responsible choices more pronounced." (nd) the following is a list of a series of ascending consequences:
1st offense (the student turns to a neighbor to talk while the teacher is talking): consequence - teacher stops talking (when they are interrupted) and says something to the effect "I need everyone's attention, so I will start over with the directions." This consequence is simple, but effective. It does not take a lot of time or energy, but it gets the message across.
2nd offense (the teacher notices that the student is talking to their neighbor when they are supposed to be attentive to another student who is contributing): Next level consequence - student comes up with a strategy to make sure they are able to pay attention when it is required.
3rd offense (student does it again): consequence - student is moved to another seat.
4th offense (student has the same problem in the new location): consequence - conference with the teacher after school resulting in a written contract." (Shindler, nd)
The following table lists the possible consequences for the student's offending behaviors.
Figure 3 - Example Ideas for Consequences for Student's Offensive Behavior
Turning in assignment late
Loss of points
Problem lining up
Practice lining up
Frequent talking out of turn
Loss of opportunity to talk
Problem-solve solutions to fix problem
Loss of opportunity to take part in activity
Group can not refrain from conflict that leads to poor performance
2nd intervention - clarify need to resolve conflict - confirm commitment to conflict-free effort
3rd intervention - loss of opportunity to take part in activity, potentially needing to reflect on solutions for future efforts, and/or need to complete work on own time.
Tapping pencils on desks
Have students put everything down and have their hands free while listening
Source: Shindler (nd)
Review of the Literature Reviewed
It has been related in this study the research of Canter and Canter who have stated that the key goal in the Assertive Discipline model is assisting students in understanding that they are responsible for and choose their own behavior. When the students chooses good behavior their self-esteem and academic success increases. Assertive Discipline is characterized by clear communication to students of the expectations of the teacher who not only talks the talks, or points out the consequences that may result from the student's action, but this teacher walks the walk as well by delivering the student unto the consequences, which they choose. This teacher however, has the student's best interest always in mind. The philosophical base of the Assertive Discipline approach is the difficulty experienced historically by teachers in exerting control of the inappropriate behavior of students in the classroom and it is this that resulted in what is a structured and systematic approach in which the teacher grasps control of the classroom and simultaneously influences the student's behavior in a positive manner. This model is one that is inclusive of the concept of corrective discipline through a positive behavioral management in what is a democratic and cooperative environment. Positive consequences were found by the Canters to be more of a factor in determining the behavior of students than negative consequences or in other words, the student would prefer to exhibit good behavior in order to receive the reward promised by the teacher instead of fear of the negative consequences that were set out for exhibiting bad behavior. Review of the literature has also related that it is critically necessary that the teacher develop positive relationships with the students listening intently to what the students are conveying and supporting them and showing respect to them at all times. The teacher who takes the approach of Assertive Discipline is one who provides encouragement, rewards and provide students with instruction that are clear.
Keys to implementing Assertive Discipline include the following steps:
1) Choose clear observable rules for consistent implementation in the classroom;
2) Decide the consequences for both negative and positive behavior in the classroom;
3) Call a class meeting and state the rules plainly, so that all understand what is being said;
4) Inform the parents of students of the program of discipline.
The teacher should always when speaking do so in a firm tone of voice and make eye contact with students being responsive to appropriate behavior exhibited by students. Assertive Discipline is not difficult to implement and is effectively on a general basis. Assertive Discipline provides students who are misbehaving with the right type of attention for exhibiting good behavior. Parents are involved and through cooperation in discipline techniques, unproductive behaviors have been shown to lessen. Critics of the Assertive Discipline approach hold that children should be taught to follow rules simply because it is the right thing to do and further that the techniques of Assertive Discipline are forms of control that do not encourage critical thinking in the child and interferes with the child in development of self-reliance.
THE EFFECT of ASSERTIVE DISCIPLINE on SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS in the CLASSROOM