Foundations of Today's Best
Systems of Discipline
Megan, David, Kevin, Gidget, Chris
Understanding Group Dynamics: Fritz Redl and William
• 1951:first theory-based, humane classroom discipline
• How does group behavior affect individual behavior?
• Group dynamics precede individual behavior
• Student roles: leader, follower, clown, instigator, and scapegoat
• Teacher roles: referee, judge, surrogate parent, etc.
• Be aware of roles and encourage or discourage certain roles
• Use influence techniques over punishment
o Supporting self-control
o Situational assistance
o Appraising reality
• Involve students in discussions of class rules and consequences
o This technique would not be widely used until years later
• Overall, most teachers did not convert their classrooms to follow Redl
and Wattenberg’s ideas when these ideas were nw
Principles of Behavior Shaping: B. F. Skinner
• Behavior modification
• Reinforcing stimulus
o Constant reinforcement
o Intermittent reinforcement
• Shaping behavior done through
• Reinforcement not used by teachers
exclusively for discipline
o Skinner's great accomplishment
Behavior as Choice: William Glasser
• School without Failure, 1969, a classic educational book
• In 1965, Glasser pioneered reality therapy, which
o Focuses on the present
o Stays away from criticizing and blaming
o Remains nonjudgmental and noncoercive
o Doesn’t get bogged down in excuses
o Works on a specific, workable plan to reconnect with people
o Shows patience and support for the troubled person while also
remaining focused on the problem, disconnectedness
• Schools without Failure applied reality therapy to the classroom and added
3 new ideas
o Failure damages motivation. All students should feel some success.
o Students choose to misbehave. Teachers need to influence choices.
o Classroom meetings make students a part of the reflection and
solution. Behavior tends to improve when students are involved.
• Teachers liked the student-centered approach as opposed to Skinner’s
You are an English teacher for 9th graders at Normal High School
in Philadelphia, PA. You have spent the past two weeks trying to
teach Romeo and Juliet, but you have noticed that two members of
the class are not paying attention and are disrupting the class at
various times. In order to encourage their participation, you have
increased your praise for the students if they participate in the
1. What theorist are you? What information helped you make that
2. Do you agree or disagree with this strategy? Why or why not?
Lesson Management: Jacob Kounin
Good discipline not dependent on what teachers do
when misbehavior occurs but how they presented
• Well behaved classes -
o Keep students alert, on task, involved
o Keep students accountable
o Avoid satiation
Congruent Communication: Haim Ginott
Teacher and Child (1971)
• Genuine Discipline - discipline through example
• Laconic Language - clarity of intent
• Students as Social Equals - students capable of
• Sane Messages - deal with present situation, do
not dwell on past infractions nor student's
Human Needs and Democratic Teaching: Rudolf Dreikurs
• Need For Belonging
• Democratic Classroom - students are involved in making rules
• mistaken goals:
o attention - talk out, show off, interrupt
o power - showing that teacher can not make student do anything
o revenge - lying, subverting class activities, disrupting the class
o inadequacy - withdrawing, no effort to learn
• Best way to correct misbehavior:
o identify mistaken goal
o discuss mistaken goal with student
A high school calculus class is learning how to use their graphing calculators to
visualize a difficult problem. Teaching this involves both clear communication,
and self discipline of the students to follow the prescribed steps. Two of the
students in the back seem to be more engrossed in their calculators as a student
should be for such a problem. Upon inspection, the teacher finds that a game
has been installed on the students' calculators. The teacher responds, "I do not
believe it is right to distract yourselves with games during class. Start by typing
in y=2x..." The teacher simply corrected the behavior, and continued on with
instruction. The teacher also did not punish the students by deleting the
game. The students, understand what the correct behavior is, and do not dwell
on the bad behavior, but simply move on with the lesson. Treated as social
equals, over time the students decide to respect the teacher and not play games
1. Which of the educational thinkers has influenced this discipline style?
2. Which discipline theories are being utilized?
3. What problems might occur with this strategy?
4. Why would this strategy work well? Or why not?
Assertive Discipline: Lee and Marlene Canter
• Assertive Discipline was a theory that became popular in 1976 and was
widely used for 20 years.
o Assertive Discipline: A Take-Charge approach for Today's Educator.
• Insisted on a well structured plan that provided rights for the students to
learn and for the teachers to teach.
o A calm and orderly classroom revolved around three aspects:
Clear set of rules
Negative Consequences (Hierarchy of Unpleasantness)
• They later outlined three types of teachers due to criticisms of being too
o Hostile Teachers
o Nonassertive Teachers
o Assertive Teachers
Responsibility and Inner Discipline: Barbara Coloroso
• Teach students to conduct themselves in acceptable
o Classrooms ideal place to learn this
• Teachers help students learn self-control and inner
• Student makes decisions for future behavior
o Students control lives through decisions they make;
teachers are guides
Classroom Learning Communities: Alfie Kohn
• “We act as though our goal is short-term retention of right
answers rather than genuine understanding.”
• Advocates non-traditional methods of teaching that promotes
group thinking, respect, student guided education, and authentic
o Feels that typical approaches such as lecture, demonstration,
quizzes and test focus on short term goals.
o Mistakes are part of learning, not to be held against a student.
• Ways to develop learning communities, places where student
care about each others growth and feel safe:
o Connect (classroom meetings)
It is the first week of the year in your 8th grade Math Class. You spend a day on
introductions and then you jump into new material. After about a week many of
the students are clearly not following the new math principles, which is leading to
an increase of misbehavior. The next Monday you decide to try a student led
discussion to find out what is not working for them. You also try to find out how
math can relate to current interests. This new strategy seems to help. Students
are asking more questions with actual interests and in turn are self disciplining
Which educator's strategy does this approach most resemble? How so?
How could this potentially go wrong? And what will you do different at the
beginning of next year?