Discipline with Dignity

There are ways to discipline children in front of their peers without embarrassing them.

By Elisa Jackson


Discipline with Dignity

If another adult made you upset at a social event, would you go up to them in front of a crowd, yell at them, put them down, and embarrass them in front of your peers? I would hope not. As teachers we should not do that to students as we discipline them either. Disciplining with dignity is something we should practice as teachers, leaders, and role models for our students.

There are always those students who need to be disciplined throughout the day, and there are those who need it only once in awhile. One of the ways to handle these situations is to say the student's name and ask them to stop doing whatever they are doing. This should be a quick reminder that allows you to continue with your lesson. This, hopefully, will stop the behavior for the moment, and not interrupt the lesson. Whether you give a verbal warning, or you send the student to another area of the classroom, make sure that the rest of the class does not spend too much time focusing on that student, and that they focus right back on you.

Once the rest of the class is working independently, you have time to go up to the student and talk to them quietly about their behavior. No one else in the class should be able to hear what you are talking about. Doing this quietly will show the student that you are there to be the disciplinarian, but you do not have an agenda to put them down in front of their class. If you did that, they would not respect you, and would most likely act out again.

Students always want to know that you still care about them, even if they didn’t behave properly. One way you can prove this is by telling them that you respect them, but you do not respect the choices they made. Then talk about those choices and how they can make better ones in the future. This way, they see that you are not there to embarrass them, but are there to help them make the best decisions.

Disciplining your students, while still showing respect for them, is one way that you can create a great repoire with your students. You will gain their respect, and they in turn will have a greater incentive to follow classroom rules. What follows are more activities that you can do with your class in order to create a positive learning environment, even during the times when discipline is necessary.

Disciplining with Dignity:

Self Awareness

This lesson focuses on being self aware and learning how to control your actions. This allows students to participate in discussions on how to behave.

I Can Manage Myself

In this lesson, students write a reflection on a negative behavior they had in class. It allows students to answer questions and write about how to correct the behavior.

Classroom Behavior Role Play

In this role play lesson, students read the book "Miss Nelson is Missing" and discuss the behaviors of the students in class and what they did to cause Miss Nelson to want to be more strict with them. This is great for young students.

Thinking About My Day

This is a reflection sheet on which young students reflect on their day. They answer short answer questions about their behavior.