“My first day as a new preschool teacher, I was determined to be the best teacher ever. My hopes went right down the drain in a matter of days. I was faced with a class full of unruly children determined to do what they wanted, not what I asked. This was not what I expected. I was more than discouraged; I wanted to quit.”
How can you maintain effective discipline within the classroom?
Effective discipline means helping children develop self control and giving them the tools to make right decisions. With dedication and hard work, you can maintain a calm, relaxing classroom.
- Explain the Rules: Make sure children know the rules. Sit down and explain the rules to the children. Remind the children of the rules if they forget them. Let them help you make a “School Rules” chart or poster to hang in the classroom.
- Remain Calm: When you feel you are growing agitated with a child’s impulsive behavior, remain calm. Preschool children are very young and still need time to grow and mature. Avoid yelling or becoming upset.
- Be Honest: Honesty is the best policy. If a child has difficulty following a specific rule, take them aside and explain why that rule is important and must be obeyed.
- Redirect as Necessary: One of the quickest ways to resolve a conflict is to redirect children to a new activity or remove the item causing the dispute.
- Actively Listen: Be an active listener. When preschoolers disobey the rules of the classroom, take time to talk to them about it before judging. Maybe they misunderstood the rules or possibly they think they had a good reason for breaking the rules. Listening to the child can save both of you unnecessary anxieties.
Top 10 Discipline Tips
“Classroom management is a skill that is not only learned but practiced daily. Here are ten tips that can lead to successful classroom management and discipline. These tips can help you cut down on discipline problems and leave you with fewer interruptions and disruptions.”
- It's Easier to Get Easier
Many teachers make the mistake of starting the school year with a poor discipline plan. Students quickly assess the situation in each class and realize what they will be allowed to get away with. Once you set a precedent of allowing a lot of disruptions, it can be very hard to start better classroom management and discipline techniques. However, it is never tough to get easier as the year goes on. While you don't have to follow the adage, "Never smile until Christmas," it does have its merits.
- Fairness is Key
Students have a distinct sense of what is and what is not fair. You must act fairly for all students if you expect to be respected. If you do not treat all students equitably, you will be labeled as unfair and students will not be keen to follow your rules. Make sure that if your best student does something wrong, they too get punished for it.
- Deal with Disruptions with as Little Interruption as Possible
When you have classroom disruptions, it is imperative that you deal with them immediately and with as little interruption of your class momentum as possible. If students are talking amongst themselves and you are having a classroom discussion, ask one of them a question to try to get them back on track. If you have to stop the flow of your lesson to deal with disruptions, then you are robbing students who want to learn of their precious in-class time.
- Avoid Confrontations in Front of Students
Whenever there is a confrontation in class there is a winner and a loser. Obviously as the teacher, you need to keep order and discipline in your class. However, it is much better to deal with discipline issues privately than cause a student to 'lose face' in front of their friends. It is not a good idea to make an example out of a disciplinary issue. Even though other students might get the point, you might have lost any chance of actually teaching that student anything in your class.
- Stop Disruptions with a Little Humor
Sometimes all it takes is for everyone to have a good laugh to get things back on track in a classroom. Many times, however, teachers confuse good humor with sarcasm. While humor can quickly diffuse a situation, sarcasm may harm your relationship with the students involved. Use your best judgment, but realize, that what some people think is funny others find to be offensive.
- Keep High Expectations in Your Class
Expect that your students will behave, not that they will disrupt. Reinforce this with the way you speak to your students. When you begin the day, tell your students your expectations. For example, you might say, "During this whole group session, I expect you to raise your hands and be recognized before you start speaking. I also expect you to respect each other's opinions and listen to what each person has to say."
- Over Plan
Free time is something teachers should avoid. By allowing students time just to talk each day, you are setting a precedent about how you view academics and your subject. To avoid this, overplan. Write additional activities into your lesson plans just in case your main lesson runs short. When you have too much to cover, you'll never run out of lessons and you will avoid free time. You can also fill up any left over time with mini-lessons.
- Be Consistent
One of the worst things you can do as a teacher is to NOT enforce your rules consistently. If one day you ignore misbehaviors and the next day you jump on someone for the smallest infraction, your students will quickly lose respect for you. Your students have the right to expect you to basically be the same every day. Moodiness is not allowed. Once you lose your student's respect, you also lose their attention and their desire to please you.
by Melissa Kelly
Games Help Teach Discipline
A child’s language and cognitive skills are not always at the same learning level. Physical abilities and coordination may not allow them to perform the tasks they want to, leading to frustration. Games are a good way to teach children skills and to have fun at the same time. It is a good way to learn everyday good behavior and discipline. Here are some games that provide creative disciple teaching moments.
- Tick -Tock
This game helps to focus the children on a specific task and encourages them to perform it in a timely manner. The child is given a task and the timer is set for the normal amount of time it would take the child to complete. The goal is for the child to keep on task for that time period and do a good job. So the reward is based on staying on task the whole time unti