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How to Discipline Students Without Punishing Them

By Ryan Crawley,

24 Jan 2020

Back in the day, teachers used to discipline students for bad behavior in couple of different ways.

Way in the past, there used to be a bit of corporal punishment for unruly behavior that would consist of a ruler across the knuckles or a spanking with a wooden board.

You might think that this style of punishment is archaic, but I can remember it being done back when I was in school.

It didn’t matter if the kid was a high school or elementary student, teachers were trained to discipline students only in these ways. After a while, schools started changing over more towards less physical punishment and explored other styles of discipline.

A common one is to keep the student after school when they are misbehaving.

For younger students, it might be having the child miss recess instead.

And for those students that are very troubled, suspending the students for a few days in another alternative.

However, with the times changing, parents are asking teachers to discipline students in different ways. Over the last couple years of my teaching career, I have had a few odd requests.

I like to keep the classroom under control and make it a safe place for all students.

When a child is misbehaving too greatly, whether just acting out or deciding to tease another kid, I always step in with discipline and nip it in the bud.

This might result in the student missing recess, having to stay after school, or if they are really bad, a trip to the principal’s office.

Now parents are arranging special after school meetings with me to discuss disciplining their child.

Actually, they are wanting no punishment inflicted on their child at all.

I had one set of parents say that it did not improve the kid’s behavior, so they stopped punishing them at home as well.

My answer was that maybe this was the problem.

In any case, parents have asked me to stop with the punishment and let everything slide.

I would often say that I would consider everything, but there has to be discipline in place otherwise the natives would go wild. Below is a list of ways you can incorporate into your teaching style to discipline your students without the usual punishment of staying after school or trips to the principal’s office. Behavior Chart This is often used in elementary school for certain students that are having some difficulties in the classroom.

Behavior charts are really only effective when you have the student around you most of the day.

They don’t usually work well when you just have them for an hour a day because you can’t hold them accountable for their behavior when it is a small fraction of their school day. Quite a few behavior charts are the type that include a three strikes rule.

This gives the student a couple of chances to fix their behavior before they get into some sort of trouble.

Now what can that discipline be like if you can’t send them to the office or take away recess time? Educating Students on Proper Behavior Let’s face it, sometimes students just don’t know how to act properly because their parents have failed to teach them.

If they have gone ten years without being disciplined for bad behavior, it could be very difficult for them to change their ways overnight.

Plus, they may not even know what the correct behavior is in the first place.

This means that you have to impart some wisdom educating the students on proper conduct.

This may be done with the whole class at once or bringing the student in to have lunch in the classroom where you can tutor them on behavior and attitude one-on-one. Find Alternatives Sometimes students just get a bit hyper or involved in the moment and don’t take the time to calm down before they act.

The key is to get them thinking about what they could have done differently at that moment instead of behaving poorly like they did.

Because of this, I give a homework assignment to discipline student.

The assignment is to write a page on other proper ways they could have acted instead of the way they did.

This will get them thinking, hopefully, so the next time some similar situation comes around, they will be better prepared to do the right thing.   Trying to discipline students without punishing them is an odd concept for most educators since they have a whole classroom of 30 students to keep in check at once.

It is much easier to hand out punishments quickly to individual students without considering there could be better options.

It all comes down to what blends in well with your own teaching style.

This could be quite an adjustment for you, but having other options at your disposal could come in handy down the road.