Originally Posted by shelbean91
Sunshine - I'd love some concrete examples of what to do that does not utilize some sort of reward/punishment system. I don't use the flip card things, but I do sometimes withhold recess. Not as a punishment, per se, but a natural consequence - I explain to the class if they choose to play when they have work time, then they will have to work when it's play time. I don't see that as a punishment, but a consequence. I think there is a very fine line, of course.
And having 30+ kids in a classroom is nothing like taking care of kids at home. 30+kids while trying to teach an endless amount of (sometimes non age appropriate) standards, it's natural to default to the quickest/easiest route.
Agreed it's not necessarily the best. I'm always striving to improve personally, but with seniority and tenure such an issue all over, there's not much incentive beyond personal best to change these discipline methods. I mean, the tenured teachers won't lose their job no matter what, so they don't need to change and the non tenured teachers will lose their job no matter how well they're doing. It's very discouraging, both as a teacher and a parent.
When I was working as an ed assistant we had a workshop with Barbara Coloroso (she wrote Kids are Worth It and was a teacher) to address this very issue. I don't know if it's commercially available but she had a series of handbooks for teachers & administrators on running a classroom without behaviour modification methods, so it might be worth seeing if that's out there.
I worked in several classrooms without something like a flip card system, and recess wasn't something that could be taken away, and classrooms were still appropriately managed. But I have to say it wasn't a single technique that led to that - it was how the entire day was structured, and also a lot about the teacher's relationship to the kids and capacity to step in, all of which takes time. I never was solely in charge so I would be hesitant to try to give anyone step-by-step instructions, but I would say it was largely about positive expectations.
For example when a class was getting antsy, the teacher would step in, shut the lights on and off, and say something like "it's too antsy in here! Let's all jump up and down 30 times and then sit down and take 5 deep breaths before getting back to our work" as opposed to "you're all going to miss recess." The focus was on giving the kids the tools they needed to settle rather than taking away something they clearly needed that day (recess).
But of course it isn't that simple - it had to do with the whole rhythm and flow.