Part 3 Discipline: What can schools do to reduce disciplinary problems?

Armand A. Fusco, Ed.D.:

“The key to greater learning begins with knowing how to manage a classroom.” What must be added is “how to manage a school” and “how to manage a school district.” Solving disciplinary problems cannot be done in the classroom alone. Reigning in disciplinary problems must begin with leadership at the school and district levels.

What’s reassuring is that there is no need to “reinvent the wheel.” All of the “how-to” has been developed by a variety of experts and confirmed by numerous studies. One such example is Schoolwide and Classroom Discipline developed by The Northwest Regional Laboratory. It provides an abundance of practical solutions, has pages of references, and it’s free.

According to Harry K. Wong, How to be an Effective Teacher, the most common mistake teachers make in disciplining is that they don’t do classroom management—“they present lessons, and if something goes wrong, they discipline.” There is nothing mystical about classroom management. Simply stated, classroom management is the practices and procedures that allow teachers to teach and students to learn. Aren’t teachers trained in effective classroom management techniques? No! That’s why discipline is rated the number one problem by classroom teachers, and it’s the reason why classroom management seminars are so popular.

In one such seminar conducted by Fred Jones, who has written three books on classroom management, a teacher asked a rather profound question: “Why weren’t we given this information about classroom discipline 20 years ago?”

Part 2: Can Corporal Punishment Bring Back Discipline?