A concern related to student behavior and classroom discipline is the ?Level of Law? that is set in place by the teacher for the class. A level of law represents the working ethical and behavior system in the classroom setting. What level of behavior is permitted in the class? Can students shout, push, criticize other students and act not in accordance with other rules set forth by the school?
As teachers are establishing their ?level of law? at the beginning of the school year, they may need to explain on the first day of class, that these rules are not personally directed towards any one particular student, group of students but rather all the students in the class. The teacher may also point out that that the purpose of class rules is to allow for a comfortable learning environment for all students and as well as the teacher.
Some teachers feel apprehensive setting a certain ?rule? system in the class, but in reality there must be some level set or the teacher can not teach nor can the students learn in a comfortable environment. Some new or inexperienced teachers don?t discipline or have a very low ?level of law? in their classrooms because of fear. Others don?t discipline because they are trying to ?work with? the problem students. One of the difficulties that inexperienced teachers face is trying to establish a ?comfort? level. But, what is a ?comfort? level if you have no experience? It can be a daunting experience for new teachers but in due course it just comes with experience. Some teacher training institutions inadequately prepare them to deal with discipline issues in their classroom. Therefore, once teachers decide that discipline is essential, most have to rely on techniques from which they saw used when they themselves were students in school.
Inexperienced teachers sometimes think that by beginning their lesson, the class will settle down and that the children will see that things are underway and now it?s time to get to work. Sometimes this will work but this also sends a greater message that the children will ?compete? with you and you don?t mind them talking while you talk. The ?focusing ? technique works very effective in these sort of situations, where the students and teacher are trying to compete for talk time. A technique, that demands their total attention before class is to begin. It means that you wait until all students have settled down by standing in front of the class and ?focusing? on them without muttering a word and after a few seconds the lesson is started in a much more quieter voice than normal. A softer spoken teacher often has a calmer quieter classroom because the students sit still in order to hear what the teacher is actually saying.
Author: Don Drouin
Date of post: 2006-07-21