Discipline in the classroom Discipline in the classroom has always

Discipline in the classroom has always been an important issue in the classroom. It seems to be a bigger issue in schools than at adult academies. There needs to be a balance between rewards and punishment and the teacher shouldn't have to spend most of the class punishing instead of teaching.

I can recall being disciplined when I was in elementary school. The punishments ranged from being hit on the knuckles with a ruler to writing a page of lines of the same sentence. At my high school in Australia, a private high school, if the teacher had a problem with a student they would give the student a lunch time detention, a Friday afternoon detention or they would send the student to the year level coordinator or the deputy headmaster.

There is much debate as to whether corporal punishment is necessary or effective. In Australia it is usually not used but in Korea it is widely used and accepted (although it has been toned down a lot compared to 20 or 30 years ago).

When I taught at a Korean academy for elementary school students I used to use a point system. After two warnings I would send the student outside. If the student did well they would get stickers. Currently at my Korean high school the students are hit with a stick, made to put their hands-up and kneel or told to go outside.

Rewards are just as important as punishment. Students need to be encouraged even if it only making positive comments about their work. Students who perform well and try hard should be given award certificates.

The behavior of the teacher can seriously affect the discipline in the class. That is to say a certain group of students may be noisy with one teacher and very well behaved with another.

Discipline problems may arise because of a number of factors. The student may be experiencing problems at home and therefore affecting their behavior at school. Bad behavior may be a form of attention seeking. A student may play up because of peer pressure. Boredom or giving preference to one student over another also may be why a class is having discipline problems.

There are several ways to help improve classroom discipline. If you make a threat make sure you carry it out. Students won't take you seriously if you make 'empty' threats. Don't shout in the class. It is counter-productive. Give each student an equal amount of attention. If you give a rule to the students such as getting to the class on time, make sure you follow it too. Never use violence and become familiar with the class discipline policy your school has.

There are some other priceless tips that are useful. It's easier to start strict and become less strict than the other way round. Deal with disruptive students quickly and immediately so as not to waste too much teaching time. Deal with these students after class rather than in front of the whole class. Sometimes humor can be used to diffuse a problem situation. Keep expectations high in the class. Plan more than you need to for each lesson. Make the class rules understandable and start each day with the expectation that the students will behave.

Students need to be disciplined as schools not only teach academic education but moral education. Teachers all know classes that are well behaved are much more enjoyable to teach than ill disciplined classes. So finding the balance between having fun and disciplining is the key.


1. ITTT International TEFL Teaching Training internet course, Unit 19 ' Teaching special groups

2. Top 10 Tips for Classroom Discipline and Management, Melissa Kelly, http://712educators.about.com/od/discipline/tp/disciplinetips.htm