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Thoughts about classroom discipline

by Elaine Gallagher What you should know… As educators we don’t want to only correct behaviors. We want to change them. The majority of problems in the classroom have to do with lack of a good discipline system, poor teaching, a poor teaching profile, or ineffective class administration and lack of procedures which could lead […]

Autor: UNOi

Fecha: 14 de diciembre de 2015

by Elaine Gallagher

What you should know… As educators we don’t want to only correct behaviors. We want to change them.

The majority of problems in the classroom have to do with lack of a good discipline system, poor teaching, a poor teaching profile, or ineffective class administration and lack of procedures which could lead to routines..

What is your classroom management profile? 

The steps are simple:                                                              

  1. Read each statement carefully.
  2. Write your response, from the scale below, on the blank lines.
  3. Respond to each statement based upon either actual experience or an imaginary situation.
  4. Then, follow the scoring instructions below.


1 = Strongly Disagree       2 = Disagree                3 = Neutral

4 = Agree                          5 = Strongly Agree

  1. ———————————————————————————–
  2. If a student is disruptive during my class, I put him/her out of class and refer him/her to the guidance tutor or coordinator for a disciplinary warning, without further discussion.  ______
  3. I don’t want to impose any rules on my students. __________
  4. The classroom must be quiet in order for students to learn. _________
  5. I am concerned about what my students learn and how they learn. ________
  6. If a student turns in a late homework assignment, it’s not my problem. ______
  7. I don’t want to reprimand a student because it might hurt his/her feelings. _____
  8. Class preparation isn’t worth the effort. ________
  9. I always try to explain the reasons behind my rules and decisions. _______
  10. I will not accept excuses from a student who is late. _______
  11. The emotional well-being of my students is more important than classroom control. _______
  12. My students understand that they can interrupt my teaching if they have a relevant question to ask me. _________
  13. If a student asks to leave class early, for any reason, I always agree.______



ADD the scores to your responses to statements 1, 3 and 9. This is your score for the AUTHORITARIAN style. (Strict, but not always fair.)

ADD your responses to statements 4, 8 and 11. This is your score for the AUTHORITATIVE style. (Strict, but mostly fair.)

ADD your responses to statements 6, 10 and 12. This is your score for the LAISSEZ-FAIRE style. (Popular, but not always in control.)

ADD your responses to statements 2, 5 and 7. This is your score for the INDIFFERENT style. (May have severe control problems..)



The answer is simple, but important: because it concerns how our students perceive us, and the way we treat them.

Here’s what students think about these teachers.


“I don’t care for this kind of teacher. She is really strict and doesn’t  seem to want to give her students a fair chance. She is unfair,  and that’s her way of making her point and keeping power.”


“I like this teacher. She (he) is fair and understands  that students can’t bbe perfect. She (he) is the kind of teacher you can talk to without being pput down or feeling embarrassed.”


“This is a pretty popular teacher. You don’t have to be serious throughout the class. But sometimes things get out of control and we learn nothing at all.”


“This teacher can’t control the class and we never learn anything in there. There is hardly ever work and people rarely bring their books. We just talk in class, or sometimes copy things from the board or our books.”

The result is a very general indicator of your classroom management style.

A high score indicates a strong preference for that particular style. You may see a little bit of yourself in each one, but remember that your approach may vary from class to class – and that most people find that their style evolves and improves as their years of teaching experience progress.  The improvement is especially noted when teachers have positive mentors or coaches who support them. Perhaps the successful teacher is the one who can evaluate a class or situation, and then apply the appropriate style.

* Source:  The classroom management styles are adaptations of the parenting styles discussed in Adolescence, by John T. Santrock from  Indiana University.



  • Educators let students know they care.
  • Bullies let students know who’s boss.
  • Educators teach self-control.
  • Bullies exert their own control.
  • Educators set ironclad expectations.
  • Bullies rule with whims of steel.
  • Educators diffuse minor disruptions with humor.
  • Bullies use sarcasm to turn disruptions into confrontations.
  • Educators privately counsel chronic discipline problems.
  • Bullies publicly humiliate chronic misbehavers.
  • Educators are judicious.
  • Bullies are judgmental. 
  • Educators, aware of the power they wield over their students, choose their words and actions carefully.
  • Bullies wield their power recklessly, frequently resorting to anger and intimidation.  
  • Educators help all students feel successful, and urge student-corrections of incorrect work in class.
  • Bullies punish students for being unsuccessful by failing them, or by giving excessive homework to complete.
  • Educators address misbehavior.
  • Bullies attack the character of the misbehaving student. 
  • Educators see each student’s uniqueness.
  • Bullies compare children to one another.
  • Educators treat all students with respect.
  • Bullies make it clear that not all students deserve respect.
  • Educators highlight good behavior.
  • Bullies make examples of poor behavior. 
  • Educators are proactive; they create a classroom environment that minimizes student misbehavior.
  • Bullies are reactive; they blame students for the lack of order in their classrooms.
  • Educators educate.
  • Bullies humiliate.
  • Educators exude confidence in their ability to maintain order in their classrooms.
  • Bullies barely conceal their terror of losing control.


                              FINAL ADVICE

Appear confident when you speak. Appearing to be “in charge” increases the chance of success.

Be calm and dispassionate in your class. When an adult is angry or upset, it is frightening to young students and humorous to older ones, who gain prestige from their peers by “setting off” the teacher.

Avoid the impersonal scientific approach to discipline. Avoid a cold, automatic approach, as it doesn’t achieve respect from students.

Don’t make your warnings too long-winded. If you do, the time you take to discipline will take away from teaching-learning time. Students will tune-out, not even paying attention to your warning, nor getting interested in the class, so more disruptions will occur. Be short & sweet, and get on with the lesson.