Friday, September 01, 2006

Corrective and Preventive Strategies

The assertive discipline approach developed by Canter (1976; 1981)

The assertive discipline model is focused on changing student behavior by altering the balance of negative and positive consequences to promote appropriate classroom behavior. Although the term assertive discipline tends to connote behavior control through punishment, Canter (1989) points out that many applications of assertive discipline do include rewards for on-task and socially appropriate behavior. Canter prefers that teachers put most of their emphasis on noticing students in good behavior. The best way to begin an assertive discipline plan is to send a letter to each student's parents or guardians on the first day of school. The letter should begin with a short statement of the teacher's philosophy about discipline, expectations of students, classroom rules, consequences for breaking classroom rules, and rewards for appropriate behavior. The letter can take the form of a proclamation or nonnegotiable contract if the teacher prefers. Parents are asked to read the contract letter and to sign and return the bottom portion indicating that they have read and understand the discipline plan for their child's classroom.

Evertson and Harris (1992), in a review of the research literature on classroom management, found considerable support for approaches such as assertive discipline, which communicate clearly the classroom rules and which are implemented at the beginning of the school year. Both strategies are focused on problem prevention.

Although assertive discipline plans have helped many teachers, nevertheless, they are ofen received with mixed emotions from other teachers and some parents. Some teachers are opposed to writing the names of misbehaving students on the board. Although writing names on the board facilitates record keeping and allows the teacher to continue teaching, it could be humiliating to students. Canter (1989) proposes that teachers use a clipboard or roll book for check marks and give the students a short, verbal warning or notification of a penalty.

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