The Honor Level System
Discipline by Design
Adapted from an adaptation (!) by Budd Churchward from an article called "A Primer on Classroom Discipline: Principles Old and New" by Thomas R. McDaniel; Phi Delta Kappa, May 1986.
Here are 6 techniques that you can use in your classroom that can help you achieve effective group management and control.
- Focusing Be sure you have the attention of everyone in your classroom before you start your lesson. Don't attempt to teach over the chatter of students who are not paying attention. Inexperienced teachers sometimes think that by beginning their lesson, the class will settle down. Sometimes this works, but often it doesn't.
The focusing technique means that you will demand their attention before you begin; that you will wait until everyone has settled down to start. Experienced teachers know that silence on their part is very effective. They will punctuate their waiting by extending it 5 to 10 seconds after the classroom is quiet. Then they will begin speaking in a quieter voice than normal.
- Direct Instruction Uncertainty increases the level of excitement in a classroom. The technique of direct instruction is to begin each class by telling the students exactly what will be happening.
In college, you can use the excitement generated by uncertainty to your advantage, (by breaking up your lecture with demos, class discussions, etc.) but be careful---too much excitement turns to frustration!
- Monitoring The key to this principle is to circulate. Get up and get around the room. While your students are working, make the rounds. Check on their progress.
The teacher does not interrupt the class or try to make general announcements unless she notices that several students have difficulty with the same thing. The teacher uses a quiet voice, and students appreciate the personal and positive attention.
- Modeling Teachers who are courteous, prompt, enthusiastic, in control, patient and organized provide examples for students through tehir own behavior.
- Low-profile Intervention When students are misbehaving (talking, reading the newspaper, etc.), you can make effective use of name-dropping. Drop the students name into the dialog in a natural way, "So you see, David, that an object falling into a black hole becomes stretched out by tidal forces." David hears his name, and comes back on task, and the rest of the class is impressed that you know who they are!
- High-profile Intervention Occasionally, behavior is really extreme, with students talking and laughing at a normal volume, or otherwise being disruptive. You have the tremendous advantage, in University classes, of being able to ask them to leave, since they are disrupting the learning of the rest of the class. In general, those students will not misbehave again, and neither will anyone else!