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Disciplinary techniques for children

Updated on June 18, 2011
Conventional techniques don't always work =(
Conventional techniques don't always work =(

When I first started my first volunteering job at a primary school, I thought patience and positive attitude was all that took to make a good assistant.

I thought, so long I liked the children, they would like me back and so long I was nice, they would obey. Man was I wrong! And fortunately it didn't take long for some sanity to hit me !!!

It wasn't long before I fell for another trap and started giving away treats for those who obeyed and putting naughty kids in corners to maintain disciplinary in the class. The overuse of the conventional technique totally sent the wrong message, kids were willing to bargain every chore, every assignment and every task to ensure they were getting something out of it. When I first started, I was already hearing the "What's in it for me?" phrase and my bribing techniques only ignited it.

Not only did I want to encourage the children to do their work and assignments on time but I also wanted to create an ethical environment inside the class. Motivating cooperative, generous or honest students wasn't as easy as motivating educationally advanced students.

Grades are usually impacted by educational level, attendance and behaviour. To my dismay, grades didn't seem to interest half the class. That is when I realized that those bargainers only appreciated tangible rewards. Below are other alternatives to set some discipline while still using tangible and ethical appraisal techniques.

Rockets Disciplinary Technique
Rockets Disciplinary Technique
Helicopters Disciplinary Technique
Helicopters Disciplinary Technique

Activities

You can create attractive boards that track performance. Choose your class's most interesting theme -space, helicopters, cars, or sports- and create a colourful board using the relevant theme. For example, my class liked space shuttles so the board in the image uses rockets that are to be ridden by the class's astronauts. I attached their photos and names at the bottom of the board -works wonders with attention seekers-, and pasted movable rockets at top of their names.

Each time a student did a worth rewarding action like helping another student or animal, his/her rocket would take a step further. Similarly each time he/she misbehaved, his/her rocket would slow down. Once a rocket reached space, the owner was congratulated and was taken to the principal's office for further positive recognition.

The astronaut was also given the title of either the Astronaut, Captain, Class Leader, or Pilot of the week. Titles always brought more responsibilities that were appropriate for both the student's age and the school's policy.

Other ideas could include car dashboards, or traffic lights.

Children's Journals
Children's Journals

Journaling

The main purpose of journaling is to enhance students' ability to express themselves in written words or drawn pictures. But the things students write could draw crystal clear pictures of motives, issues, or any sort of critical information.

It's like the confidential data that will add to your competitive advantage. You can ask your students to write about something nice, sweet, ethical, bad, or disturbing. It could be something they have either done or witnessed. It could be an action, word or even an intention. Be ready to be blown away by the generated content !!!

It will show you how students define abstract adjectives like nice and mean, generous and selfish. For some allowing others to copy your home work is an act of generosity while for others sharing the slightest information even in the play ground is some sort of cheating. What one student would define as a lie, the other would define as a smart trick.

I realize that this is quite normal for even us adults. But using these techniques will allow you to somehow clear up ethical misconceptions in the class. It will bring you closer to your students and it will help prevent feelings of anger, injustice or frustration inside the class. Journaling will also allow you to introduce new ethics into the class that your students may not be familiar with like initiation, diplomacy and ethical negotiation.

No is not = to YES
No is not = to YES

Say 'NO' and mean 'NO' !!!

Nothing is more confusing than saying 'Yes' and nodding 'No' or nodding 'No' and saying 'Yes'. Similarly, nothing is worse for discipline than sending confusing messages. Don't listen to the tears of the moment.

If for a very valid reason you decide to change your mind, make sure that your students understand that there has been a change and explain why. Just don't do it too often. It's easier said than done but it would help if you made sure that your 'NO' has a very valid reason behind it.

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    • noorin profile image
      Author

      noorin 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks heaps Sidquoh , keep on stepping by :)

    • profile image

      Sidiqouh 5 years ago

      Keep it up.u ar doing great my sis.jazakilaukhairah

    • noorin profile image
      Author

      noorin 7 years ago from Canada

      Carmen, Thanks for stepping by =) I appreciate it.

    • Carmen Borthwick profile image

      Carmen Borthwick 7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Some good advice, keep it up!

    • noorin profile image
      Author

      noorin 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Michael 4 the statistics =) And yes children do read us better. I guess that's why I love children, they never say hello while waving goodbye ...Usually if they hate you, they let you know and they let you know why, if they love you, they display it by every word and action.

    • michaelwilliams profile image

      michaelwilliams 7 years ago from Tampa Bay Florida

      You know Noorin your last paragraph is very true for both children and adults. They say that only 7% of our messages are contained within the words we say, 38% in our tone of voice and 55% in our body language. Children can read us often better than adults, so we must be sure that our entire communication sends the same message, yes?

      Great Article, Thanks!

    • green tea-cher profile image

      green tea-cher 7 years ago

      Hi Noorin! I love the idea of working with the children to encourage behavior and thinking in regards to ethics and the proper treatment of other people not just to work for high grades. Academics is good, but it takes much more to develop into a well rounded individual. If we can encourage good ethics and respect in our children, along with striving for academic achievement, what a wonderful result we will achieve. Great ideas.

    • lizmoss71 profile image

      lizmoss71 7 years ago from Orpington, UK

      Very good hub, some great advice there.

    • noorin profile image
      Author

      noorin 7 years ago from Canada

      I am glad u liked it Loren, hopefully when I have kids of my own, I will stick to the same tips that Im giving or doing in classrooms =)

    • Loren's Gem profile image

      Loren's Gem 7 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      Very true... especially the last part "say no when you really mean NO" is what we, as parents can somtimes hardly stand for what we say. Great hub, Noorin! :-)

    • noorin profile image
      Author

      noorin 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Steve, I will be writing more hubs soon about software development and education ... and will be looking forward for ur comments especially on the software ones =)

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Well written good advice. Your insights will no doubt help many children. Good job.

    • noorin profile image
      Author

      noorin 7 years ago from Canada

      Hey, I am glad u like it =)

    • cupid51 profile image

      cupid51 7 years ago from INDIA

      Very nice hub, it would help people to deal with the kids!