• Discipline in the Responsive Classroom


    In terms of discipline we are always looking towards autonomy: to function independently without constant adult control or direct supervision. Below I have included “Discipline in the Responsive Classroom.” It explains how discipline in the Responsive Classroom is two-fold. Discipline is proactive, in the sense that majority of the first six weeks of school should be used making students aware of certain situations that may come up for the rest of the year and the rest of their lives. We then discuss each situation and some positive solutions or options for each one. In addition, we try to stop a problem before it starts by having dialogue with students about behaviors and patterns and feelings related to those behaviors and patterns. The other half of Responsive Classroom discipline is that it includes being reactive. Reactively, we use logical consequences to help children regain control, make amends, and get back on track when they forget or choose not to take care of themselves or each other.

     

    It is important that parents understand our discipline model so that if notes come home or a phone call is made, it is clear that we are dealing with a serious issue that has not been amended through both proactivity and reactivity. At that point, it may be necessary to make an individualized behavior plan for the student. The plan would allow the student to regain our trust in hopes that the plan can be removed. As always if you have any questions about our discipline philosophy, just send me an email or give me a call.

     

    Discipline in the Responsive Classroom

     

    Discipline in the Responsive Classroom is both proactive and reactive.

    1)      Proactively, we work with children to create, teach, and practice classroom rules.

    2)      Reactively, we use logical consequences to help children regain control, make amends, and get back on track when they forget or choose not to take care of themselves or each other.

     

    Characteristics

     

    The teacher:

    ·        Respects the child and the child’s goal of being a significant community member.

    ·        Shares power and control with students, building on their capabilities, teaching them necessary social skills, and giving them new responsibilities when they are ready to handle them.

    ·        Uses encouraging and empowering language to support children’s success.

    ·        Uses logical consequences to help children fix their mistakes and regain self-control.

    ·        Values mutual problem-solving as a tool to teach ethical thinking and respectful community membership.

    ·        Wants students to learn to think for themselves and act in caring and responsible ways.

     

    Outcomes:

     

    Students:

    ·        Develop self-control and demonstrate ongoing responsible behaviors.

    ·        Develop positive relationships with their teachers and peers.

    ·        Internalize the skills of caring, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (C.A.R.E.S.)

    ·        Trust their teachers and respect their teacher’s authority.

    ·        Understand and respect the rules.

    ·        Develop self-respect.

     

    The Importance of

    "I" Statements




    Strong "I" statements have three specific elements:

    • Behavior
    • Feeling
    • Tangible effect (consequence to you)

    Example: "I feel frustrated when you are late for meetings. I don't like having to repeat information."

    We teach students to deliver emotion-laden information as I-statements, using the formula, "When you _________, I feel __________, because ________, so what I would like is ___________________." When a child wants to meet with a classmate for conflict resolution, we require that she/he first compose an I-statement before arranging a time and a place for the meeting.

    We display the I-statement formula and practice as a class, first, with positive, fun statements, such as "When you giggle, I feel happy, because it makes me giggle too, so what I would like is for you to keep on giggling." Next, we practice with statements containing more difficult emotions, working with examples removed from direct personal experience. For example, we might use a situation from a book we are reading: "In Charlotte’s Web, when Wilbur heard he would get eaten, he felt scared, because he didn’t want to die, so what he would like is to be allowed to keep living."

    We also generate a list of words, from literature as well as from our own experience, to expand our vocabulary for describing feelings—words such as scared, sorry, sad, angry, frustrated, nervous, irritated. We display this list prominently in the room and children will often glance at it when composing I-statements.

     
             We display the I-statement formula and practice as a class, first, with positive, fun statements, such as "When you giggle, I feel happy, because it makes me giggle too, so what I would like is for you to keep on giggling." Next, we practice with statements containing more difficult emotions, working with examples removed from direct personal experience. For example, we might use a situation from a book we are reading: "In Charlotte’s Web, when Wilbur heard he would get eaten, he felt scared, because he didn’t want to die, so what he would like is to be allowed to keep living."

             Part of being assertive involves the ability to appropriately express your needs and feelings. You can accomplish this by using "I" statements. These indicate ownership, do not attribute blame, focuses on behaviour, identifies the effect of behaviour, is direct and honest, and contributes to the growth of your relationship with each other.