Classroom Management:
Techniques for Addressing Student Discipline Problems Part II


In this lesson, we will discuss:

  • Subtle Disciplinary Strategies
  • Moderately Aggressive Disciplinary Strategies
  • Implementing a Structured Discipline Plan
  • Progressive Discipline Scenarios
  • The Consequences of a Referral
  • Ten Things to Remember About Student Discipline


Subtle Disciplinary Strategies

The best way to control improper student behavior is to prevent it from happening. Experienced teachers employ a number of techniques that prevent or minimize student disruptions so that the student remains focused on instruction. The following examples are a normal and regularly-occurring element in most teachers’ “behavioral toolbox.” They are designed to prevent student misbehavior or minimize it when disruptive situations arise, thereby keeping students out of trouble while encouraging learning. These tactics are, for the most part, non-intrusive and allow for the continued flow of the lesson.

There are a number of subtle ways to handle discipline problems when an overt, aggressive approach is not mandated by the situation:

  • Employ the “evil eye.” Maintain obvious, non-blinking eye contact with the offending student until the desired outcome occurs. If this isn’t enough of a warning, often an accompanying audible sigh of exasperation and a momentary cessation of class is enough. This technique also alerts the rest of the class that the targeted student is on thin ice. The offending student continues to receive glances from the teacher to prevent a recurrence of the troublesome behavior.

  • Ask the student to stop misbehaving. This is a mild rebuke, a casual directive, and should not be extended beyond a simple remark with accompanying eye contact. This act should also be followed at a later time with a positive comment when the student cooperates. In some cases it may be as simple as asking a student to stop talking so the class may continue. Following student cooperation, the teacher should continue to monitor this student’s behavior in an obvious manner in order to discourage further problems.

  • Move to or stand in close proximity to the troublesome student. Often students will get the message from this subtle change in location. Close proximity to a student has a quieting effect on most students. This technique is effective and has the least disruptive effect on the flow of the lesson. It also alerts the surrounding students. The teacher should move away from the student once the behavior is under control. Continued surveillance is needed as a preventative measure.

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