5 Key Elements in an Approach to Classroom Discipline


I was asked about my approach to discipline. Responding was a good exercise in seeking to pinpoint my philosophy … what I would consider some of the most important elements … without writing a book. I’m sharing it with you here to use as a guide for asking questions about your teaching staff and their approach to discipline.

First, you need the right focus and purpose in disciplining. Disciplining should be seen as an opportunity to help the student grow into Christ-likeness, not to punish. As such, you work with the student to get to the root of what is causing the problem and then work toward a solution to that problem.

Do your teachers have the right focus and purpose in disciplining?

Second, you need the right attitude and approach in disciplining. Love and deep concern for the welfare of the child should govern what you do. You need to make sure you truly desire to help the child change and not merely control or manipulate. Also, the dignity of the child, created in the image of God, should always be guarded. As such, you examine any “tactics” you might use to make sure they do not belittle or shame the child but rather demonstrate a respect just as you want that child to respect you.

Do your teachers have the right attitude and approach in disciplining?

Third, you need to identify the cause of misbehavior. If you don’t, you might not truly help students but rather only apply temporary bandaids to the situation. Knowing the reason for why a students acts as he/she does not excuse the child from responsibility but rather helps you work toward the most appropriate solution that could prevent future misconduct.

Do your teachers consider individual needs and backgrounds rather than merely apply cookie cutter approaches?

Fourth, you need to consider the long term objective. Internal change and not mere external conformity should be the ultimate goal. That doesn’t ever mean you won’t have to use short-term measures so you don’t lose the whole class for the sake of the one child. But, if you are looking at the long term, you will not forget to get back to addressing the real issues with the child.

Do your teachers consider the long term objective in the way they discipline?

Fifth, you need to try to match any consequences for misbehavior as close as possible to the offense so students better learn cause and effect. They need to learn the biblical concept of sowing and reaping. That is not always possible in the classroom setting but where possible, that would be the best.

Do your teachers try to match the consequences for misbehavior as close as possible to the offense so students better learn cause and effect?

If this is the approach you would like to see your teachers exercise in disciplining, take a look at the following teacher training resources which line up with these five broad points.


2 Replies to “5 Key Elements in an Approach to Classroom Discipline”

  1. I really like what you said about seeking a growth in a student’s development when you implement disciplinary actions; never to punish. If I were looking a suiting highschool for my daughter, I’d definitely want an institution that has faculty that went through rigid classroom discipline training. That way, I can be sure that my kid will be safe and secure while she develops into an upstanding member of society.

    • Hello, Kit. When God’s principles are followed, whether in our schools, the home, or Church, we can know that what’s best for our children is being accomplished.

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