FAQ about Classroom Discipline

FAQ about Classroom Discipline

Every Bible teacher of children or youth classes will at some point have to deal with discipline issues. And, they’ll inevitably have questions about what to do.

3 Frequently Asked Questions about Classroom Discipline

How do I deal with ______ ?

So often when doing teacher training with people who teach children or youth, regardless of the training topic, I’d get asked questions about specific discipline situations. I often found it hard to give a pointed response because of the variables. Two children can engage in the same misbehavior but for different reasons. What works with the one child might not with the other. So, the first thing I would say you need to do is to try to discern the cause. When you identify the “why”, the “what” often becomes obvious. For help working through causes for different behaviors, check out: Discipline Issues: What to Do About Specific Challenges

What the best approach for disciplining?

The best approach for disciplining is to line up with God’s heart and purposes. When we do, we get beyond merely applying bandaids to truly seeking to minister to the needs of the students, to help them learn and grow through the incident. Our approach becomes more comprehensive, not getting locked in to any one “tactic” but rather doing what is best in the moment with the good of the particular student guiding our approach. Remember that “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness” (Heb. 12:5-11). The Effectively Handling Classroom Discipline Workbook can help you develop a a comprehensive style of disciplining that uses God as the standard.

I’ve tried everything and nothing works, so now what do I do?

First let me say that often when people assert that they’ve tried everything, that’s often not the case. They’ve tried everything they know to do.

But, even teachers with a big arsenal of tactics sometimes still can’t break through because some of the basics aren’t in place. Read through all the articles in this series of posts entitled Basics for Classroom Discipline. The overall classroom environment and teaching-learning process needs to support what you are trying to do in disciplining and vice versa. Often when these basics are in place, discipline becomes less of a problem.

With all that said, you will at times have a student with deep-rooted problems. It’s hard for teachers keep the lesson going when constantly having to stop to interact with that child. In these situations, you may need to seek out a helper assigned primarily to working with this child to diffuse issues before they become a big problem. Above all, don’t minimize the effect of consistency and patience. Sometimes all this child wants is someone who proves he/she genuinely cares.

For More, Go to: Classroom Discipline Teacher Training Resources

Basic In-Class Strategies

Some teachers look for a magical formula to cure all their difficulties with discipline. They hope for a “one-size fits all” approach — something easy, something that won’t require much effort. While certain methods and styles might seem to work, their long-range effect must be brought into question.
Basic In-Class Strategies for Classroom Discipline

Do they lead to the biblical objective in discipline?

Do they line up with God’s character and ways?

Do they have a lasting impact?

Tips for Choosing Basic In-Class Strategies for Classroom Discipline

Choose discipline methods wisely. Consider the points made in the tips that follow when determining how you should handle a situation.

  • Minister to the needs of each individual.
  • Treat your students with dignity and respect.
  • Put a high premium on relationship.
  • Try to determine the root cause of the misbehavior.
  • Compensate for individual differences among students.
  • Be careful you aren’t reinforcing negative behavior.
  • What works for one child may not work for another.
  • “Time-out” does not work in all situations.
  • Sometimes it is appropriate to ignore misbehavior.
  • To be heard you must be consistent.

This post comes from the introductory remarks in the Handbook on the Basics of Classroom Discipline under the Basic In-Class Strategies section which looks at each of the above tips, along with twenty other tips that fit other Basics.

Basic Out-of-Class Strategies

You, as a teacher, lay the groundwork for good classroom management long before you step foot into the classroom. Good discipline in the classroom has as much to do with the attitude and behavior of the teacher as with that of the children. Your part helps prevent problems from even happening and largely stems from preparing.

Preparing the lesson
Preparing for transitions
Preparing for breaks in routine

Also, becoming more aware of what is happening in the students’ homes prepares you by giving you insight into potential behavior problems.

And, praying regularly for your students, as well as your teaching, invites the Spirit of God to go before you and prepare the way. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, even the most prepared and well executed lesson will do little to yield spiritual results.

Tips that Provide Basic Out-of-Class Strategies

Handbook on the Basics of Classroom Discipline - Basic Out-of-Class Strategies
(Click image to learn more about this resource.)

The five tips which follow, expounded on in the Handbook on the Basics of Classroom Discipline, are instrumental in helping you prevent problems. They enable you to be prepared for what could happen.

  • Adequately prepare for your lesson.
  • Plan well for those transitional times between activities.
  • Plan for the effects of changing weather patterns, holidays, or other breaks in routine.
  • Acquaint yourself with each student’s home situation.
  • Pray regularly for each student.

Basic Environment

Distractions, boredom, and frustration seem to fuel behavioral problems. Consequently, one of goals of Bible teachers ought to be the minimization of their accelerators. Teaching methods and styles could be to blame but don’t forget to look at your classroom. The physical environment can affect behavior.

Tips to Help with a Basic Environment Conducive to Good Classroom Management & Learning

Handbook on the Basics of Classroom Discipline - Basic Environment Section

The Handbook on the Basics of Classroom Discipline consequently provides the following tips to help you think about the kind of environment you are providing.

  • Keep your room attractively decorated, neat, clean, cheerful, and free of clutter.
  • Keep your room comfortable and facilitating to learning with good lighting, adequate ventilation, and plenty of space to move around.

We don’t always think about the effects of the classroom itself on classroom discipline. Take some time to think about how attractive, comfortable, and facilitating your classroom is to learning. If students aren’t learning because of these factors, they’re more likely doing something they shouldn’t be doing.

Also check out: Classroom Set-Up: Effectively Use Facilities