Class Discipline Suggestion

AmyNovember 8, 2001

Please help. I have a group of very talkative 5th and 6th graders. Does anyone have suggestions on incentives that would help them obey and listen to their teacher? Thank you

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Basic behavioral conditioning- reward 'good' behavior, punish 'bad' behavior. Also use peer pressure. If little Susie won't stop talking and the whole class loses a privilege because of it, the rest of the class will soon join you in trying to effect change in Susie's talking.

Also look at your seating. Tables and work groups, while highly touted as the modern way to educate, do promote a lot of socializing. If the maturity level of some students means they are not able to control their talking, put those students back to a more isolated type of seating.

A little bit of dog training philosophy: If your dog misbehaves and you keep jerking the leash, you are just nagging him, he's not learning a thing. If you really want him to stop, you REALLY PULL that leash as hard as you can. He'll get the message.

Good luck! You have the hardest job in the world, IMHO.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2001 at 1:14PM
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2 things that you can do...both at once....start handing out detentions like lollies-show them that you ARE serious.....and at the same time show them that you arent a big meany really if they do as they are told and how you can do this in a way that would cut down on the talking when you dont want them to talk is to GIVE THEM TIME TO TALK IN CLASS-ie...let them talk whilst you are getting ready after breaks...then clear your throat etc to give them the message that talk time is OVER now that class is about to as for giving them time to talk DURING class-dont let them talk after they have finished an activity because alot of kids might still be not finished yet and they will get distracted and start talking and not finish their work and the kids that ARE trying to finish their work wont be able to be strict on the no talking even if you are finished your work...tell them to sit quietly or read. But the times to LET THEM TALK DURING CLASS IS DURING AN ACTIVITY THAT IT IS OK TO TALK DURING....LIKE IF YOU ARE DOING GROUP PROJECTS AND IT IS ALMOST A NO-BRAINER FOR A WHILE LIKE CUTTING OUT CLIPPINGS ETC....they can still do that part of the activity and talk about social things without being sidetracked from their work. But it is only during no-brainer stuff that they are allowed to talk about social stuff.

If the group project etc needs them to come up as a group with written ideas etc, then no social talk until they are finished the written work and now are cutting out stuff....and yes the other groups might get distracted etc by one groups social chatter whilst they themselves havent finished yet-but this is an exception because the whole idea of group projects is that usually the groups are all talking together at once thus the room is full of loud talking anyway.

It is when they are working on INDIVIDUAL things that there should be no talking because as a general rule when you are doing individual activities there is NO loud talking in the room-in fact there is no talking at all. recap..let them chatter as they are getting organised at the beginning of class and after breaks as you are preparing.

Also include at least one activity a day that allows them to talk to one another freely...this way there will be noone interrupted because they will all be talking...and working on simple things like colouring etc...which is a part of the real if you are doing geography do the work in silence...then give them a few minutes after they have ALL finished the real work to do the fun work of pasting in the maps and colouring them in..and whilst they are doing this no-brainer stuff let them talk!

Meanwhile make sure that they know that this is the deal. Give them their times of fun and chatter, but let them know that you wont allow it to become a free for all-ie you wont allow them to continue chatting once work has started...or whenever you require them to be quite and work. This way you both win. But make sure you are fair to them and show them that for that to happen they must be fair to you or they WILL get dententions I said hand them out like lollies if they dont believe you. And let them know that they will get more and more dententions until either A) they abide by the rules....or B)you will keep giving dententions and ALSO take away their free talking privilige and there will be SILENCE all during classes!

That will get to them!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2001 at 11:25AM
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I am surprised that you didn't learn about Class Discipline when you went through Student teaching.
I know it's different when you are a teacher but that should have been covered this during student teaching.
And you should have had some alone time with the students with the teacher maybe outside the classroom.

Alot of schools also have class rules that the children are given the first day of schoo.> The rules also tell consequences for actions if the rules are not followed. This paper is sent to the parent to sign and discuss with their children in the class.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2001 at 11:44PM
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As a parent I find it unreasonable for the whole class to receive punishments because one child does not follow the rules as Scarlett suggests. I think you need to do what many parents do at home. Lay out the rules, as well as the consequences for breaking the rules. Then you have to enforce those rules as you said you would with no exceptions. The consequences have to matter to the kids.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2001 at 9:47AM
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Student teaching does not prepare a beginning teacher for the realty of the classroom- ask most teachers and they will admit it, if they are truthful. It's survival mode when you get there, and the teacher has to be prepared to take whatever measures he or she can to get control of the class SO LEARNING CAN TAKE PLACE. I know this is hard for people outside the profession to understand, but just imagine yourself in front of a group of 30 or so people who are talking, yelling and running around out of their seats. You can't give instruction to a mob of unruly kids, it's impossible. Once the teacher gets control of the class, the rules can relax a bit, but you have to start out hard. You can't start out easy and then get tough, it doesn't work that way. Most parents remember their own childhoods, when kids were more respectful and the teachers had authority. Those days are very much changed, even in nice schools.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2001 at 1:25PM
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I know that what you are saying is true. My mother is a teacher and she has said that student teaching is the most important part of learning to be a teacher because it is in the classroom that you learn the day to day skills you need to be an effective teacher.

The teacher can keep control of the class without mass punishments. Schools must be fair to the kids in the classroom. Schools need to be fair to the kids so that the kids get a good feeling about going there. They will never succeed if they hate school because the teacher punishes all the kids when one misbehaves. If one child misbehaves he should be punished. NOT the whole class.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2001 at 4:42PM
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I was merely going by what my daughter learned in student teaching. I have no idea what ever college prepares a to-be teacher for. She happens to teach a grade that is around the age of children she student taught and yes this topics was covered. I was just surprised that Amy seemed to have do idea about discipline. Many schools have this outlined in books for the teacher already, in that particular school.

So let me apolgize for not realizing that every student teacher today does not go through a series of learning to discipline children around the age of child and other ages he/she will be teaching and doesn't have -some alone time with the child -so he/she will get to practice what they have learned from the college and teacher they are student teaching under.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2001 at 5:33PM
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There are different types of discipline (and discipline is quite a different thing from 'punishment') for the different ages. As kids go through their stages, some things work well at that age- moms know that, as well as teachers. For example, 'time-out' works well for the younger kids, but is usually not effective for teens.

At a certain stage, such as middle school, peer opinion becomes very, very important to the child. When a teacher uses the peer-pressure tactic to get a child to come into behavioral compliance, it rarely takes more than one or two times for the whole class to see what may happen if they continue talking and disrupting.

Learning to be quiet and pay attention at appropriate times is not only very important in school, it's a life-long skill. Next time you go to a meeting, the movies, etc. you can easily see who learned it and who did not, lol.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2001 at 1:09PM
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If a child is punished for the misdeeds of others it makes him resentful and angry at the person who is doing the punishing. That is NOT what a teacher wants to use to quiet down a class. It is EASY, but it's not RIGHT.

It may work to quiet the class down, but it teaches the kids the wrong lessons. Mainly what it teaches them is that hard work, dedication and following the rules do NOT pay off because of the behavior of others who you cannot control. Kids should be taught that if they work hard and follow the rules GOOD things will come to them (some of those good things are the new knowledge they acquiree). They should NOT be taught that their priveleges will be revoked because of the behavior of a single classmate (or a few).

Some parents work very hard to teach their kids that "It doesn't matter what Johnny does. You need to work on your behavior and your achievements because that is what YOU are responsible for. We don't expect you to be responsible for Johnny and he is not responsible for you. Just work hard and good things will happen for you." A teacher who punishes a class with no thought to who deserves to be punshed can wipe out that lesson very quickly.

I complain about very little to my son's teacher but I would most definitely complain if there was a teacher that punished the whole class because there are a few difficult students in the class.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2001 at 3:36PM
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I whole heartedly agree about how wrong it is to punish an entire class for the actions of "Some" or a "Few" of the students -who have misbehaved in a class. I realize what you are talking about as I have two grown children. I think it's the easiest- but most unfair thing a teacher can do.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2001 at 8:56PM
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There are times when people need to learn how to behave as a group. If people do not learn this, we will not be able to have basic institutions of civilization such as juries, work teams, government,etc.

One of the socializations school does is to teach children that there are times when they must control their individual wants (talking, etc.) and focus on the task at hand as a group. This is definitely not punishment, it is a life skill. I don't think it is any more unfair than toilet training or learning to line up after recess. If people do not learn to control themselves and work as a group in school, when will they learn? On a chain gang, maybe?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2001 at 3:18PM
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Let's say you have a class of 25 kids and 24 understand that they have to behave a certain way in a group and 1 doesn't. Let's say that every day the 1 that doesn't get it misbehaves and the whole class loses recess. How does punishing the whole class daily teach the 24 that got it in the first place anything useful at all?


    Bookmark   November 29, 2001 at 3:57PM
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May we have the answers please. What works for some may or may not work for others. You need a "basic" set of rules and follow the guidelines. Some people use to call it "getting your bluff in", but really you set the example and follow through. You have to earn the respect of the children and for some children and teachers this is not easily accomplished. In too many situations it is not accomplished.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 1:20PM
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My daughter's class has been punished as a whole for the behavior of 1-2. My only problem is that it is the same ones that always cause the problem. I do not agree that teh whole class be punished. It's almost as if the children are expected to make the others behave. It reminds me of years ago when service men were punished because 1 could not/would not keep up. Many times, horrible things happened to get the 1 "in line." What are the children expected to do to make the others behave?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2002 at 12:08PM
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It's been a morning of waiting for a painting project to dry before I could move on to the next step. I've been cruising around... this is were I landed.

I'm 43, my helpmeet is 53. Sorry guys, I have to weigh in on the side of Scarlett 2001.

Is group punishment, "fair"? Uhunh. Does it foment resentment? probably. Did it, "bug" me when, "my" class received it? YES. Did I make it perfectly clear to the perpetrator that I was, "pissed off"... like, YEAH!

Public education is paid for by tax dollars. As one who funds public education I, too, have a, "right" that certain standards of behavior will become the norm. If a child is too disruptive or out of control (s)he must be removed from the class. Doing so will permit the others to benefit from the day's lesson(s). This seems to me the swiftest way to advance the day's lesson and isolate the, "trouble maker" from the class. Don't, for a minute, think I have no faith in a teacher's ability to delineate between a "bad day" and incessant unruliness.

Why are the parents of unruly children not "called on the carpet" for their children's inability to follow basic direction? To many, this will seem a silly question, but since I own a home and actually FUND the local school system I am curious about how an individual school district "deals" with parents of unruly kids (many of whom rent homes and have no, "vested" interest in a particular system).

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 11:44AM
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Bring back the the rear. Of course, this is just one step but it is one giant leap for mankind, if everyone would allow it.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 12:16PM
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Was that simply a rhetorical reply or do you really espouse such a theory?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 12:31PM
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I stated a fact. It works...

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 8:30PM
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This may be helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 9:17PM
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I don't think your question is being answered. If I am reading your original post correctly, you are asking for some ideas for incentives that your students might be willing to work for which indicates that you are using some form of behavior modification. Here are some ideas that I have had students work to earn in the past:

-extra free time
-eliminate an assignment from the least favorite subject
-time to work on a puzzle
-listening to music during a work period (you control the volume and type of music)
-extra recess
-time to play a board game or sport (either with the whole group or just with you)
-eat lunch in the room with the teacher
-allow those who earn it to bring a can or bottle of pop to drink during a work time
-allow those who earn it to chew the forbidden gum for a short time in class
-extra time for you to read aloud to them from a great book

Maybe you can make a list of ideas and ask the kids what they would most like to earn. It HAS to be something that they want or it won't work. Of course, you have final say since it has to be something that won't take up all of your teaching time or your paycheck. Also, while I generally stand by getting students' input, it can backfire. I once had a sixth grade student's mother tell me that her son would probably like to be rewarded with cigarattes and magazines! (Wonder where her son got his charm!)LOL

We have a very talkative 6th grade class at our school this year too. Six of them are in my special education class. Last year, I only had 4 and the addition of 2 more has been really tough. It seems that the whole atmosphere and attitudes of the kids has completely changed. The classroom teacher and I are still working on this with the kids and it can be very frustrating. Good for you for asking for help when you needed it! Best of luck to you!

If I think of any more ideas, I will post them here. I seem to be slightly brain dead after today. Apparently, many of the kids ate Halloween candy for breakfast and then had more for dessert. No doubt in my mind they were hopped up on sugar today!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2002 at 12:38AM
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I want to second one of the ideas shown in the post immediately above - listen to music duirng work periods. I have a son with sensory integration disorder, and he needs lots of sensory input. He listens to classical music on headphones while he does his homework. Without the music, it takes him an hour to do the homework. With the music, it takes him 1/2 an hour.

Can you play a classical CD during work time in class? It will help the kids focus on their work, and maybe they won't get distracted and want to talk.

Good luck, I think you have the toughest and most important job in the world!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2002 at 9:03AM
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I have to agree with Arkansas Boy....corporal punishment while not the only form of punishment I think is reliable does get the job done. Youth that think there is nothing you can do to me...go ahead send me home would feel the effects of their delinquent behavior by receiving immediate punishment for things they have done. Too often a parent pays the cost for the childs behavior...and yes I do feel it is the responsibility of the parent to raise their kids but unfortunately some parents could care less and this shows up through the childs activities. Reprimand the offender through corporal punishment, writing sentences, detention etc. I also feel like every county needs a military academy so offenders that refuse (after 3 occurrences or so) to follow the right path can be made to learn that you will not prevent others from receiving and education and I would venture to say that after a couple months there they would be more than happy to obey basic rules.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2002 at 10:05PM
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I still have this problem and I teach college! Probably too subtle for the age group you are teaching, but I turn to the group, address them by their last names (preceded by Mr. of Ms.), and say, "The number you have reached has been disconnected. Calls are being taken by ... " That usually stuns them into silence.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2002 at 12:23PM
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this is pretty late, but perhaps someone else will read looking for the same info.

I totally agree with Scarlett and Beada. I drive a school bus. At this time I only drive high school and junior high kids but I have driven all ages. I've had 78 of them on a bus. That makes me cranky just thinking about it :-)

Primary grades need incentives. You just need to be creative and come up with what works. The same thing won't work for every bus/classroom and group of kids. Some groups are more difficult than others, so hang in there if you have a tough one this year it may be totally different next year.

Now those Jr High and Highschoolers. Peer pressure works wonders. The other kids will not allow them to continue at their expense. It will end the behavior. However, if you ever loose your cool and let them see you loose! they will have a great time at your expense. I know I learned the hard way!

The paddle, I believe in it. I used it when my child was a toddler...sparingly. I do not believe in it for older kids. I most definitly do not want it being used by anyone other than my husband or myself under any circumstances.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2002 at 9:46PM
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I think a smart teacher uses the group discipline thing when the discipline problem is a large number of kids. But I've seen it successfully used when only 1 kid won't stand still or shut up. The teacher stopped the lesson, looked at him, and waited. And waited.

That's not punishment--we're not talking giving every kid detention because one ran around.

But frankly, how can you possibly continue the lesson when it's being disrupted. I was usu. the kid who was sitting there waiting, and I didn't have any clout to pressure the other kid into behaving. But I nonetheless appreciated greatly that my teacher got the class under control BEFORE trying to explain the lesson. I can't hear or think or ask a sensible question when a couple of yahoos are making a fuss.

And often, kids that aren't necessarily talking or disrupting are nonetheless enabling--they're listening, or laughing or even smiling at the antics, and that's encouragement to the ones who are disruptive. Once they start to be affected by the discipline tactic, they'll quickly figure out how to do their part to discourage the antics--they'll lower their gaze, refuse to smile at the joke and frown instead, etc.

Our original poster only mentioned "talkative"--not running around the room, etc. "Talkative," esp. a talkative group, takes listeners as well.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2002 at 1:52PM
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Boy...this was a posting and a half to read but definitely shows some different ideas on what parents and teachers think about discipline in a class. All I can add is that each group of children and for that matter each child will react differently to different ways of handling a situations. I think group punishment is needed as a foregound to control an entire class who is out of control but not as a continual way of controling certain disruptive students. Once a teacher has the feel for who is causing the problem then that individual needs to be dealt with just as a parent when discovering which child broke the house rules or made the mistake. When in doubt everyone gets punished and it has to be explained that this is being done to avoid favorism. The child causing the problem should also be given a chance to come forward and appologize without punishment if they choose to with in a certain time frame after which a punish applies. If you gain the trust of a child and treat them like a real person 9 out of 10 children will respond. They want exactly what we want to be respected and noticed for our good acts. Children who act out have found it the only way to get attention and don't care anymore that it's negative attention just as long as someone is seeing them.
I have four children with very different personalities. Each has their own way of getting attention when they feel they are not getting any...multiply that by how ever many and you have aclass full of children all trying to get one adults attention so they feel SEEN. It must be the hardest thing for a teacher to deal with everyday. It is as a parent to four, and because I have grown to know them so well I know what they are doing. When my 9 year old son who is easily bored starts to act like a clown I know he wants mom to spend sometime with him or he needs something to interesting to do while I am busy. When my 11 year old son talks my ear off I know he has had a day and a half and needs to download his feelings, when my 7 year old daughter gets clingy with me I know it's time to do an activity with just her and I, When my 2 year old is pulling at my shirt for something for the upteenth time I know it's her turn. It's not easy to figure out what each child needs individually but as a parent we have only a few children and need to take the time to know as a teacher wouldn't always have that time and has 30 students or more to get to know in under a year. That's when the group discipline needs to come into play and then be broken down to find out the individual needs within a short time frame.

My suggestion is discuss it with the class in an open forum explaining the need for rules and the rewards of following them then stick to them and show your students that you respect them and they will respect you. That makes the difference in whether they will learn from you or ignore you.The best teachers I have meet have been strict with class ediquette but reward their students with respect and privelges of being a helper rather than give them material things as a reward.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2003 at 11:18PM
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While performing live, how do musicians capture the audience's attention, or keep them listening? Dynamics! You can yell and scream for an hour, after a few minutes this becomes normal and boring, and minds begin to wander. I suggest speaking in a quiet or normal speaking voice during these chatter periods - this forces your class to shut it and listen! If you use your 'forte' sparingly, it will have more effect when it comes time to use it.

I wouldn't work so much with incentives or bribing the kids (other than what you would normally give or do for them) to listen to you. You'll never have real control over the group that way. You're a new teacher. Teaching is a huge responsibility, and it's HARD WORK! Work on your teaching!, be patient with yourself!, work hard! - it takes time. Read books with pedogogical themes - just because you have your degree doesn't mean your education is over! Sit in on lessons given by experienced teachers - notice what you would and wouldn't do. Continue your studying as well. Your teaching will begin to flower, it will remain dynamic, and everyone benefits - you, your students, society.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2003 at 3:47AM
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I don't believe in punishing the whole class for a childs behavior such as -"If little Susie won't stop talking and the whole class loses a privilege because of it, the rest of the class will soon join you in trying to effect change in Susie's talking." ....
Thats my opinion though. I have this opinion because I know of some children who are well behaved and are bothered by the loud child - this would be like punishing the good students and teaching them that their respect for you is not honored. I recommend moving the loud childs seat, and let the child know why and if they wish to sit back where they were then they need to prove to you that they are willing and ready to go by your rule. This will also set a example for the rest of the children without hurting those who do behave. Some children no matter what you do will be out of hand. Start sending them to speak with the Principal - of course acknowleding the Principal before hand of your intentions. Attention problems might need further looking into. Home background, other peer pressure etc. Another way would to have the child talk with the school councelor.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2003 at 9:57PM
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just a reminder, while the discussion in general is interesting, the original poster mentioned a "talkative class."

    Bookmark   January 13, 2003 at 4:22PM
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Hi,when i was in school teachers that had the attention and respect of the students took time to get to know them and treated them with respect you might try asking the kids,i have a feeling you might get better advice from them than from some in this thread,no adult has the rite to cause stress or pain mentaly or physicaly to a child in school and it seems silly to use peer pressure when we teach kids not to give in to peerpressure ,i have 5 kids 9-18 and i tought them to follow the rules in general but respect is mutual even between kids and adults my kids dont disrespect adults but dont go out of their way to show respect where its not due ,wow i cant believe i didnt say the rest of what i was thinking but i have a feeling some of you are also thinking it so ill stop here and toss another peice of wood in the woodstove an actual legit use of wood .

    Bookmark   January 18, 2003 at 7:15AM
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I used to teach computer lab to grades Pre-k thru 8. I found one thing that really worked for me. When each class came into the lab on the first day, I was playing the Aretha Franklin song "Respect". Everyone came in smiling and bouncing to the music. Once they were all seated I turned off the music which made everyone look up to see what was going on. I stepped up to my podium and stood their silently until everyone stopped talking and was looking to see what I was going to do. Once they stopped, I explained to them that when I step up to the podium that is their que to stop talking and look at me. I practiced it with them, turning the music on, then back off and stepping up to the podium. We then had a brief discussion on what "respect" is, how you show it to your teacher, your classmates and yourself. I then explained the class rules, expectations and general procedures in a fun way. If you make something funny, they tend to remember it. Then I would give them a little time (5 min) at the end of the class to talk again if they obeyed the rules. If anyone chose to disobey, they were given 2 warnings, but on the 3rd they were given a two page essay on the meaning of respect that they had to sit and copy while everyone else worked on the computers. If they finished copying for before class was out, I made them do it again. I hardly ever had any problems with my classes, and the few that did have to copy that essay over and over hardly, ever repeated the offense. Kids are people too. I found that treating them with the respect I want to be treated with, made them much more likely to behave in class, as well as enjoy coming to my class. Just my thoughts. Hope it helps! :)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 9:36AM
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