How Does Assertive Discipline Affect Social Relationships in the Classroom? Term Paper

Pages: 11 (3128 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … Assertive Discipline on Social Relationships in the Classroom

The objective of this work is to propose research of the effect that assertive discipline has upon social relationships in the classroom.

Assertive discipline in the classroom is a discipline system developed in 1976 by Lee and Marlene Canter. Assertive Discipline teaches the students that they must accept consequences resulting from their actions and has "as its basic premise the reinforcement of appropriate behavior" (Render, Padilla, and Krank, 1989, p. 609) According to Canter (1988) "Responsibility is exactly what Assertive Discipline is all about" (p.24) Assertive discipline includes the teacher devising a system inclusive of rewards and punishments depending upon the behavior of the student. Canter states that the key to Assertive Discipline is generous praise (1998) Assertive Discipline is considered to be "easy to learn, simple to understand, and easy to implement. (Curwin and Mendler, 1989, p. 83) Critics of the Assertive Discipline approach do exist and hold that there has been: " research on the effectiveness of such a widely accepted discipline system. (Curwin and Mendler, 1989) Critics hold that Assertive Discipline is an authoritarian discipline system that forces students into acceptance of the rules of the teacher with the parents further being forced into compliance. Hitz (1988) defined Assertive Discipline as a 'power assertion rather than developing responsible behavior." (p. 25)

Research Question

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The question this research seeks to answer is the question of: "How does assertive classroom management affect social relationships in the classroom?"


The purpose and importance for conducting this research is geared toward obtaining a better understanding of how assertive classroom management affects the social relationships of students in the classroom.

Study Approach

Term Paper on How Does Assertive Discipline Affect Social Relationships in the Classroom? Assignment

The approach used in the study being proposed is the method of observation and through use of interviews/surveys include pre- and post-test.




I. Catching Students Being Good

The work of Canter and Canter (2001) emphasizes catching the student being good and providing appropriate feedback and reinforcement for the good behavior. In the belief of the Cantors, the teacher has a right to make the determination of what is best for the students in terms of behavior and further to expect compliance from the students. Assertive teachers are those who "react confidently and quickly in situations that require behavior management. These teachers have "few clearly stated classroom rules and give firm, clear, concise directions to students who are in need of outside control." (Carey, 2007) Assertive teachers "build positive, trusting relationships with their students and teach appropriate classroom behavior (via direct instruction...describing, modeling, practicing, reviewing, encouraging and rewarding) to those who don't who it at present." (Carey, 2007) the Assertive Discipline approach evolved from behavior modification theory. Assertive Discipline is a behavioral approach to classroom discipline that is characterized "by a focus on environmental variables." (Carey, 2007) in this approach, the teachers "manipulate environmental contingencies by using reinforcers, punishers and processes of shaping and extinction to manage the behavior of students in their class (Jones and Jones, 1995)." (Carey, 2007)

II. Assertive Discipline is a Behavioral Approach

The behavioral approach in discipline includes various positive reinforcers such as: "praise, stickers and free time" in promoting compliance and on-task behavior from students (Donnellan, LaVigna, Negri-Shoultz, & Fassbender, 1988) (Carey, 2007) Furthermore the teachers in the assertive discipline classroom "use some form of penalty such as reprimands, demerit points, or time out in order to reduce undesirable behavior (Martin & Pear, 1992) (Carey, 2007) the approach developed by Canter (1976) is a program in which the teacher assumes the responsibility for management of student behavior however, "research into the effectiveness of this approach has provided inconclusive findings and has been described by some authors as unsophisticated (Benshoff, et al., 1994)." (Carey, 2007) it is related that a study conducted by Brown (2003) took a look at "culturally responsive management practices." (Collier, 2006)

III. Three Competencies of Assertive Discipline

Thirteen teachers were interviewed and observed in the study. These teachers were described as "...outstanding teachers who created optimal learning environments." (Collier, 2006) the three competencies that these teachers were identified has possessing were those as follows: (1) Caring for students; (2) Being assertive and acting with authority; and (3) Understanding how other students might view power and authority and communicate effectively with students." (Collier, 2006)

IV. Six Tasks of Assertive Discipline in the Classroom

Weinstein, Curran and Tomilson-Clark (2003) are stated to have identified six tasks that result in classroom management that is more 'culturally relevant management' which includes the following six tasks: (1) Creating a physical setting that supports social and academic goals, (2) Establishing behavior expectations, (3) Communicating in culturally consistent ways with students, (4) Developing a classroom environment that is caring, (5) Working with families, and (6) Using appropriate interventions to assist students with behavior difficulties. (Collier, 2006)

V. Application of Assertive Discipline Approach

Successful use of Assertive Discipline in the classroom includes never even thinking there is a reason for bad behavior that is acceptable, except perhaps in the case of biologically-based misbehavior. Secondly, the teacher must make a decision as to which rules will be established in the classroom. The teacher should choose four or five rules and make them very clear to the student. Third, the teacher must decide the negative consequences the student will experience for noncompliance. Fourth, the teacher must determine positive consequences for appropriate behavior of students. Rewards are given that are group rewards and those that are individual rewards. Fifth, the teacher should have a meeting to inform the students of the discipline program and state why the rules are necessary. The rules should be listed along with the negative and positive consequences. The teacher should have the students take home a copy of the list of rules for the parents to read and sign and the program should be implemented immediately. The teacher must become skillful in using assertive discipline techniques such as communication of displeasure to student concerning their behavior and develop the ability to recognize and provide quick response to behavior that is appropriate. The teacher should also become skillful at using the "broken record technique" or continuing to repeat the commands given to students until the student listens and follows the directions given by the teacher. The teacher should become skillful at using the: "positive repetitions technique" which is a "disguised way of repeating rules" so that students understand what they need to do. "Proximity praise" should be used in which the teacher, instead of only focusing on the bad behavior of students, praises the students who are behaving well. "Proximity control" is also stated as a necessary skill and is a where the teacher makes the move toward the student misbehaving by for example inviting the student to talk to them alone instead of in front of the class. Finally, the teacher should teach the students good classroom behavior.

VI. Key Ideas behind Assertive Discipline

The key ideas behind the Assertive Discipline approach are those as follows:

Key One: The teacher must insist and expect responsible behavior from the students;

Key Two: The teacher must maintain adequate classroom discipline; and Key Three: Both students and teachers have rights.

VII. Characteristics of the Assertive Discipline Model

The characteristics of the Assertive Discipline Model are those as follows:

1. There is a clear indication given by the teacher to the student of the rules of the classroom.

2. The teacher gives reminders of the rules;

3. The teacher gives students indication of consequences for violating classroom rules;

4. The teacher establishes a positive discipline system;

5. The teacher uses positive consequences as opposed to negative

6. Negative consequences are graded in severity of the misbehavior of students.

VIII. Implementation of the Assertive Discipline Model

There are five necessary steps in the implementation of the Assertive Discipline model, which are those as follows:

Step One - recognize and remove roadblocks;

Step Two - practice use of assertive response styles;

Step Three - learn to set limits;

Step Four - learn to follow-through on limits;

Step Five - implement a system of positive consequences. (Behavior Management Themes, 2007)

The Assertive Discipline model was developed by Canter and is focused at 'corrective' control of the classroom based on positive behavioral management. Assertiveness is defined in the work of Canter as being a: "business like communication of reasonable teacher expectations and disapproval followed by a clear indication of what the student is to do. The teacher who is assertive provides reminders to students as to what they should do and uses questions assertively in communicating limits to students.

IX. Benefits of the Assertive Discipline Approach

Benefits of the Assertive Discipline approach includes the following:

It enables teachers to use class time more productively for teaching;

It serves to prevent discipline problems from occurring as students have a clear understanding of the consequences of keeping and breaking the rules; and it can provide supportive control when a warning is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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