Classroom Discipline Cook-Sather, A. ) Article Review

Pages: 12 (3423 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Teaching


The article provides useful classroom discipline ideas in a clear, concise way. The information is specific to college classrooms but the general ideas are similar to those presented in articles about elementary and secondary classroom management issues and techniques.

Hulac, D., and Benson, N. (2010). The use of group contingencies for preventing and managing disruptive behaviors. Intervention in School and Clinic, 45(4), 257-262.

Hulac and Benson, professors of social psychology at the University of South Dakota, explain how the behaviorism-based classroom management technique of group contingencies can be used to address discipline problems. They point to literature that finds group contingencies to be highly effective in dealing with misbehavior when they are used correctly. Also, teachers find group contingencies easier to employ than multiple contingencies for different students.

Group contingencies rely on interdependent student behavior. All students get rewarded when all students meet the criteria for the reinforcement. Group contingencies can be used to enlist the group to help manage the misbehavior of one or a small group of students. As with most behaviorist interventions, randomization of the components of the group contingency strengthens its effect.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Article Review on Classroom Discipline Cook-Sather, A. (2009). Assignment

The authors illustrate these concepts with a case study to which they refer from time to time. In one instance, the teacher uses a group contingency to gain the class's support in helping to stop a student who disrupts class by uttering racial slurs. While the disruptive student is out of the classroom receiving social skills counseling, the teacher teaches the students how to ignore that student's provocations. Each time they do it successfully, the entire class earns a certain amount of extra computer use time, and when they don't, the teacher reminds them that they missed an opportunity to earn more computer time and encourages them to succeed next time. The aim is to extinguish the utterance of insults. Everybody wins when the class ignores the disruptive student's insults, and the student receives positive pressure to stop the misbehavior.

Hulac and Benson go on to suggest combining group contingencies with other methods of classroom management, including engaging students in brainstorm ways that they can demonstrate good behavior and soliciting student input concerning rewards and reinforcements they value.

Written as a guide for practitioners of group contingency, the article does discuss the limits of the practice, including the kinds of situations that do not warrant its use.

Morrissey, K.L., Bohanon, H., & Fenning, P. (2010). Positive behavior support: Teaching and acknowledging expected behaviors in an urban high school. TEACHING Exceptional

Children, 42(5), 26-35.

This article, written by education faculty members at Loyola University in Chicago -- one of whom is a special education teacher in a public school, reports the longitudinal research findings regarding the implementation of a school-wide positive behavior support (PBS) approach to school discipline in a large urban high school. The PBS system involves a three-tiered approach to teaching and acknowledging positive behaviors. The first tier is school-wide, successfully reaching 80% of students. Tiers 2 and 3 are geared to deal with more resistant behavior problems with more intensive, small group and individualized intervention. Morrissey, Bohanon, and Fenning focus on a Tier 1 level system over 3 years.

A Tier 1 PBS program starts with assembling a team that uses school disciplinary data and interviews with staff and students to establish a set of 3 to 5 expected positive behaviors in different school locations such as the hallways and the cafeteria. The team creates a lesson plan to teach the expected behaviors to the student body that includes a presentation and role playing practice, and teachers and staff are taught how to acknowledge positive behaviors with detailed praise and giving students tickets with which they can get desirable items as rewards for good behavior. In this study, the school implemented the PBS as a pilot program during summer school with a small population of students, then for the next 3 years during the normal academic school year.

The researchers found that discipline problems were significantly lower over all years of implementation when compared to the baseline from before the program. Tier 2 and 3 interventions decreased as well. They also found that teaching the expected behaviors in a school-wide assembly at the beginning of the year had a positive impact on behavior more quickly than doing it in small groups over the first few weeks of the school year. The researchers acknowledge that without a control group, no causality can be determined.

This study is useful in both the detailed descriptions of its theoretical approach, the implementation strategy, and the results. It is odd, however, that the authors discuss special needs children in their opening paragraphs but do not actually include them in the report of their research.

Pass, S. (2007). A classroom discipline plan that teaches democracy. Issues in Teacher

Education, 16(1), 75-89.

Pass's research investigates a model for classroom management that encourages teachers to include students in the management of the classroom through a democratic process, and it presents findings on the impact of this model on college seniors in a social studies education program as they ready themselves for student teaching assignments in high school settings. The impetus for the model is based on the goals of the National Council for the Social Studies, the third of which states that social studies students should learn how to be a good participant in democracy.

The model provides the student teachers with a process for creating classroom management contracts in collaboration with their students. Their students get to approve the contracts by voting. The first contract is about teacher-student and student-student interactions. The second concerns the consequences when a student violates the first contract. The third contract is designed to deal with violations of the second and provides an opportunity to help the offending student understand how he or she went wrong and how the student can improve on those points. The student creates the third contract outside of classroom time, and it constitutes a student-teacher agreement aimed at remedying the problematic behavior.

In Pass's own fifteen years classroom teaching experience, she found that this model led to a decrease in student misbehaviors and less time dealing with discipline problems. This positive experience encourage her to pursuit this as a teaching model at the college level in order to inculcate democratic classroom management skills in the next generation of teachers.

The college students were divided into two groups. Group One did not receive instruction using the contract creation method whereas Group Two did. Both groups were pre- and post-tested using a strong and valid instrument Pass created and tested. Students in the second group showed higher scores on the post-test vis-a-vis Group One participants regarding student motivation and interest in learning how to teach. Group Two students indicated a higher sense of preparedness for their student teaching assignments.

Pass acknowledged limitations in her study, such as the selected sample, the small size of the sample, and the fact that the study took place in a college setting. Nonetheless, this study is interesting because it addresses a concrete model designed to enhance classroom management by involving students pro-actively in establishing an understanding of discipline issues in the classroom. The model gives students a voice in creating the classroom rules and engages them in rectifying violations of those rules.

Susan Pass is an assistant professor of social studies education at Clemson University.

Ryan, J.B., Peterson, R., Tetreault, G., & Hagen, E. (2007). Reducing seclusion timeout and restraint procedures with at-risk youth. Journal of At-Risk Issues, 13(1), 7-12.

This article reports on the impact of intensive crisis intervention training for staff at a Minnesota school for at-risk youths on how often staff uses seclusion (timeout) and restraint techniques for addressing classroom misbehavior. The study collected data on the number and nature of discipline incident reports filed by staff over a two-year people. The first year the staff had not had the crisis intervention training, but they had been trained before the beginning of the second academic year. Incidences of both types of discipline measures fell during the second year, with seclusion/timeout falling 39.4% and restraint being used 17.6% less. These decreases represented an extra 245 staff hours having been used for school activities other than dealing with misbehavior. The study also surveyed staff members regarding the use of seclusion and restraint after undergoing the intensive training.

The authors, two education professors, the director of the Minnesota Learning Center, and a psychology intern, have written a clear, focused, research report. They discuss the limits of their study design, the implications of their findings on future research and on classroom management of at-risk youth.

Tate, T., and Copas, R. (2010). "Peer pressure" and the group process: Building cultures of concern. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 19(1), 12-16.

Tate and Copas's article describes how teachers and staff that deal with groups of troubled or at-risk youths can use the dynamics of group change and development to harness the power of peer… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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