Any suggestions for getting started with this discipline approach in a school library?

I’m the librarian in a K-8 school. I have been looking for a good discipline program and am really interested in DWS. Any tips or suggestions for successfully getting started in this type of teaching situation?

In any teaching situation, good classroom management lays the foundation for effective discipline. Leave nothing to chance. Carefully create procedures and then proactively teach your students how to behave at Level C in the library. Teach students procedures for every single thing they will need to do while in the library. (See Part I of the Discipline without Stress Teaching Model.)

For example, you might teach procedures for:

• entering and exiting the library
• signing out and returning books
• voice levels in the library
• movement within the library
• selecting appropriate books
• the use of the library computer
• the use of special books/magazines/reference materials etc.
• locating scrap paper for making notes
• the use of tables and chairs (tables tidied, chairs pushed in when leaving etc.)

In addition to establishing clear library procedures, look at the “Levels of Development Poster” and the “Primary Poster.”

Using these as a reference, make a Discipline without Stress Hierarchy poster for your own library. (You may need two versions to suit the varying ages of your pupils.) Choose descriptors for each level that will reflect your particular teaching situation, school and needs.

For example, if you want to focus on independence in the library, then you might include some or all of the following descriptors in your Hierarchy:

Level D: Motivation is internal
Asks for assistance from librarian, only after having tried to think through a problem independently.

Level C: Motivation is external
As a first step, asks the librarian for assistance.

Level B:
Wanders around needing help, but not seeking it.

Level A:
Makes no attempt to seek help, and instead deliberately causes disturbances.


To give you another example, the next set of descriptors might be included to help build the expectation that libraries are rooms for quiet reading and study.

Level D: Motivation is internal
Reads and studies quietly – no adult supervision is necessary.

Level C: Motivation is external
Reads and studies quietly when directly supervised.

Level B:
Reads and studies little–instead distracts or bothers others nearby.

Level A:
Doesn’t read or study at all – instead disturbs everyone by talking loudly.


Each time a class comes in for their library session, quickly review (no more than a minute or two) the acceptable levels (C and D) thus communicating your high expectations to students. By being proactive in this way, you will be off to a good start with disicpline.