Implementing Discipline Without Stress in Elective Classes

Not all teachers see their students all day (or even every day for that matter). In many schools, elective type classes, such as art or music, only meet once per week for 45 minutes. For these teachers, implementing the Discipline Without Stress approach with such limited time can be a challenge. For these situations, here are my suggestions to make discipline easier.

  1. Make a poster or purchase one of the Levels of Development. At the outset, obtain examples from students or share your examples of what each level would look like so that students have a mental image of them. Let students know that you believe one of the most important things they can learn in school and in life is to understand the difference between doing something to PLEASE others—such as impressing their friends (Level C)— or doing something because it is the most satisfying and best for all concerned (Level D). Focus on the difference between these two higher levels.
  2. When a youngster fools around, whisper in the student’s ear, “Don’t worry about what will happen. We will talk about it later.” This question will redirect the student’s attention and stop misbehavior because of the uncertainty of what will happen. Don’t answer any question from the student. Keep in mind that the person who asks the question controls the situation. Before class ends, elicit a procedure for future irresponsible impulses.
  3. Also download the teaching model, print it, and refer to it often.
  4. Be sure you have a quick way of getting students’ attention. 
  5. Finally, when you walk into a classroom (or when they walk into yours), make a statement like, “It’s nice for us to be visiting today. I know that we’re going to have a good time together.” This will immediately raise expectations for appropriate classroom behavior.