A common practice in classrooms around the world is to establish classroom rules, either by the teacher alone or by the teacher and students cooperatively. Rules are necessary in games, but in relationships they are counterproductive. Although the establishment of rules has good intentions, their implementation often produces deleterious effects.
When Johns Hopkins University researchers analyzed data from more than 600 schools, they found six characteristics associated with discipline problems. Notice that the first three concerned rules.
- Rules were unclear or perceived as unfairly or inconsistently enforced.
- Students didn’t believe in the rules.
- Teachers and administrators didn’t know what the rules were or disagreed on the proper responses to student misconduct.
- Teacher-administrator cooperation was poor or the administration was inactive.