Discipline Models

 What is positive discipline?

Created by Alfred Adler and Rudolf Driekurs. Positive Discipline models are used to teach students how to be responsible, respectful, and resourceful. Research has shown that children who are disciplined using positive models are less likely to misbehave and more likely to become successful citizens. (Nelson 2013)
    -Criteria for creating a positive discipline model:
        1.Helps children feel a sense of connection.
2.Is mutually respectful and encouraging.
3.Is effective long - term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.)
4.Teaches important social and life skills . (Respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.)
5.Invites children to discover how capable they are. (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.)


What is negative discipline?
Negative discipline focuses on what a student is not doing correctly and does not provide appropriate feedback for the student to improve their behavior or choices. It relies on fear to control the students behavior and is often times inconsistent. In negative discipline the adult is in control at the cost of the child. Negative discipline provides a bad model for behavior. Negative discipline leaves the child feeling powerless and hopeless.


Evidence behind positive discipline
The research for supporting positive discipline models is still being gathered; however, the evidence that has been released supports the use of positive discipline models. One study developed in a low-income school located in Sacramento, CA. indicated that positive discipline resulted in a decrease in suspensions and vandalism at the school. The study also resulted in positive classroom atmosphere and academic performance.


Evidence behind negative discipline
There  is not much research for supporting negative discipline models. Research has been done that shows negative discipline can have rather damaging effects on the confidence and self esteem of students. It has also been discovered that negative discipline can hamper a students ability to learn effectively. Negative discipline also does not have lasting effects, if the students do not feel the threat they are unlikely to follow the rules set out.


Models of positive discipline
-Character Education: Education program used to teach students acceptable characteristics and behaviors that are both acceptable at school and in the community.
  • morals
  • good behavior
  • non-bullying
  • role model
  • problem solving skills


-Positive Discipline Techniques:
  • When/Then – Abuse It/Lose It Principle – Once a child has finished a task they may move onto to a task of their choice. This technique helps children learn responsibility.
  • Incompatible Alternative Principle – This technique involves giving children tasks that eliminate bad behavior. An example would be allowing the child to help pass back papers or aid in a class lesson in order to eliminate bad behavior at the child’s desk.
  • Choice Principle – This technique requires the adult to give a child two choices once they have made a bad decision. The choices are acceptable to the adult but the child feels that they made the decision about their behavior.
  • Make a Big Deal Principle – When a child chooses to be responsible, compassionate, or demonstrate good behavior make a big deal about it.
  • Talk About Them Positively to Others – This technique involves telling others about positive things the child did in front of the child so that they feel proud of their behavior.
  • Modeling Principle – This technique is scaffolding, modeling appropriate behavior.
  • Take a Break Principle – Allow the child to take a break and think about their behavior. This gives the child time to determine a better alternative to his/her negative behavior.
  • Privacy Principle – This technique deals with a child’s negative behavior in a private setting so that the child does not become embarrassed.
  • Talk With Them, Not to Them Principle – This technique requires you to have a conversation with the child, meaning you must both talk and listen.
  • Whisper Principle – This technique usually gains the attention of a child sooner than yelling because it is not the reaction they expected from an adult.


Models of negative discipline
-Clip chart- Many schools have adopted this system of discipline. A chart with different colors denoting a level of behavior is set up in the room with a “clip” for each child with their name on it. When a child misbehaves they are told to move their clip, often with no explanation or warning. This does not give a student the chance to modify their behavior and provides no dialogue between the teacher and student about better choices they could have made. 
-Corporal Punishment- Includes any type of physical punishment including spanking. Although this is illegal in schools there have been cases of teachers being caught using corporal punishment in their classrooms. Corporal punishment is very seldom accompanied by an explanation of why the child is being punished and has no dialogue about how to change behavior. Corporal punishment is embarrassing to children and enforces violent tendencies in children.
Additional Resources:
These resources include multiple discipline techniques to be implemented in classrooms, definitions of discipline models, and explanation of how these discipline models affect students.


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