10 Ineffective Classroom Discipline-Management Techniques


Classroom management is probably the most difficult area for new teachers to master. While every teacher eventually develops their own management style, there are some strategies that just don’t work. Eliminate these as options and you’ve gone a long way to having a smoothly running classroom.

1. Using physical force. This might get you fired and/or sued.

2. Being too authoritarian: “You’ll do what I say, or else.” “I’m the boss here.” There will always be the kid who calls your bluff. Don’t let yourself be boxed into a corner by the kid who isn’t intimidated by threats.

3. Bribing students to be good. “If you’ll behave when the principal comes to observe, I’ll buy you a pizza.” I myself was guilty of this as a pre-student teacher. In my college we had a program where I helped out in a junior high classroom. The kids were typical, rowdy junior high kids. We had to videotape ourselves conducting a small group lesson as part of the experience. I told the kids I would buy them a treat if they behaved. They did behave and I did buy the treat, but that was the last time I ever resorted to such a cheap tactic. I’m convinced they would have behaved just as well and it’s a bad precedent to set in any case.

4. Getting involved in a power struggle. If pushed too hard in front of their peers some students will refuse to back down no matter the consequence, and may even become violent. Remember that your goal is for instruction to continue. Most classrooms now have telephones. If a kid truly becomes a threat, call the office and have someone come and take him away. Otherwise, tell the student you’ll deal with this later when you’ve had time to think about it and move on with class.

5. Being sarcastic or mocking students. Please, please, please don’t do this. You will be tempted but nothing good will ever come from it. Count to 10 and keep your mouth closed!

6. Saying “Do you want me to send you to the principal’s office?” What’s the point of that question?

7. Threatening discipline but never following through. Fairness is very important to students. If you say you are going to do something, then you need to do it.

8. Getting angry. Once the kids make you lose your temper, they are in control. (Note: You WILL get angry on occasion! You are human and they can make you crazy. Just make it your goal to not get angry and then try to live up to it.)

9. Holding a grudge against a student or a class. It’s essential to give all students a fresh start every day.

10. Assuming kids are sneaky, lie and cheat. They will live up to your expectations.

It’s a good idea to keep a record of which management strategies work for you and which don’t. Different classes respond to different strategies. Classroom management involves a lot of trial-and-error but if you remember not to do the above things you’re ahead of the game!


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