Two Approaches for Classroom Discipline

I posted the following remarks on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 blog, “Get Schooled, ” Sept. 10, 2015:

“To all who are interested in classroom discipline:

The essence in the difference between the other poster’s post and mine, relative to cause and effect is ‘which comes first the chicken or the egg.’

The other poster’s words, paraphrased and summarized, stated that teachers should have excellent instructional skills (communication and curriculum area knowledge) and classroom discipline.  He states that without discipline it is “almost impossible” to achieve excellent instructional skills in the classroom, as if discipline is a separate skill which is first imposed before instruction can happen. The other poster says that the egg comes first (get discipline established, first) and, then, the chicken will follow (an excellent lesson based on excellent instruction).

My post reverses his order and his thinking (which is a fundamental difference in educational philosophy).  I state that when the teacher has excellent instructional skills (communication and knowledge), then disciplinary concerns will take care of themselves because the students will be authentically involved in the ideas/skills/concepts within the day’s lesson and will not be thinking about how to disrupt the class.  I say, then, that the chicken comes first (excellent lesson based on excellent instruction) and that the disciplinary egg, if you will, is, thereafter, produced, naturally.

Of course, in reality both of these different approaches are used by various teachers in various degrees in the classroom just as some actors find their roles by going inward for the character’s essence, and other actors will manifest their roles through external techniques such as gestures, costumes, etc.  In truth, both techniques are used on the stage by actors, just as some teachers will enforce discipline both through a disciplinary plan, in and of itself, and other teachers will enforce that discipline through ensuring that they have stimulating, motivational lessons, filled with interest and complexity. That is why at the end, the other poster and I were both in agreement that both (or all three, as you may count) ways go ‘hand-in-hand,’ just as the outstanding actor incorporates both internal and external techniques to fully manifest his role on the stage during performance.”


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