School discipline is a required set of actions by a teacher towards a student (or groups of students) after the student’s behaviour disrupts the ongoing educational activity or breaks a pre-established rule created by the school system. Discipline guides the children’s behaviour or sets limits to help them learn to take care of themselves, other people and the world around them.
School systems set rules, and if students break these rules they are subject to discipline.
These rules may, for example, define the expected standards of clothing, timekeeping, social conduct, and work ethic. The term discipline is applied to the punishment that is the consequence of breaking the rules. The aim of discipline is to set limits restricting certain behaviors or attitudes that are seen as harmful or going against school policies, educational norms, school traditions, etc.
The focus of discipline is shifting and alternative approaches are emerging due to notably high dropout rates and disproportionate punishment upon minority students. Discipline often has a negative connotation, but discipline can be a positive way of instilling community values upon youth.
The Importance of Discipline
Disciplining children is important to create a safe and fun learning environment. Discipline requires knowledge, skill, sensitivity and self-confidence; like any art, it is something that one will acquire through training and experience; it becomes easier with practice. Many people confuse discipline with classroom management; discipline is one dimension of classroom management and classroom management is a general term. Discipline can also have a positive influence on both the individual and classroom environment. Utilizing disciplinary actions can be an opportunity to reflect and learn about consequences, instill collective values, and encourage behavior that is acceptable for the classroom. Recognition of the diversity of values within communities can increase understanding and tolerance of different disciplinary techniques. Promoting positive correction of questionable behavior within the classroom dynamic, as opposed to out-of-class punishments like detention, suspension, or expulsion, can encourage learning and discourage future misbehavior. Learning to own one’s bad behavior can also contribute to positive growth in social emotional learning.
Discipline is a set of actions determined by the school authorities or Governments to remedy actions taken by a student that are deemed inappropriate. Some scholars think students misbehave because of the lack of engagement and stimulation in typical school settings, a rigid definition of acceptable behaviors and/or a lack of attention and love in a student’s personal life.
Some reasons for deviant behaviour by students
Lack of engagement and stimulation – Students are curious and constantly searching for meaning and stimulation in the school environment. Classes that are too one-dimensional, that fail to involve students sufficiently, are too challenging or are very much information heavy (leaving little room for discussion and consideration), will not satisfy students’ curiosities or needs for authentic intellectual stimulation.
A rigid definition of acceptable behavior – Most students, particularly older ones, are asked to sit at their desks for many minutes at a time and listen, read, and/or take notes. Teachers who fail to offer opportunities for movement and interpersonal engagement are likelier to have to use strictness and rules to maintain law and order.
Lack of attention and love – When students fail to receive the attention that they crave, they are likelier to find other ways to get it, even if it means drawing negative attention to themselves and even negative consequences. The more teachers let their students know how much they care about them and value their work, the likelier they are to respect a teacher’s request and conform to their expectation.
Disproportionate Discipline – African-American students, particularly boys, are disciplined more often in schools than any other demographic. African-American boys are also most likely to receive out-of-school suspensions. African-American boys were also the most likely to be labeled by faculty or school administration as overtly aggressive. Research suggests that when given an opportunity to choose among several disciplinary options for a relatively minor offense, teachers and school administrators often choose more severe punishment for black students than for white students for the same offense. Researchers who have examined these problems in American schools argue that schools use zero-tolerance discipline policies to, in effect, criminalize misdeeds such as dress code violations or talking back to a teacher. Disciplinary methods also vary based on the student’s socioeconomic status. While high-income students more often reported receiving mild and moderate consequences (e.g., teacher reprimand, seat reassignment), low-income students reported receiving more severe consequences, sometimes delivered in a less-than-professional manner (e.g., yelled at in front of class, made to stand in hall all day, search of personal belongings). School administrators may be implicitly biased towards students of colors and students of low socioeconomic status and need to find more equitable ways of disciplining their students in school.