Essay On Philosophy Of Student Discipline

Essay about Philosophy of Classroom Discipline

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Philosophy of Classroom Discipline

“Power is exercised only over free subjects, and only insofar as they are free. By this we mean individual or collective subjects who are faced with a field of possibilities in which several ways of behaving, several reactions and diverse compartments may be realized.” (Foucault)

Foucault and Heidegger, modern philosophers, both describe power in these terms, as the facility to manipulate an object without force. Understanding this point of view is important, not only for state institutions who attempt to exert power over citizens and deviants, but also for teachers as they try to use disciplinary power to control the events in their classroom. Unfortunately, the majority of status quo disciplinary…show more content…

The truth is that students are the only ones who can make the decision to behave well or conform to teacher expectations. Recognizing this leads one to note that instead of forcing a student to behave well, a teacher needs to influence a student in a positive way.

The question is what does a teacher do to positively influence students without exerting coercive control? Gordon points out that the best way to resolve and prevent situations of misbehavior and deviance in the classroom is to first recognize who owns the problem. In a situation where students are disrupting the class, for example, a teacher should be sure to use messages to indicate that the problem is affecting the teacher in a negative way, forcing the students to decide if they want to continue their disruptive activity instead of immediately going on the defensive against what they may think is an over controlling warden. Additionally, using the no-lose method of conflict resolution allows students to have a positive way out of a bad situation, instead of a forced punishment with no control over the situation. By allowing the student to have power over the student, the teacher in these instances is able to wield true power and is more likely to maintain a well behaved and efficient classroom environment.

In the same way that teachers should use true power in confrontational situations, where the teacher has the problem, the teacher should also use true power in situations where

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   Q:  What is your philosophy of classroom discipline?

   A:   I would want to establish a specific set of rules for students to follow.  This set of rules would be designed to create a sense of order and comfort so that teaching and learning can take place.  But, in order for the rules to be effective, I know they need to be built on some very basic principles.  These principles would include 1) Students should have a sense of ownership of the rules – they should be invited to contribute a set of expectations about classroom behavior.  2) Classroom rules should always be framed in positive terms.  Instead of “Don’t hit people,” I would say ‘Respect other people.”  Instead of “No talking when someone else is talking,” I would say, “Take turns talking.”  3) I would make sure all students understand the classroom rules through concrete examples, specific anecdotes, and personal stories.  And, 4) I would make sure my classroom rules were consistent with school rules.  Above all, my classroom discipline policy would be structured on a set of rules that would be communicated in clearly defined terms and language students understand, provide the specific rationale or reason for a rule, and offer concrete examples of each rule as I would want it practiced.

            Discipline is one of the most important concerns in schools today.  You should definitely plan on being asked a “discipline question” at some time during the interview.  Your response should be carefully crafted in terms of specificity and purpose.  The more detailed you are in your response the better you will be viewed by the interviewers.  Never talk in generalities when responding to this query.  Be precise!


     Always think about the interviewer and gear your responses toward her or his concerns.  If you can demonstrate how your talents or experiences can address one or more of her or his concerns you will always come across as an interesting candidate as well as a first-rate teacher.  Be outwardly oriented and you’ll always have a successful interview.

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