To maintain discipline in class, most of teachers get confused between punishments and rewards. Rewards are good to control and motivate students but some disruptive students need punishments as their behavioral problems persist in spite of several attempts. Here are some classroom punishments that are mostly used to communicate students which kinds of behaviors are inappropriate and unacceptable:
- The most effective classroom punishment is time-out. Using time-out punishment, teacher places a chair at side of classroom. When a student shows disruptive behavior, teacher simply asks the student to move to time-out chair. Here student spends a couple of minutes while reflecting on his actions. Time-out is considered one of the best punishments as it sets clear limits of acceptable behavior as well as it ensures dignity of student.
- Three strikes is also a kind of classroom punishment which involves three verbal warnings to a student who misbehaves. After three strikes, case is referred to high authorities like principal. Teacher has to take care and count which student have how many strikes. This punishment is also very effective as it gives more than one opportunities to students to amend their behaviors before taking a strict action.
- Appeal to high authority is somewhat serious and strict punishment. It conveys a message to the student that their misbehavior is not acceptable at all and it needs to be informed to principal. This punishment should be used when a student does not show willingness to change his behavior or disrupts others in class. As a consequence of this punishment, student can be removed from class so it should not be used frequently.
- Vice principal, principal or other administrator in school can issue in-school suspension orders as punishment. When in-school suspension is observed, misbehaving student needs to remain in principal’s office, away from his class and fellow students. During punishment, student completes school work alone. This punishment is mostly given for one day but this punishment really works and improves discipline.
- Students who commit serious violation of rules are suspended. Suspension is actually an extended absence from school. During this punishment, student cannot enroll in a different school. Suspension is such a punishment which gives time and opportunity to students to think about their wrong actions so that they can come back to school with improved behavior and awareness.
- Most serious punishment of all is expulsion and it cannot be issued without listening to both the parties-student and administration. Students who commit serious crimes can be expelled from school. Serious crimes may include carrying illegal drugs or alcohol, having a weapon or attacking and beating a school employee. Expulsion removes a student from school on permanent basis. In worst cases, other schools are also prohibited to enroll that particular student. Expulsion is a serious punishment but it contributes greatly to a healthy education environment and other students learn a lot from it.
Considering seating arrangement of students in class is very important especially for new teachers. If bad students sit next to good ones, behavior of bad students may influence the behavior and character of good students as well. Similarly, if you allow a poor student to sit between two outstanding students, their good behavior may also change the nature of poor one. Si it is really important to take care of seating arrangement of students in class. Here are some guidelines in this regard:
- Size and shape of classroom plays an important role in deciding what you can do with the seating arrangement. There are a number of factors that can affect seating arrangement of classroom so try to consider as many factors as possible.
- Consider what type of activities you class will be doing. If you want your students to work in groups, you will have to adjust the seating arrangement accordingly.
- Also decide how much you like to move around in classroom. If you like to move to different areas of classroom while giving lesson, you should arrange seats in a way that creates enough space for you. If you will not consider this, you may collide with objects and students and you will lose focus on your lesson.
- If you like students to discuss lesson with each other, arrange seats so that students may face each other. Students will find it difficult to discuss if they will have to stare at each others’ back.
- Keep in mind the position of whiteboard. If you use whiteboard a lot, make sure that chairs are facing it. If you also use a projector along with a white board, you should position chairs in a way that students may not have to face trouble in order to pay attention to your lesson.
- If you have students with special needs, take them into consideration and allow them sit in front row. It is for those students who have vision problem. If a student sits on wheel chair, allow him sit on front corner.
After considering all above factors, you will be able to create a seating arrangement that will definitely work for you. If you need to change arrangement during the year, do not worry about it as little changes are necessary.
Classroom misbehavior is perhaps the most common problem faced by teachers and the best way to deal with it is to first find the reason behind this. Once the root cause of misbehavior is found, it can become very easy for a teacher to diffuse poor and nasty behavior of a student. Students generally show negative behavior to:
Most of the students show a negative misbehavior in class just to grab attention of others. To get attentions, students become either argumentative or do funny things in class. Other attention-getting behaviors may include disrupting lecture, talking too much and asking for favors. Some students continue this behavior even if it leads to insult or punishment. The best thing a teacher can do in response of such behavior is to avoid becoming annoyed and ignore it.
Some students want to be in charge of everything. To reach their goal, such students become disruptive and offensive. Student disobeys teacher, does not cooperate with teacher and other students and disturbs the class. Such misbehavior by a student can make a teacher feel threatened or challenged by that particular student. Such behavior can be dealt with giving a student power by making him leader of a group.
When students fail to get attention or power, they show revenge-seeking behavior. Such students always remain angry and defiant and they just want to hurt teacher, other students or even their parents. Revenge of such students can be shown in form of physical or psychological attack. This behavior of students is reinforced if teachers show that they have been really hurt by this behavior.
Students can also show a negative behavior in class if they feel themselves inferior or inadequate in some way. I can explain this with help of an example. If a difficult assignment is given to student and he feels himself unable to do it, he intentionally misbehaves in class so that he may be sent out of classroom. He thinks that by doing this, he can avoid the difficult task and consequently avoid embarrassment in front of other students.
These reasons of misbehavior seem to be very serious but teachers can remove these by meeting needs of such students. Such students are in need of emotional support which teachers can easily provide them.
Cheating is one of the most common activities that take place in a classroom. Cheaters are found in every class and in every school. Modern gadgets like calculators, mobiles and PDA’s have made it easy for students to cheat. They now do not have to look at their neighbor student’s paper. Detection and prevention of cheating in a school is all a teacher’s responsibility. Before taking action to prevent cheating, a teacher must also know how to detect cheaters. Here are some guidelines:
- If you are a teacher and want to detect cheaters in your class, the first thing you need to do is to watch the class carefully. You should only concentrate on all activities of students because students only cheat when they find their teacher distracted by some other work. Especially during test time, watch your students carefully.
- You will always find cheaters’ eyes wandering here and there. Watch for such eyes and make sure all students are busy doing their own work rather than looking at their neighbor’s paper.
- You will also need making sure that your students are not deceiving you by hiding notes and books under their desks and other books.
- If some students are talking during test, there may be a chance that they are discussing about answers.
- If two or more papers have the same answer to a question then it means those students have cheated. In that case, you are required investigating further.
Useful Tips for Prevention of Cheating
Different things can be done to prevent cheating in classroom. Some of the useful tips include:
- The best thing you can do is to establish a policy in class that cheating will not be tolerated at any cost. When students will know about serious consequences of cheating, they will not even try to attempt it.
- You can establish a no-talking policy either. Students should not be allowed to talk during a test.
- Being a teacher, you should not leave the room when an exam or test is in progress.
- Spread students in class so that they can not look at their peers’ papers.
- If your classroom is congested and not spacious enough to spread students then conduct test at some other place in school like in library or school hall.
- Students should not be allowed to keep anything with them during paper except pen or pencil.
- Create dissimilar tests for students. Pattern of test can be the same but questions for each student should be different.
- If you have a student who had cheated previously, do not have him/her sit near other students.
- You can also teach moral principles and values to students to prevent and discourage cheating. For example, you can hang an “Honest is the Best Policy” poster in your classroom. This poster will also serve as a reminder to students.
- If cheating occurs repeatedly, call student’s parents or send a letter. There should be a proper discussion between parents and teachers on this issue.
Teachers, during their career, can not avoid students who misbehave. Dealing with students’ misbehavior becomes easier after knowing the reason behind it. So the best way to deal with students’ misbehavior is to understand causes of such behavior. But there are surely some other tips which can be followed to deal with a student who does not behave properly in class.
The approaches used to deal with misbehavior can be divided into three categories:
It includes warnings, threats of punishment, describing rules and use of humor.
It includes gestures and facial expressions or dramatic pause that conveys a silent message to student showing nasty behavior.
Finally, a teacher can deal with misbehavior by imposing a punishment. Punishment may include giving extra assignment, moving that pupil from his/her seat or involving another teacher.
How to Respond to Misbehavior
- The first thing which you can do is to show patience. You should calm when warning the student. Control your anger and do not shout. If possible, talk with that student privately because students feel embarrassed when such issues are discussed in front of their peers.
- When a student shows misbehavior, he/she anticipate your reaction. At this time, you are required doing what is unexpected.
- You can also give that particular student a chance to assume a responsibility to correct his behavior.
- At times, it may also prove appropriate to ignore misbehavior. But you will have to take special care while using this strategy. Ignoring a minor misbehavior may give a feeling to students that you don’t know what is going on in class. Make sure that you are using this strategy to deal with misconduct in least disruptive way.
- For minor misbehavior, you can even use your “angry look” to warn the naughty student. Using facial expressions or eye contact to warn mischievous student is a popular technique used by teachers.
- If you find verbal reminders and non-verbal cues useless, you can enforce a consequence. Such consequences may include exclusion from group, contacting parents, loss of privileges, detentions and visit to principal’s office. Avoid using extreme or physical punishments in this regard. Punishments unrelated to misbehavior are of no worth either.