As a teacher, when you instruct your students on a procedure or a policy and later learn that the students have not done what you instructed them to do, how would you react? Hand out punishment, or, try to analyze why they did not do what they were asked to do.
When I asked this at my workshops, the first option was most popular, but actually, it’s the second option we need to focus on.
Instead of some negative disciplinary action, teachers must first look within themselves and see if they passed on proper instructions. The teacher has to ensure that the concept, the policy, was explained correctly and completely and that the students were able to grasp the context and the reason behind the introduction of the policy.
Not only this, but the teacher has to always strive to stay the role model who the children look up to. The teacher should never set a wrong example by teaching them one thing, and doing the opposite themselves. If any teacher indulges in such behavior, he/she sends a mixed signal to the children confusing them completely. The children are unable to comprehend this double standard and become unsure of what they should do.
The instructions given to the students must be clear and concise; the policies & procedures followed in the school should be in sync with each other and applied consistently across the whole school. If this is done properly, it gives a sense of security to the students thereby encouraging them to follow the rules resulting in achieving the levels of compliance desired from them.
The school boards also have a very important role to play. They have to ensure that proper training is imparted to the teachers who are taught to properly perform their duties. The teachers should be given complete knowledge about the policies and procedures adopted by the school and ought to know what behavior is expected from them. They have to learn to avoid the negative at all times and encourage the positive. For instilling positive discipline in the students, the teachers have to make the expectations very clear to the students. This can be possible only when teachers are themselves well trained and fully aware of the requirements of the school.
If this is ensured, it is certain that students will actually learn to differentiate between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. When the basics are clear, enforcing discipline in the students becomes very easy.
Also, it is very important that outstanding conduct be recorded and such students recognized. This will have a very positive impact on the children.