Few music educators, though, would advocate this laissez-faire approach to classroom management. In fact, classroom discipline has been cited as the primary burn-out factor among practicing teachers. Among American public school teachers who have left the profession, 17.9% cited student discipline as a source of their dissatisfaction (NCES, 1997).
The problems seem to be getting worse. In the 1940 's, school teachers listed gum chewing and talking in line as major discipline concerns. Today, schools are threatened by guns, violence, terrorism, teen pregnancy, and substance abuse. These problem directly affect the music classrooms, and teachers must develop strategies for minimizing their impact.
The origin of the word discipline traces back to the word disciple, meaning "to lead to a higher cause" (Taylor, 1997) or "a person who believes in and helps disseminate the teachings of a master" (disciple, Corel, 1996). Contemporary definitions of the word discipline include references to punishment, behavior training, correction, and rules. When school children are asked about discipline, visions of writing lines, staying after school, rules, and other control-centered ideas come to mind. The present perception of discipline has little to do with leadingstudents. Instead, discipline is perceived as punishment or enforcement.
Music educator Deborah Sheldon (1994) defines classroom discipline as the specific process of regulating student behavior through a stimulus and response network. It may include enforcing rules, estab...
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...ation about history or harmony does not necessarily equate with successful teaching. Delivery and structure will have a significant impact on student retention, motivation, and cooperation.
Assuming that planning and preparation are secure, music teachers should share their lesson plans at the beginning of each class (in Merrion, 1991 and Jones & Jones, 1995). These can be in the form of a rehearsal agenda (so students can put their music in the correct order), behavioral objectives, daily goals, or other appropriate means. When students understand what is expected of them, their anxiety levels are reduced and achievement levels increase. As a result, they are less likely to misbehave because of insecurity. There are times, however, that despite the best planning, circumstances will disturb the flow of the lesson.
Think Before You Speak: Bias and Perception Errors
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