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I have observed my mentor using this style of classroom
management. It is a method of behaviour management pioneered by Lee
and Marlene Cantor. The goal of assertive discipline is to teach
students to choose responsible behaviour and in so doing raise their
self-esteem. This in turn should lead to an increase in their academic
Having a good classroom environment in which to teach gives the pupil
the best possible chance of learning effectively.
A basic principle of assertive discipline is that pupils need to know
your behavioural expectations. They must be given limits and the
teacher must be consistent in his / her approach at all times.
Pupils need positive recognition and support as well as discipline so
that they are motivated to behave well. It is very easy to criticise a
pupil for being badly behaved but most teachers fail to comment on
good, appropriate behaviour.
The teacher who uses assertive discipline effectively has a classroom
plan, which she shares with pupils so that they are clear about the
consequences of their actions.
The teacher will have a list of classroom rules on display and will
remind the pupils what they are at the start of the lesson. (Appendix
1) The rules in Mrs. Ward's class are:
1.Follow directions first time given.
2. Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself.
3. No swearing, teasing, name-calling or put-downs.
4. Do not interrupt when someone else is speaking.
The consequences of choosing to ignore these rules are:
First time a rule is broken: Warning
Second time: Wait outside the classroom for 1 minute
Third time: Wait outside the classroom for 2 minutes
Fourth time: Phone call to parents
Fifth time: Sent to head teacher
The classroom discipline consists of three main parts:
1. Rules that pupils must follow at all times.
2. Positive recognition that pupils will receive for following the
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Watching a teacher apply assertive discipline is a very positive
experience. The atmosphere of the whole room is calm, the lesson has
continuity and all pupils are able to make a positive contribution.
A. Biggs Learning Support Assistant Course - Advanced
I have also been in lessons where the teacher's response to pupils has
had a negative effect on behaviour and the morale of the whole class.
When a teacher "reacts" to pupil's disruptive behaviour it is known as
either a non-assertive or hostile response.
The non-assertive response is one where the teacher is passive and
does not give clear directions; she responds to inappropriate
behaviour as and when it happens. She will be inconsistent in her
response and will allow poor behaviour to go unchallenged one day and
respond angrily another. When a pupil thinks that he can behave in any
way he chooses and not suffer any consequences then he will see how
far he can push the boundaries at every opportunity.
The hostile response
The hostile teacher is one who keeps the class under control but only
through intimidation. They do not set a good example of how to behave
and often put down pupils with remarks that lowers their self-esteem
and hurt their feelings.
They promote negative feelings and expectations where pupils believe
that they cannot achieve goals or succeed. The hostile teacher rarely
makes a positive comment and takes every opportunity to make a
Since I tend to "follow" pupils from one lesson to the next, I am well
placed to see the differences in classroom management. I have been in
a lesson where the teacher has had no control over the class and even
the pupils who are normally well behaved begin to act inappropriately.
I have followed the same class to the next lesson where they have
entered the room quietly, got books and equipment out ready to work
and sat quietly whilst the teacher gives instructions. It highlights
how different management styles can affect a class or individual and
the potential for learning.
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