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Optional Elements of a Discipline Plan

Some Options You May Find Useful
• Developing a Discipline Plan for You
• Seven Models of Discipline
• The Canter and Jones Models
• Lists of Rules, Limit-Setting Acts, Consequences, etc"
• A sample letter to be sent home


Thomas H. Allen, Ph.D.

(c)1996. All rights reserved. Fair use by teachers and students is authorized. Commercial use
is prohibited except by prior written permission by the author
If you are to teach successfully, you must have the circumstances that make it possible for you
to teach and for your pupils to learn. Those circumstances do not happen by accident. You
need to develop a plan to ensure that reasonable circumstances for teaching and learning do

Each teacher, class, subject,and situation is different. No plan will fit every situation.

The purpose of this text (and the Classroom Management Workshop it was designed to
supplement) is to help you develop a discipline plan for your class, to know how to diagnose
problems, and to know how to change the plan to fit changed situations.

Prior to 1970 there were no systematic classroom control models. Schools of education gave
random good advice...much of which was useful. In the early 1960's, our societies'
conventions and the schools started to come unglued. Teachers had previously been able to
maintain order by asserting their authority. Pupils generally were reasonably well behaved
and rarely required much disciplinary attention from the teacher. The old methods began to

Teachers typically do the best that they know how to do. Some have discipline problems.
Many of the teachers currently in the schools have not received systematic help to this day.
Unless their school has brought in a workshop presenter, it is unlikely that they have had
systematic instruction in developing a discipline plan for their classes.

In the decade from 1969 to 1979, a number of models were developed to deal with the fact
that teachers all over the country were complaining that they could no longer teach effectively
because of classroom disruption and student inattention.

A number of researchers observed the teaching of many instructors. They noted what worked
and what didn't work. They developed systematic ways to deal with the problems of class
control. Several of these systematic models are given in brief form here.

The descriptions of the following models have been digested by Tom Allen and modified to
fit his own experience, other sources and workshops with such presenters as Lee Canter and
Fred Jones. The models are summarized from Building Classroom Discipline: From Models
to Practice, by C.M. Charles, Longman:New York, 1985. Charles has summarized seven
systematic models of classroom management. Each of these has elements that you may find
appropriate now or in the future. The models are based on extensive observation of pupil and
teacher behavior and on research into various psychological aspects of human nature and
behavior. They incorporate what is deemed to work in the hands of successful teachers.

The plan of this class is to work through the available options and develop a plan that will
make it possible for you to teach and the pupils to learn...and for you to feel comfortable with
what you do to make it possible.

Annual polls of beliefs about the schools consistently rate the lack of discipline at the top of
the list of problems. Teachers and the general public agree on this. Even pupils agree that the
lack of classroom discipline is the main problem. One poll found �that 9 out of 10 teachers
complained that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching.

Although fear of physical attack is common, serious injury of teachers is very rare. Verbal
encounters with hostile students are more common. Violence among pupils and vandalism are
common. But what is disrupting classes is relatively innocuous. Fred Jones researched the
problem and found that about 99% of the typically encountered discipline problems are made
up of such behaviors as pupils talking without permission, daydreaming, wandering around
the room, or otherwise not doing what they have been asked to do.

If Jones is correct that nearly all of what bugs teachers is no more significant than goofing
off, why all the concern? This low level misbehavior interferes with teaching and learning.
It is a heavy contributor to stress and "burn-out." The need to deal constantly with noisy,
disorderly, and discourteous behavior...and the occasionally serious confrontation with defiant
behavior...wears teachers down. It is to deal with these routine distractions and to reduce the
likelihood for confrontations that systematic classroom control models have been developed.

Although significant elements of various models have been presented here, the rationales and
examples have been generally omitted due to space limitations. The selections were made to
give an idea of the range of options open to the teacher...if you want to know more about one
or more of the models, consult Building Classroom Discipline: From Models to Practice, by
C.M. Charles, Longman:New York, several editions, or look up works by the authors of the
individual models. When funding permits, the TPSS Program offers TPSS 701 Assertive
Discipline and TPSS 701 Classroom management Techniques. These workshops, taught by
local public school educators who have been trained by Lee Canter or Fred Jones, are highly

Underlying all discipline problems and efforts to cope with misbehavior are four basic
realities of human nature: We tend to resist doing what others try to make us do; we like to
denigrate and "question authority"; every person is different in interests, abilities and
learning styles as well as different needs, wants and values; and, as children grow older, they
need to be weaned psychologically in order to develop their potential. The ultimate goal
should be to develop self-discipline in pupils and to move away from external, authority-
imposed control; in the meanwhile, a systematic control system makes it possible for teachers

to teach and pupils to learn. This teacher-imposed plan should provide for a transition to self-
control and should wither away as it is no longer needed.

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The Kounin Model:

Withitness, Alerting, and Group Management.

• The ripple effect: when you correct one pupil's behavior, it tends to change the
behavior of others.
• The teacher needs to be with it to know what is going on everywhere in the room at all
• Smooth transitions between activities and maintaining momentum are key to effective
group management.
• Optimal learning takes place when teachers keep pupils alert and held accountable for
• Boredom [satiation] can be avoided by providing variety to lessons, the classroom
environment and by pupil awareness of progress.

The Neo-Skinnerian Model:

Shaping Desired Behavior. B.F. Skinner is the father of the behavioral school of
psychology. A recently popular outgrowth of Skinnerian behaviorism is Behavior
Modification. For a useful presentation, see the section on the Behavioral Systems Family in
Joyce and Weil, Models of Teaching, particularly the introduction to the section and chapters
on "Learning Self-Control" and "Assertive Training."

• Behavior is conditioned by its consequences. Behavior is strengthened if followed

immediately by reinforcement. Behavior is weakened if it is not reinforced.
["Extinction."] Behavior is also weakened if it is followed by punishment.
• In the beginning stages of learning, reinforcement provided every time the behavior
occurs produces the best results.
• Behavior can be maintained by irregular reinforcement.� Reinforcers include verbal
approval, smiles, "thumbs up," high grades, free reading time, goodies, prizes and

The Ginott Model:

Addressing the Situation with Sane Messages.

• Discipline is little-by-little, step-by-step. The teacher's self-discipline is key. Model

the behavior you want in students.

• Use sane messages when correcting misbehavior. Address what the student is doing,
don't attack the student's character [personal traits]. Labeling disables.
• Use communication that is congruentwith student's own feelings about the situation
and themselves.
• Invite cooperation rather than demanding it.
• Teachers should express their feelings--anger--but in sane ways. "What you are doing
makes me very angry. I need you to ...."
• Sarcasm is hazardous.
• Praise can be dangerous; praise the act, not the student and in a situation that will not
turn peers against the pupil.
• Apologies are meaningless unless it is clear that the person intends to improve.
• Teachers are at their best when they help pupils developtheir self-esteem and to trust
their own experience.

The Glasser Model:

Good Behavior Comes from Good Choices. Glasser's recent work focuses on the class
meeting as a means of developing class-wide discipline. See the chapter on The Classroom
Meeting in Joyce and Weil, Models of Teaching. [For those who have their classes under
control and would like to try to go beyond teacher-imposed discipline, William Glasser's
approach is worth serious consideration.

• Students are rational beings capable of controlling their own behavior.�

• Help pupils learn to make good choices, since good choices produce good behavior.�
• Do not accept excuses for bad behavior. Ask, "What choices did you have? Why did
you make that choice? Did you like the result? What have you learned?"�
• Reasonable consequences should always follow good or bad student behavior.
o [Usually developed in classroom meetings,] class rules are essential to a good
learning climate, they must be enforced.
o Classroom meetings are a good way to develop and maintain class behavior.
[The group diagnoses the problem and seeks solutions.]

The Dreikurs Model:

Confronting Mistaken Goals.

• Discipline is not punishment. It means self-control.

• The teacher's role is helping pupils to impose limits on themselves.
• Teachers can model democratic behavior by providing guidance and leadership and
involving pupils in setting rules and consequences.
• All students want to belong. Their behavior is directed to belonging.
• Misbehavior is the result of their mistaken belief that it will gain them peer
recognition. [It is usually a mistake to assume that misbehavior is an attack directed at
the teacher.]
• Misbehavior is directed at mistaken goals: attention-getting, power-seeking, revenge,
and displaying inadequacy. The trick is to identify the goal and act in ways that do not
reinforce mistaken goals.�

• Teachers should encourage students' efforts, but avoid praising their work [?] or
character. [Others disagree.]
• Support the idea that negative consequences follow �inappropriate behavior by your

The Canter Model: Assertively Taking Charge and The Fred Jones Model:
Body Language, Incentive Systems, and Providing Efficient Help.

The next two sections spell out the Canter and Jones models in some detail. These are the two
systems most in use in public schools. I have moved them to a different file [press here] in
order to shorten this page. [Easy to return here.]

Lists of Rules, Limit-Setting Acts, Consequences, etc.

In preparing a discipline plan, consider what your objectives are and what needs to
happen for those objectives to come about. Avoid jumping directly to a solution. If you
say, "I have this tool [for example, detention], that ought to work." You have locked into
a single option. To a person with a new hammer, everything looks like a nail.

It is more productive to ask yourself, "I need to get John to stop talking and get to work.
What options do I have?"

My workshop participants have brainstormed a number of options for each of the

elements of a discipline plan: rules, positive and negative reinforcers, limit-setting acts,
etc. I list many of them here--with my comments for some in brackets. I don't
necessarily recommend all of them and you should only use those appropriate to your
situation and that you will feel comfortable using in practice.

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• Be on time
• Clean up area
• Mutual respect for learning and right to teach
• Pick up trash
• Do in-class work in this class
• No hats [Hats off?]
• No staple shooting [do you want to suggest this?]
• No clay throwing
• No running
• No food fights
• Be cooperative
• No throwing things [Would this be better? "Throw things on the field, not in the class"

• Tobacco is prohibited [this is a State/school rule, do you need it?]

• Listen quietly
• Keep area clear [specify area]
• No snapping towels
• Keep criticism positive
• Follow directions the first time
• No talking during roll
• Eat/drink outside of class
• Use proper language in class
• Work to the end of class
• Dispose of gum before entering
• Carry microscope with two hands
• Attend to the work of the class ["no note passing," etc. can be handled in the
explanation of what the rule means.]
• Leave the belongings of others alone
• Keep hands and feet to yourself
• Don't make fun of others [Items like the last three can be covered with a rule like
"Respect others and their possessions."]
• Raise your hand to be recognized
• Be prepared
• Stay in seat
• Be an active listener
• Follow safety rules
• No complaining about assignments [Students will try to negotiate a postponement, etc.
It is usually best to listen, avoid getting into an argument, and restate the assignment,
i.e., "broken record."]
• Take care of equipment
• Sit correctly in seat [posture]
• Respect materials
• Sharpen pencil before the bell rings [what happens if the pencil breaks?]
• No cheating. ["Do your own work"]
• Be responsible
• Bring materials to class
• Ask to leave the room [Is this what you intend?]
• Turn assignments in on time
• No unauthorized experiments
• Do work in ink in proper format
• Talk only with permission
• Be in your seat when the bell rings
• No talking across the room

State rules positively when possible, use as few rules as you can and still reach your
objectives, let one rule cover a number of related ideas, and explain the rules with examples to
your class.

What (few) rules do you really need to set the environment for learning?



Eye contact--composed face


Calming gesture

Place hand on the pupil's desk or book

Open student's book and point at work to be started

Tap on teacher's desk

Flash lights off and on

Personal contact [see "touching" in GESA materials for explanation--touching is powerful and
potentially dangerous]

Peer pressure [may assist but not something teacher can direct]

Model expected behavior

Point to posted rule

Circle child who is asleep/off-task while continuing lecture

The Stare

Silence [then follow up with gesture when the student looks up]

Blow a whistle, click a clicker, tinkle a bell, etc.

Ignore intentionally [note: by the time the teacher realizes that a child is off task, [there has
usually been enough time for extinction to work if it is going to work.]

Start over

Talk with student after class

Nod or point with eye contact

Moving in [it is suggested that you not attempt the Fred Jones sequence unless you have been

Point at student

Hand gestures, e.g., palm down or out, thumbs down

Incorporate student who is off-task into the demonstration [not a put down: "Joe, please hold
the end of this for me"]

Raise your hand [cooperative learning signal]

If a general problem, have class reenter the room

Verbal acts short of consequences:

Call student by name

I need you to....

Quietly, calmly [one-to-one] state what you want, e.g., "I need you to...."

Compliment someone who is on task [Lee Canter says to compliment several acts before
applying negative consequences]

Peer counseling [e.g., send a pair out so the rules can be explained before consequences
affecting preferred activity time would be imposed

Broken record [in lieu of arguing about what happened] "I need you to...." "But Louie started
it." "I need you to ...."

Limit setting acts are the preferred thing for the teacher to do to stop misbehavior...only use
the negative consequences when limit setting isn't working or when the act is


Positive consequences, as used here are typically attached to specific, individual behaviors,
e.g., when an individual gives a correct response, you praise the answer. Preferred Activity
Time [PAT] is given as a result of accumulated positive class behavior over a period of time.
Some of the following could be utilized as positive consequences for individual or class acts
as well as being on the list of preferred activities to be chosen by the class when "Preferred
Activity Time Friday" comes.

• Movies, videos
• Music [It is suggested that the teacher list the music from which the class will choose
and control the sound level. A heavy beat/vocals tend to interfere with seat work.]
• Teacher reads aloud
• Guest speaker/presentation
• Field trips
• Computer time
• "Great Kid" note
• Positive letter home
• Contest
• Free reading
• Variety box of games in content area, e.g., Trivial Pursuit
• baseball (the in-class game in which one team's pitcher "pitches" questions to the other
team's batter)

• No homework [if goal has been met in class]

• awards given at ceremony
• Positive personal award
• Games of lower organization
• Two class competition
• Class discussion of topic of their choice
• Pizza or Popcorn [easy on the butter and salt]
• Raffle tickets for privileges, prizes
• Work on puzzles [note: this kind of activity can have a curricular value and still be
• Open microphone
• Draw a mural
• Free labs
• Spelling bee
• Make posters
• Career investigation
• Class party [parties don't work out when every class does it...like on the last day of
• Free writing
• Sing-a-long with or without instruments
• Planning a class project
• Team prize
• Strokes [verbal, written]




Happy Gram to Parent/Student

Recognition in daily bulletin


Pat on back

Display work

Standing ovation

Round of applause

Encouraging words


Library pass

Free time

Choice of where to sit

Use of lab equipment

Allow to do special experiment

Computer time

No weekend homework

Choice of music

Early to lunch

Tangible Rewards

Snacks/soft drinks in room

Free pass to event

Video treat

Bonus points

Video game tokens

Extra credit

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In-class detention [note: student must be permitted to eat lunch; if after school, need to notify
office, notify parent, and/or arrange for child to be picked up if missing the bus.]

Send to room 12 [you and another teacher have agreed to park the other's problems...a visiting
"non person" may return when assignment is completed.]

Parent attends class with miscreant by mutual agreement

Tape recorder "so I can play it when your mother asks what you've been up to."

Contract [between teacher and pupil]

Ten laps/essay [do you want to equate school work with punishment?]

Isolation [be careful about parking child in the hallway...it gets to be great fun when several
are there from different classes; your supervision responsibility is in jeopardy; check to see if
there is a school rule aboutthis. May be o.k. if, "John, I want you to wait for me outside the
door, I'll be there as soon as I get the class started...."]

Restrict activity

Name on the board, check marks [lunch-time/after school detention]

Phone parents

Send letter home [see sample following this section]

Give minus points/demerits [this only works if you have a way to earn points/merits]

Cease activity students want

Take time away from PAT [not usually advisable unless you typically give liberally as well as
take away]

Lose lab points

Lose a privilege

Time out

Stop the lesson [Lee Canter says you should always stop and deal with interruptions;
however, limit-setting acts may be used without interruption of the lesson.]

Solitary time

Restrict student to chair

Extra work [do you wish to equate school work with punishment?]

Have student apologize to teacher and class [only if student has agreed to do so privately
beforehand and if there is reason to believe that the student intends to follow through.]

Clean room

Charge a fee [may not be legal; check this out before announcing it.]


[Requires help from others to carry out]

Saturday school clean-up

Referral to office

Detention [school-wide plan]

Student-Parent-Teacher-Administrator/counselor conference [usually terminates with a


Deliver student to parent

In-school suspension

Suspension in office

Suspend from class [teacher can do this for one day...check school policy on
notification...administrator can suspend for longer period.]

Suspend from school [only administrator can]

Expulsion [only school board can]

Note: Police and court actions may be used if indicated by the crime. A school attendance
review board [SARB] may be used if appropriate.

A Sample Letter Home



Arcata, CA 95521

October xx, 199x

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith:

Your son, Bill, talks to the people sitting near him in his U.S. History class so much that it
interferes with his learning and with their learning.

I have talked with him about it, but the problem persists.

I have attached a copy of the class discipline plan to this letter for your convenience. As you
can see, the next step is for me to notify you.

If Bill continues to disrupt the class, the next step is suspension from this class for one period
and referral to the office.

From our earlier conversation, I know you have high hopes for Bill. I need your help now.
Please discuss this with Bill. I am sure that we can bring about a change if we work together.
If you have any questions, please call me at 000-0000 between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon, my
preparation period, or call me at home between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. at 111-1111.

Please sign below and ask Bill to return this to me so that I will know that you received the


Eric Q. Teacher

cc: Bill Smith

Continue to the Discipline Plan form and a summary of the elements of effective classroom

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