Discipline and behavioral management by teachers in schools

Difference between discipline and punishment

Discipline, punishment and reprimand all serve to restore ethics and good morals amongst students in schools.

Punishment is used for control and retribution since students do not commit crimes there mistakes warrant for simple corrective disciplinary action in response.

Discipline enlightens students about actions that violate social ethics.

Teachers should therefore understand the pros and cons of using punishment in classrooms.

They should therefore design plans to help manage student’s behaviors.

Punishment takes a variety of forms.

The common form is physical punishment.

This can be, pulling of ears, pinching or any other form that intends to inflict minimal physical pain towards the students.

Though the techniques mentioned above are not advocated for by majority in the education sector.

Such methods of punishment have been found to may cause physical harm to students.

The other form is public humiliation; in this case the students may be embarrassed since a student is showcased in a dishonoring manner.

What to consider before punishing a student

Before dispensing punishment upon students, teachers need to consider many things before settling on a punishment technique.

The most important factor to consider is the behavioral problems.

Students do have varying behaviors.

There behaviors maybe are maybe at times not be under their control.

Some students have behavioral problems as a result of them not having certain skills.

For example some students may have chronic illnesses that may alter their participation in class activities .It is not advisable to punish such students for behaviors that they do not have control over.

Strong forms of punishment such isolation may have adverse effects on students.

For instance student’s self esteem maybe lowered if isolation is used on them.

Teachers must understand that students possess different personalities which greatly depend on how they are treated by their peers or elders.

Isolation should therefore be rarely used as a form of punishment but instead be used only when other less aggressive behavioral management techniques have failed to work on a particular student.

Why teachers need to avoid group punishment

In some cases teachers, may find it difficult identity students who make mistakes within groups.

For example if a students shouts while in class, then the student don’t own up for the mistake.

It would be more difficult to identify the student if the rest of the students fail to mention indiscipline student.

Majority of teachers would opt for group punishment.

It is without doubt that group punishment can be devastating to students who stick to rules.

In certain situations teachers focus on stopping misbehavior instead of giving thought to students who are disciplined.


is not advisable to make an assumption that when a part of a group of faults then the whole group is accountable for the mistake and that they have to suffer the consequences.

It is good to state the consequences in advance instead of later acting later out of anger.


Handling the side effects of punishment

Punishment sometimes is accompanied by notable side effects.

The side effects may be positive or negative.

Positive side effects are a good indication that the behavioral management programme is effective when the outcome of punishment is accompanied with negative side effects then the teachers need to relook at the technique or substitute as earlier recommended.

Students may become prone to these punishments and therefore the desired results may not may not be achieved.

In such cases the teachers are advised not to depend on solely punishment to straighten the student’s morals.

A form of punishment called response cost.

In this case students have their rewards, privileges, tokens or other positive reinforcement withdrawn from them.

An example of cost responsive is, a teacher may decide to designs score cards or stickers which are awarded to students for their good conduct .when misconduct is noted from the students then the score cards or stickers are withdrawn from the culprit.

Such techniques have been found to be effective in behavior management in classrooms.

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