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Home : 2003 : Jul : 16

    By Lisa

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    I would definitely recommend reading punished by rewards and Beyond Discipline: From compliance to community by Alfie Kohn. What you need to keep in mind with this approach is that it deals with what children need instead of what we can do to kids to get them to behave. It's about making sure our classrooms are developmentally appropriate - and having appropriate expectations for the children we teach. If you are teaching younger grades, definitely read Developmentally Appropriate Practices by Sue Bredkemap and carol Copple. It helps having appropriate expectations of children - knowing what to expect and what is normal behavior.

    I personally do not believe in time out - as the chair/punishment thing. In the past I've used it, when I first started out, but then I learned more about how children learn and what is appropriate at each age. I realized that sitting in a chair taught the child nothing. I needed to teach children how to behave appropriately. I think that children need to be separated from the group occasionally if they are extremely out of control or going to hurt themselvs or another. But i look at this as giving the child what the need - an opportunity to calm the child down in order to deal with the anger and situation that provoked the outburst.

    This approach would look at the child who is constantly moving and fidgeting as 'what does that child need' maybe that child needs time to move - or to be able to doodle while the teacher is talking, or less teacher directed time and more choice, child-directed, and collaborative experiences. It might also mean that the child needs the teacher nearby to help him focus. Or the child has something to help him focus. For example, I had a learning support student in second grade who had a difficult time focusing on his reading. I glued an eyeball to a popsicle stick and he used it to keep his place when he read. For younger students, I brought in big carboard boxes. they decorated them and when they needed to work independently, - they went inside the box with no distraction. You were only allowed to stay inside the box if you were working hard. Again - it depends on the kid and situation - but it's looking at what the child needs, rather than what can be done to the child. Good luck

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