Positive Discipline in Middle and High Schools

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Question:

I need examples of ways to use Positive Discipline in the classroom with middle school students. I have 6 periods each day, with 43 minutes each (ridiculous). Class meetings and other strategies need to be applicable for me in that context. Elementary school teachers ways of implementing strategies often don't work because of the revolving door/time problem. Which of your products would help me best?
 

Answer:

I think you would find the book Positive Discipline in the Classroom very helpful. It was written for Elementary through High School teachers. The way some teachers have dealt with the logistics you discuss is to have class meetings every day or every other day for the last 10 minutes of the period. I will share one story that is included in the above mentioned book. An seventh grade teacher was concerned about toothpick chewing. She had scolded, pleaded, nagged. Nothing had worked. Finally she put in on the class meeting agenda as "her problem" and asked for their help. The kids brainstormed, but didn't come to a consensus in the 10 minutes allotted for class meetings in the first or second day. The third day the teacher said, "We still haven't found a solution to toothpick chewing." One student remarked, "Have you seen anyone chewing toothpicks lately." The teacher thought about it and replied, "Come to think of it, I haven't." The student said, "Well, maybe the problem has been solved." Amazed, the teacher said, "Well, maybe it has." We include this story for several reasons. One is to show how much can be accomplished in creating an atmosphere of respect and cooperation just because the kids are involved in regular class meetings. Another is to show that even 10 minutes a day can work. It is the process that provides the greater benefit -- and the solutions are a great fringe benefit.

The last reason is to show that even one teacher can implement class meetings even if the rest of the faculty doesn't. In some Middle and High Schools, when the whole staff decides to implement Positive Discipline in the Classroom, they rotate class meetings. The math teacher may do them on Mondays, Science on Tuesdays, English on Wednesdays, etc. The whole point is that Positive Discipline is respectful, it teaches students valuable life skills, and it creates an atmosphere of caring. Following is one more story from the book, Positive Discipline in the Classroom:

Earl Lesk provides example of the power of caring through class meetings. Mr. Lesk, a high school teacher, decided to initiate regular class meetings in his eleventh and twelfth grade biology classes. He asked his students if they would like to participate, and they said yes. One eleventh-grade student, who'd had difficulty in all aspects of the course but finished the semester successfully, summed up the class's feelings: "By using encouragement and by not forcing people to do things, the class became more independent and cooperative, which allowed us to use our own initiative to put forth a good effort." These teachers and schools have incorporated class meetings with excellent results. They are just a few of the many who have experienced tremendous success by starting class meetings. If a teacher is willing to learn a process that teaches students many valuable skills, that teacher's job often becomes easier and more fun. Helping students experience caring, belonging, and significance is the most powerful thing a teacher can do, motivating them to fulfill their highest potential, academically and otherwise.

I hope this helps,