Question 082

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To: Jane Nelsen


Our K-4 elementary school punishes minor infractions with detention. This has come to, for some teachers, standing facing the wall at recess from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the seriousness or number of infractions. Many parents have requested a more constructive method of discipline. Any suggestions?

Hearing stories like yours breaks my heart--and helps me realize that my work is not done. Of course, I have many suggestions--whole books full of them. Have you seen Positive Discipline in the Classroom and Positive Discipline: A Teacher's A-Z Guide? The first book focuses on class meetings and getting students involved in finding solutions for problems instead of using punishment. Punishment makes kids pay for what they have done, but does not help them do better (of if they do better it is out of fear instead of an internal locus of control). Class meetings can eliminate most discipline problems, but that is only a fringe benefit. The main benefit is that kids learn important life skills such as communication skills, problem-solving skills, respect for others, and cooperation.

In the second book, we have taken over 100 common problems experienced by teachers,from gum chewing to gangs, and give hundreds of nonpunitive suggestions. Punishment is so archaic, I can hardly believe it is still being done. Seeing every problem as an opportunity for learning makes more sense.

Please call 1-800-456-7770 to receive a free catalog and information about our workshops in "Positive Discipline in the Classroom." The parents would also enjoy our two-day workshop on "Teaching Parenting the Positive Discipline Way."

My best to you,

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