Q. Is there any teaching style (i.e. cooperative classroom vs. traditional teacher centered classroom) that is more conducive to a disciplined class when students are lower level and are lacking in the basic social skills? If you feel that one is better than the other, will you please give a reason for this.
Thank you for your input here. This idea is one that is important to me and the students in my Encouraging Student Discipline and Responsibility class.
A. I have written two books that answer your question, but let me see if I can put it in a nutshell. A cooperative classroom (Positive Discipline in The Classroom focuses on class meetings) is the only way to truly help students who are lower level and are lacking in the basic social skills. When a classroom is teacher centered, students are passive recipients of the teachers knowledge. They are later expected to regurgitate what they have learned on meaningless tests -- that they will forget within days. This is not education. Education comes from the Latin (or Greek) word, educare, which means to draw forth. Education does not happen when we try to "stuff in."
During class meetings kids learn social skills. They learn to listen and respect differences. They learn to brainstorm for solutions that are helpful (not punitive). Since they are involved in the process they are more willing to follow rules they have helped create.
I hope you will check out our Positive Discipline in the Classroom workshop. Not only can teachers eliminate most discipline problems, but they can help children learn self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation, and problem-solving skills. You might also enjoy our book, Positive Discipline: A Teacher's A-Z Guide.
My best to you,