Discipline Through Careful Teacher Guidance and Instruction RONALD MORRISH WWW.REALDISCIPLINE.COM Mark Neves, Rochelle Reynolds, Nicole Girardin Elias Biography Ronald Morrish was a teacher and a behaviour specialist in Canada for 26 years before becoming a consultant. He has authored three books, Secrets of Discipline (1997), where he discusses 12 key ways to raising responsible children without engaging in deal making. With all Due Respect (2000) focussed on Improving teachers discipline issues and Flip Tips (2003) a mini book with discipline tips Real Discipline teaches students right from wrong and expects students to comply with authority, then encourages them to make choices when they are mature and experienced. Morrish Discipline Gone Wrong Assigns much of the responsibility on how society allows students too many choices about how the conduct their behaviour. This approach failed for three reasons: It does not demand proper behaviour It requires teachers to bargain and negotiate to get students to cooperate It doesn’t teach students how they are expected to behave Focus on behaviour management rather than real discipline. Both are needed but management is about making the learning environment functional, keeping students on task and minimizing disruptions. Real Discipline teaches student how to behave properly. Real Discipline Not a new theory but an organized set of techniques teachers and parents have used over the years that teaches students to be respectful, responsible and cooperative. Many children are over indulged and very self centered, concerned with their needs. We as a society have stressed individual rights but have not focused a lot personal responsibility. They should have choice but only when they are prepared to deal with those choices. Before they can make choices they must have a degree of compliance and respect for authority. Some Flip Tips Discipline is a process not an event. Discipline is about giving students the structure they need, not the consequences they seem to deserve. Discipline isn’t about letting students make their own choices. It’s about preparing them for the choices they will be making. Don’t let students makes choices that are not theirs to make. The best time to teach behaviour is when it’s not needed, so it will be there when needed. Discipline should end with the correct behaviour not with a punishment. Real Discipline’s Three-Phase Approach Training, Teaching and Managing Training and Compliance Compliance should be trained as a non-thinking activity, you don’t have choice. It is taught through direct instruction and close supervision, small things count, address all behaviour. Teach students to comply with rules, limits and authority, rules indicate how student are to behave. Authority refers to the power that has been assigned to a certain individual. Teachers should use their authority to set limits. Rules and Compliance Teachers need to make the rules, teach why we have the rules Don’t make rules you can’t enforce, be consistent, insistence is best strategy Limits and Compliance Limits are set by teachers, no negotiation. If limits are broken set time to discuss. Your word is final Limits are compromised by bargaining Authority and Compliance Teachers fear that automatic compliance will make their students passive and submissive and unable to think for themselves. More balance between teacher and student choice Authority comes from knowing our job, setting limits, choice words. Clearly communicate without threatening or raising voice this is what you must do “It is my job.” “If you bargain for compliance now. You will beg for it later.” Phase 2, Teaching Students How to Behave Teaching the students the skills, attitudes and knowledge needed to cooperation, proper behaviour and increased responsibility. Teach rules through explanation, demonstration, practice and corrective feedback. Phase 3, Managing Student Choice Choice Management A movement towards independence, students must take into account the needs of others. As a rule of thumb if students don’t care about the outcome of a particular goal they should not be allowed choice about it. Planning the Discipline Program Should be proactive, should anticipate problems. 11 Steps 1. Decide how you want students to behave 2. Design the supporting structure 3. Establish a threshold for behaviour at school 4. Run a two-week training camp 5. Teach students how to behave appropriately Ten things that should be taught; courtesy, how to treat a sub, conflict prevention, self-discipline, concentration, solution focussed, thinking about others, perseverance, being a good role model, being a good ambassador for class and school 6. Set stage for quality instruction 7. Provide active and assistive supervision 8. Enforcing rules and expectations 9. A Focus on prevention 10. Set high standards 11. Treat parents as partners Developing Teacher Student Relationship The single most important factor in classroom discipline Focus on Positive Wipe slate clean after mistakes Don’t back away from discipline Lead the way Never use humiliation to correct behaviour Don’t accept mediocrity Consequences in Real Discipline Consequences should show students how to behave properly Compensation something positive for negative behaviour Letter writing Improvement plan Teach younger students When Students Fail to Comply Insist on a do-over, have students repeated the behaviour in an acceptable manner, most power full tool is insistence. Moving to Real Discipline It takes time and there are no short cuts Initiating Real Discipline in the classroom Communicate to students Explain duties, explain their roles, project a friendly authority, introduce rules thoroughly, tell them about insistence, and direct teach. Discussion In small groups, discuss one of the following questions. Each group will be given one specific question, but feel free to move onto others if time permits. Each group will be responsible to have someone report back to the larger group. Discussion 1. Ronald Morrish makes some interesting points about student choice. For example, the teacher should set the rules, not the class. Describe a situation where you would agree with Morrish and this idea would work. 2. “Discipline is about giving children what they need, not what they deserve.” Discuss this quote used by Ronald Morrish. Do you agree? 3. Does your school use a code of conduct? How is it implemented? Were students involved in the development of it? Is it effective? 4. Given the following situation, explain how Morrish would deal with it. How would you? Lucy does not really like Julie and often makes rude comments towards her. Julie has had enough of this and yells at Lucy in the middle of class. Limitations and Oversights #1-Ronald Morrish appears to have invented his approach at a time when inclusion was not at the forefront of public education (back in the 1970's and 80's). In Building Classroom Discipline, we learn that the basic underlying message is, “This is what you must do. This is the job you are here for. Now let's get on with it”. One has to wonder if he was keeping in mind students with -ADHD -Oppositional Defiant Disorder (who often don't have trust in adults or authority) -Anxiety -Depression -Autism -Post-traumatic Stress Disorder -Learning disabilities #2-The school principal or administrator would have to be 100% on-board with this system. For example, Morrish believes that the teacher always has the final word and that students have no choice but to do as the teacher instructs. While this is a very simple and sound philosophy, the school principal would have to be behind this approach so that negotiating does not occur and the teacher does not lose his or her power. #3-This is in contradiction to Ross Greene (Ph.D) and his approach knows as “collaborative problem-solving” (or CPS for short) In collaborative problem-solving, the following 3-point approach is always used when a problem occurs: The student and adult bring forth their concerns Together, they brainstorm possible solutions to the problem. The phrase, “this doesn't work for me” is used often when the adult does not like the student's behaviour or choice”. They come up with a solution that works for both the adult and student. They try out the solution and review it together some time later. In his book, Lost at School Greene would argue that the reason we are seeing so many problems is due to the fact that students who exhibit behaviour problems often have what is called “lagging skills”. A lagging skill is basically a skill that one does not yet possess. This could include: difficulty handling transitions difficulty seeing how one is coming across to others difficulty seeking attention in appropriate ways difficulty managing an appropriate response to frustration Greene would argue that these are all skills that can be taught and result due to a lack of executive functioning in the brain. He believes that by teaching problemsolving skills, students will be equipped to deal with similar situations when they arise in the future and they will come to rely less and less on adult intervention. Greene believes that this is basically an invisible disability and students are not choosing to act out or be selfish. What this means for Real Discipline is that if an adult is consistently just reminding students what the rules are and what needs to be done, the same explosive behaviour will occur again and again with no improvement. #4-Do Morrish's “consequences” really work? What is the research on this? Morrish believes that it can be necessary to use consequences. He believes in: -compensation (doing something positive to make up for negative behaviour) -letter writing (writing a letter to the person who was offended) -creating an improvement plan (a plan for handling the situation better next time) How many teachers though have implemented the 'letter writing system' or 'compensation plan' system only to have the student do something along similar lines a few days later? Do these systems really work in 'fixing' these behaviour problems? References Charles, C.M. (2011). Building Classroom Discipline (10th ed). Toronto: Pearson. Greene, Ross W (2008). Lost at School. New York City, USA: Simon and Schuster Morrish, Ronald. (2000). With All Due Respect. Fonthill: Woodstream Publishing. Morrish, Ronald. (1998). Secrets of Discipline. Fonthill: Woodstream Publishing.