School Improvement Research Series
Research You Can Use
Schoolwide and Classroom Discipline
During most of its twenty-two year existence, the Annual Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools has identified "lack of discipline" as the most serious problem facing the nation's educational system.
Many educators and students are also gravely concerned about disorder and danger in school environments, and with good reason: Each month approximately three percent of teachers and students in urban schools, and one to two percent in rural schools, are robbed or physically attacked. Nearly 17,000 students per month experience physical injuries serious enough to require medical attention (Harvard Education Letter 1987).
School personnel, students, and parents call attention to the high incidence of related problems in school environments--problems such as drug use, cheating, insubordination, truancy, and intimidation--which result in countless school and classroom disruptions and lead to nearly two million suspensions per year (Harvard Education Letter 1987).
In addition to these school discipline issues, American classrooms are frequently plagued by other, more minor kinds of misbehavior which disrupt the flow of classroom activities and interfere with learning. Approximately one-half of all classroom time is taken up with activities other than instruction, and discipline problems are responsible for a significant portion of this lost instructional time (Cotton 1990).
At the same time, however, there are many schools which, regardless of their size, socioeconomic influences, student composition, or geographic setting, have safe and orderly classrooms and grounds. As the research literature makes clear, these welldisciplined, smooth-running school environments are not the product of chance. This report offers a synthesis of findings from research studies which have identified effective classroom- and school-level disciplinary practices.
Is "discipline" concerned with preventing misconduct or with punishing it? The word, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, refers to both prevention and remediation. It can be "training that is expected to produce a specified character or pattern of behavior" or "controlled behavior resulting from such training"; but it can also be "punishment intended to correct or train." Educational researchers have examined both the prevention and the remediation aspects of school and classroom discipline, and thus findings about both are cited in this report.
Jones (1979) says that "discipline, most simply stated, is the business of enforcing simple classroom rules that facilitate learning and minimize disruption" (p. 26). Variations on this definition are offered by Duke (1989), Gettinger (1987), Strother (1985), and many others. Researcher William Wayson notes that some educators view disciplinary activities as irritating intrusions into school life which should not be necessary. Wayson disagrees, regarding these activities as a natural part of the educational process, and quotes educator James Hymes, who defines discipline as:
...the slow, bit-by-bit, time-consuming task of helping children to see the sense in acting in a certain way.
Whatever their exact definition, most researchers and writers seem to agree that nowhere is it more true that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" than in disciplining young people in educational settings.
THE RESEARCH ON DISCIPLINE PRACTICES
Findings cited in this report are drawn from the 60 documents listed in the "Key References" section of the bibliography. These are research documents revealing relationships between disciplinary practices and student behavioral outcomes. Of these, 27 are studies, 30 are reviews, and 3 report findings from both studies and reviews. Thirty-five of the reports are concerned with classroom-level discipline, 14 with schoolwide discipline, 5 with both, and 6 with related subjects, such as home-based reinforcement and corporal punishment.
Looking at the subjects of the research, 33 reports are concerned with students in general, 10 with elementary students, and 17 with secondary students. Teachers, as well as students, are the subjects of 13 of the analyses. Most of the research was conducted with American students, but English, Scottish, Australian, Norwegian, and New Zealand students are also represented.
It is important to note that this review does not encompass the literature on disciplining special education students in either self-contained or mainstreamed settings. The disciplinary practices used with this special population--and the issues involved in applying them--are quite different from those involved in disciplining regular education students, and discussion of these is outside the scope of this report.
The kinds of "treatments" applied in the research include an array of classroom management practices, policy structure, specific programs (such as Assertive Discipline and Positive Approach to Discipline), counseling programs, the teaching of prosocial behavior, behavioral reinforcement practices, training in classroom management, cooperative learning, peer tutoring, corporal punishment, and in- or out-of-school suspension.
The outcome areas of interest to researchers in these analyses include the incidence of on-task behavior, off-task behavior, misbehavior/disruption, delinquency, drug use, suspension, referrals, expulsion, dropouts, attendance, attitudes (toward school, self-as-learner, and school "robustness"), and prosocial behavior (such as helping others and practicing self-discipline).
In addition to the research references, the 17 items cited in the "Other References" section of the bibliography offer descriptions of different philosophies of school discipline, information on the incidence of use of various disciplinary practices, discipline program descriptions, guidelines for implementation, and related matters.
Findings about discipline practices and their effects are detailed below.
Preventive Discipline Practices
When the unit of analysis is the entire school, researchers have most often conducted comparative studies of well-disciplined and poorly disciplined schools to identify critical differences in discipline practices. From this research has emerged a list of elements commonly found in safe, orderly, well-managed schools. The following components of preventive discipline are identified in the work of Duke (1989); Lasley and Wayson (1982); Short (1988); Smedley and Willower (1981); Stallings and Mohlman (1981); Wayson, et al. (1982); and Wayson and Lasley (1984):
- Commitment, on the part of all staff, to establishing and maintaining appropriate student behavior as an essential precondition of learning. Well-disciplined schools tend to be those in which there is a schoolwide emphasis on the importance of learning and intolerance of conditions which inhibit learning.
- High behavioral expectations. In contrast to poorly disciplined schools, staff in well-disciplined schools share and communicate high expectations for appropriate student behavior.
- Clear and broad-based rules. Rules, sanctions, and procedures are developed with input from students, are clearly specified, and are made known to everyone in the school. Researchers have found that student participation in developing and reviewing school discipline programs creates a sense of ownership and belongingness. Widespread dissemination of clearly stated rules and procedures, moreover, assures that all students and staff understand what is and is not acceptable.
- Warm school climate. A warm social climate, characterized by a concern for students as individuals, is typical of well-disciplined schools. Teachers and administrators take an interest in the personal goals, achievements, and problems of students and support them in their academic and extracurricular activities.
- A visible, supportive principal. Many poorly disciplined schools have principals who are visible only for "official" duties such as assemblies or when enforcing school discipline. In contrast, principals of well-disciplined schools tend to be very visible in hallways and classrooms, talking informally with teachers and students, speaking to them by name, and expressing interest in their activities.
- Delegation of discipline authority to teachers. Principals in well-disciplined schools take responsibility for dealing with serious infractions, but they hold teachers responsible for handling routine classroom discipline problems. They assist teachers to improve their classroom management and discipline skills by arranging for staff development activities as needed.
- Close ties with communities. Researchers have generally found that well-disciplined schools are those which have a high level of communication and partnership with the communities they serve. These schools have a higher-than-average incidence of parent involvement in school functions, and communities are kept informed of school goals and activities.
Duke (1989) writes:
...what is known about the organization of orderly schools is that they are characterized by commitment to appropriate student behavior and clear behavior expectations for students. Rules, sanctions, and procedures are discussed, debated, and frequently formalized into school discipline and classroom management plans. To balance this emphasis on formal procedure, the climate in these organizations conveys concern for students as individuals. This concern manifests itself in a variety of ways, including efforts to involve students in school decision-making, school goals that recognize multiple forms of student achievement, and de-emphasis on homogeneous grouping. (p. 47)
Short (1988) underscores these findings:
Research on well-disciplined schools indicates that a student-centered environment, incorporating teacherstudent problem solving activities, as well as
activities to promote student self-esteem and belongingness is more effective in reducing behavior problems than punishment. (p. 3)
Finally, Wayson and Lasley (1984) note that, in welldisciplined schools:
...rather than rely on power and enforce punitive models of behavior control, [staff] share decision making power widely and so maintain a school climate in which everyone wants to achieve self-discipline. (p. 421)
Enforcing School Rules
Yet, even in school environments with excellent preventive discipline, problems still arise and must be addressed. Of the many practices in use, which ones have researchers identified as effective in remediating school discipline problems? Not surprisingly, the answer depends on the severity of the problems. For the discipline issues faced by most schools, research supports the use of the following practices, many of which are applicable at either the schoolwide or classroom levels:
- Punishment, in some forms. Researchers (Cotton and Savard 1982, Docking 1982) have found punishment to be an effective method of remediating individual misbehavior and therefore improving school order if the punishment is:
- Commensurate with the offense committed. Draconian punishments are ineffective, as discussed further on.
- Perceived by the student as punishment. Punishments can sometimes be too light--or even unintentionally reinforcing to students. Effective, frequently used punishments include depriving students of privileges, mobility, or the company of friends.
- Delivered with support. Students often need encouragement to improve their behavior and assistance in learning how to do so.
- Counseling. Counseling services for misbehaving students are based on the assumption that target students lack insight and understanding regarding their own misbehavior. Positive outcomes have been noted by researchers as a result of:
...observing and interviewing students to determine their awareness of their troublesome behavior and the meanings that it holds for them, providing information and instruction when necessary, setting needed limits, and insisting that students assume personal responsibility for their behavior and its consequences. (Brophy 1983, p. 192)
- In-school suspension. In-school suspension programs which include guidance, support, planning for change, and opportunities to build new skills have been demonstrated to be effective in improving individual student behavior and thus increasing school order (Allen 1981; Cotton and Savard 1982; Doyle 1989; Miller 1986).
- Contingency contracting. Research supports the cooperative development and use of contingency contracts, which specify the sanctions students will face if they do not behave in accordance with the terms of the contract (Allen 1981; Cotton and Savard 1982).
- Home-based reinforcement. Structures in which students are given rewards (e.g., verbal, tangible, or privileges) and sanctions (e.g., loss of privileges, such as television time, snacks, or later bedtime) at home, based on their behavior at school, have been shown to improve student behavior (Atkeson and Forehand 1979; Leach and Byrne 1986).
Researchers have also looked at school environments which are so fraught with disorder and danger that more broad-based approaches are called for to bring about real improvements in the school environment. In such settings, researchers have found the following strategies to be effective:
- Organizational development approach. Gottfredson (1988, 1989) and Gottfredson, Karweit, and Gottfredson (1989) have conducted several research projects in which instructional and discipline programs were restructured, resulting in significant improvements in student behavioral and academic outcomes. In these projects:
- School teams were established to carry out improvement projects.
- Curriculum and discipline policy review and revision were conducted, with input from all groups within the school, including students.
- Academic innovations such as study skills instruction and cooperative team learning were implemented.
- Climate innovations, such as school pride campaigns and expanded extracurricular activities, were instituted.
- Career-oriented innovations, such as career exploration programs and job-seeking skills programs, were added to the curriculum.
- Special services, such as counseling and monitoring of improvements, were provided to target students identified as having serious problems.
- Increasing parent involvement. Gottfredson (1988, 1989) and others have found that increasing parent involvement is a critical element in improving order in troubled schools.
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT AND DISCIPLINE
Preventing Classroom Discipline Problems
In 1970 J. S. Kounin wrote and published a now-famous book titled Discipline and Group Management in Classrooms. Results of studies from the kindergarten to university levels were presented, with Kounin focusing particularly on findings from an observational study of 80 elementary classrooms. Undertaken to identify strategies and processes used in effectively and ineffectively managed classrooms, this study produced findings which have consistently received validation from later researchers.
Defining effective managers as those teachers whose classrooms were orderly, had a minimum of student misbehavior, and had high levels of time-on-task, and ineffective managers as those whose classrooms lacked these qualities, Kounin found that effective and ineffective managers did not differ greatly in their methods for dealing with disruption. Instead, effective managers were found to be much more skilled at preventing disruptions from occurring in the first place. Kounin went on to identify the specific behaviors these effective managers engaged in to keep students focused on learning and to reduce the likelihood of classroom disruption. These included:
- "Withitness"--the teacher communicating to the children by his/her behavior that he/she knows what the students are doing and what is going on in the classroom
- Overlapping--attending to different events simultaneously, without being totally diverted by a disruption or other activity
- Smoothness and momentum in lessons--conducting smooth and brisk pacing and providing continuous activity signals or cues (such as standing near inattentive students or directing questions to potentially disruptive students)
- Group alerting--attempting to involve nonreciting children in recitation tasks and keeping all students "alerted" to the task at hand
- Stimulating seatwork--providing students seatwork activities that have variety and offer challenge.
Research conducted during the past twenty years has underscored Kounin's findings and elaborated them into a more detailed list of behaviors comprising effective classroom management. The following validated practices are identified in the work of Bowman (1983); Brophy (1983, 1986); CEDaR/PDK (1985); Cotton and Savard (1982); Docking (1982); Doyle (1989); Emmer (1982); Emmer and Evertson (1981); Emmer, et al. (1983); Evertson (1985, 1989); Evertson, et al. (1983); Gettinger (1988); Gottfredson, Karweit, and Gottfredson (1989); Luke (1989); Moskowitz and Hayman (1976); Ornstein and Levine (1981); Sanford and Evertson (1981); Strother (1985); and Weber (1983):
- Holding and communicating high expectations for student learning and behavior. Through the personal warmth and encouragement they express to students and the classroom requirements they establish, effective manager/teachers make sure that students know they are expected to learn well and behave appropriately.
- Establishing and clearly teaching classroom rules and procedures. Effective managers teach behavioral rules and classroom routines in much the same way as they teach instructional content, and they review these frequently at the beginning of the school year and periodically thereafter. Classroom rules are posted in elementary classrooms.
- Specifying consequences and their relation to student behavior. Effective managers are careful to explain the connection between students' misbehavior and teacher-imposed sanctions. This connection, too, is taught and reviewed as needed.
- Enforcing classroom rules promptly, consistently, and equitably. Effective managers respond quickly to misbehavior, respond in the same way at different times, and impose consistent sanctions regardless of the gender, race, or other personal characteristics of misbehaving students.
- Sharing with students the responsibility for classroom management. Effective managers work to inculcate in students a sense of belonging and selfdiscipline, rather than viewing discipline as something imposed from the outside.
- Maintaining a brisk pace for instruction and making smooth transitions between activities. Effective managers keep things moving in their classrooms, which increases learning as well as reducing the likelihood of misbehavior.
- Monitoring classroom activities and providing feedback and reinforcement. Effective managers observe and comment on student behavior, and they reinforce appropriate behavior through the provision of verbal, symbolic, and tangible rewards.
In addition to this general, strongly supported list of practices associated with well-disciplined classrooms, researchers have identified other approaches which are effective in establishing and maintaining positive, orderly classroom environments.
For example, engaging in misbehavior is sometimes a response to academic failure, and some researchers and reviewers (e.g., Allen 1981; Cotton and Savard 1982; Gettinger 1988; and Lasley and Wayson 1982) have noted improvements in classroom order when marginal students are provided opportunities to experience academic and social success.
Anderson and Prawat (1983) and others have noted that many students simply do not perceive a connection between their level of effort and the academic or behavioral outcomes they experience. These students have what psychologists call an "external locus of control," and do not believe in their own ability to influence events. Nor, oftentimes, do they have the skills to identify inappropriate behavior and move from inappropriate to appropriate behavior. Researchers have observed behavioral improvements in settings where students are taught to attribute their success or failure to their personal effort, and in which they (1) learn to check their own behavior and judge its appropriateness; (2) talk themselves through a task, using detailed, step-by-step instructions; and (3) learn and apply problem-solving steps when confronting classroom issues.
Brophy (1983), Gottfredson (1986, 1988), and others have also noted that the use of cooperative learning structures can increase student task engagement, acquaint students with the benefits of working together, and ease the tensions that sometimes arise among racial/ethnic groups--all of which are related to reductions in the incidence of misbehavior.
The work of other researchers (e.g., Ornstein and Levine 1981) has also revealed that it is beneficial for teachers to use humor to hold student interest and reduce classroom tensions and to remove distracting materials, such as athletic equipment or art materials, that encourage inattention or disruption.
Research focused on the beginning-of-the-year behavior of elementary and secondary teachers has shown that the above-mentioned effective management practices produce much more positive outcomes when they are enacted from the very first day of school. Research shows that teachers who are ineffective managers at the beginning of the year find it very difficult to establish and maintain control in their classrooms later on (Emmer 1982; Emmer and Evertson 1980; Evertson, et al. 1983).
Remediating Classroom Discipline Problems
These same researchers, together with Pestello (1989), also found that effective managers intervened more quickly when disruptions occurred than did ineffective managers, and their interventions got results more quickly.
What kinds of interventions for dealing with classroom misconduct are supported by research? Those whose work was consulted in preparation for this report have identified an array of effective approaches, some of which are similar to techniques used to prevent misconduct and, not surprisingly, are also similar to effective discipline practices identified at the schoolwide level:
- Behavior modification approaches. Many researchers (Brophy 1983, 1986; Cobb and Richards 1983; Cotton 1988; Crouch, Gresham, and Wright 1985; Docking 1982; McNamara, Harrop, and Owen 1987; and Moskowitz and Hayman 1976) have identified reinforcement (verbal, symbolic, or tangible) as effective in improving the classroom conduct of misbehaving students. Researchers have found that the provision of reinforcement does not undermine students' intrinsic motivation, provided the reinforcement is contingent on performance and given sparingly.
Another behavior modification technique supported by research is teaching self-control skills (modeling plus teaching self-instruction, self-monitoring, and selfreinforcement) to improve the conduct of misbehaving
students. Brophy (1986) writes:
Contemporary behavior modification approaches involve students more actively in planning and shaping their own behavior through participation in the negotiation of contracts with their teachers and through exposure to training designed to help them to monitor and evaluate their behavior more actively, to learn techniques of self-control and problem solving, and to set goals and reinforce themselves for meeting these goals. (p. 191)
- Group contingencies. The use of structures in which rewards and punishments are meted out to groups based on the behavior of individuals within those groups have been found effective in remediating misbehavior (Brophy 1983, 1986; Luke 1989).
- Prosocial skills training. Training in selfawareness, values clarification, cooperation, and the development of helping skills has been successfully used to improve the behavior of misbehaving students.
- Peer tutoring. Greenwood, Carta, and Hall (1988) and other researchers have found that peer tutoring structures lower the incidence of misbehavior in classrooms. Depending on the situation, students with behavior problems may serve as either tutors or tutees.
TEACHER TRAINING IN CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
Having determined that the use of certain classroom management techniques makes for well-disciplined classroom environments, some researchers have turned their attention to the question of whether significant improvements in classroom discipline could be achieved through the provision of teacher training in these validated techniques. Research on the effects of teacher training includes work by Emmer, et al. (1983); Evertson (1985, 1989); Evertson, et al. (1983); Fitzpatrick and McGreal (1983); Mandlebaum, et al. (1983); and Stallings and Mohlman (1981).
Typically, training programs include learning activities and practice in the areas of:
- Organizing the room and materials
- Developing a workable set of rules and procedures
- Assuring student accountability
- Formulating and explaining consequences
- Planning activities for the first week
- Maintaining the management system
- Increasing instructional clarity
- Organizing instruction
- Adjusting instruction for special groups.
Such training programs have proven very successful in bringing about reductions of discipline problems in the classrooms of participating teachers.
DISCIPLINING DIFFERENT KINDS OF STUDENTS
As previously noted, students need to be taught what constitutes appropriate behavior, what the school and classroom rules are, and how to follow them. Obviously, this will be approached differently, depending upon the age/grade level of the students. Children below the fourth grade require a great deal of instruction and practice in classroom rules and procedures. Brophy (1976) notes:
...effective management, especially in the early grades, is more an instructional than a disciplinary enterprise. Effective managers socialize their students to the student role through instruction and modeling. It is important that these teachers be consistent in articulating demands and monitoring compliance, but the most important thing is to make sure that students know what to do in the first place. (p. 185)
With older students, researchers (e.g., Brophy 1983, 1986; Doyle 1989) have noted that the best results are obtained through vigilantly reminding students about the rules and procedures of the school and classroom and monitoring their compliance with them.
Researchers have also found that, whereas the developmental level of small children is such that they tend to regard all punishment as unfair and undeserved, older students generally do regard punishment for misbehavior as fair and acceptable, provided that the punishment "fits the crime."
Finally, some researchers have observed that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds sometimes need more detailed instruction regarding classroom rules and procedures than other students, in order to insure understanding and compliance. Sanford and Evertson (1981) conclude:
...more and longer attention to orienting students to classroom procedures may be more beneficial in low SES junior highs than in most junior high schools. (p. 38)
SPECIFIC DISCIPLINE PROGRAMS
Many educational program developers have responded to the prevalence of school discipline problems by preparing and marketing packaged programs which purport to bring about reductions in misconduct and consequent increases in school order. Research on the effectiveness of these programs is not plentiful, much of it is technically flawed, and, unfortunately, findings are generally inconclusive. The following overview of programs and research findings should, therefore, be taken as tentative:
- Reality Therapy (RT). William Glasser's Reality Therapy involves teachers helping students make positive choices by making clear the connection between student behavior and consequences. Class meetings, clearly communicated rules, and the use of plans and contracts are featured. Researchers (Emmer and Aussiker 1989; Gottfredson 1989; Hyman and Lally 1982) have noted modest improvements as the result of this approach.
- A Positive Approach to Discipline (PAD). PAD is based on Glasser's Reality Therapy and is grounded in teachers' respect for students and instilling in them a sense of responsibility. Program components include developing and sharing clear rules, providing daily opportunities for success, and in-school suspension for noncompliant students. Research (e.g., Allen, 1981) is generally supportive of the PAD program.
- Teacher Effectiveness Training (TET). The TET philosophy differentiates between teacher-owned and student-owned problems and proposes different strategies for dealing with them. Students are taught problem-solving and negotiation techniques. Researchers (e.g., Emmer and Aussiker 1989) find that teachers like the program and that their behavior is influenced by it, but effects on student behavior are unclear.
- Transactional Analysis (TA). Within the context of counseling programs, students with behavior problems use terminology and exercises from Transactional Analysis to identify issues and make changes. The notion that each person's psyche includes child, adult, and parent components is basic to the TA philosophy. Such research as has been conducted (e.g., Cobb and Richards 1983) has found the TA counseling approach beneficial.
- Assertive Discipline (AD). First publicized and marketed in 1976 by developer Lee Canter, Assertive Discipline is a well-respected and widely used program. According to Render, Padilla, and Krank, over half a million teachers have received AD training (1989, p. 607). AD focuses on the right of the teacher to define and enforce standards for student behavior. Clear expectations, rules, and a penalty system with increasingly serious sanctions are major features. Some research (e.g., Mandlebaum, et al. 1983; McCormack 1987) is supportive, but most is inconclusive about the effectiveness of the AD approach (Emmer and Aussiker 1989; Gottfredson 1989; and Render, Padilla, and Krank 1989).
- Adlerian approaches. Named for psychiatrist Alfred Adler, "Adlerian approaches" is an umbrella term for a variety of methods which emphasize understanding the individual's reasons for maladaptive behavior and helping misbehaving students to alter their behavior, while at the same time finding ways to get their needs met. These approaches have shown some positive effects on self-concept, attitudes, and locus of control, but effects on behavior are inconclusive (Emmer and Aussiker 1989).
- Student Team Learning (STL). Student Team Learning is a cooperative learning structure and, as such, is an instructional rather than a disciplinary strategy. Its use, however, appears to have a positive effect upon the incidence of classroom misbehavior (Gottfredson 1989).
While no one program appears to be the answer to school discipline issues, all of those in the above listing include components which have been validated as effective. As Wayson, et al. (1982) point out in their summary of the discipline practices of effective schools, these schools generally did not use packaged programs; instead, they either developed their own programs or modified commercially available programs to meet the needs of their particular situation.
INEFFECTIVE DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES
Research investigations which have yielded information on effective disciplinary practices have also produced findings about ineffective practices. It is important for educators to be aware of the strategies research has shown to be ineffective, in part because this knowledge can assist them in planning local programs, and in part because, unfortunately, some of these practices continue to be widely used. Ineffective practices include:
- Vague or unenforceable rules. The importance of clear rules becomes obvious when observing, as researchers have, the ineffectiveness of "rules" such as, "be in the right place at the right time" (Doyle 1989; Gottfredson and Gottfredson 1985).
- Teachers ignoring misconduct. Both student behavior and attitudes are adversely affected when teachers ignore violations of school or classroom rules (Emmer 1982; Emmer and Everston 1981; Emmer, et al. 1983; Evertson 1985; Evertson, et al. 1983; Lovegrove, et al. 1983; O'Hagan and Edmunds 1982).
- Ambiguous or inconsistent teacher responses to misbehavior. When teachers are inconsistent in their enforcement of rules, or when they react in inappropriate ways (such as lowering students' grades in response to misbehavior), classroom discipline is generally poor (Gottfredson 1989; Gottfredson and Gottfredson 1985).
- Punishment which is excessive or which is delivered without support or encouragement for improving behavior (Cotton and Savard 1982; Lovegrove, et al. 1983). Among the kinds of punishment that produce particularly negative student attitudes are public punishment (Elliot 1986) and corporal punishment (see below).
- Corporal punishment. Most of the literature on corporal punishment is unrelated to research on effectiveness. As Doyle (1989) points out, most writers either ignore or assume the efficacy of this highly controversial practice, and go on to discuss it from a moral perspective. Writers (e.g., Doyle 1989; Docking 1982) point out, for example, that racial and ethnic minority students receive more corporal punishment in school settings than other students.
Recently, however, more researchers have studied the effectiveness of corporal punishment in reducing misbehavior and have found that, in addition to the moral and psychological arguments against its use, it is indefensible on grounds of efficacy. Researchers (e.g., Docking 1982; Doyle 1989; Maurer and Wallerstein 1984) have found that:
- The results of corporal punishment are unpredictable.
- Even when it is successful at inhibiting inappropriate behavior, corporal punishment still doesn't foster appropriate behavior.
- Corporal punishment is sometimes unintentionally reinforcing, since it brings attention from adults and peers.
- Corporal punishment often creates resentment and hostility, making good working relationships harder to create in the future.
- Corporal punishment is related to undesirable outcomes, such as increased vandalism and dropping out.
- Out-of-school suspension. Once again, minority students are overrepresented in out-of-school suspension rates (Doyle 1989; Slee 1986). Moreover, research does not support the use of out-of-school suspension. As Slee points out, suspension doesn't help the suspended student, nor does it help the other students, because school staff simply get rid of troublesome students rather than changing the school environment in such a way as to prevent/reduce discipline problems.
Finally, as researcher William Wayson underscored during a telephone conversation with the present author, over 90 percent of suspensions occur over behaviors which are more irritating and annoying than truly serious. Wayson noted that discipline policies should be written and enforced in such a way that suspension, if it is used at all, is not used for these less-serious infractions.
SUMMARY: THE RESEARCH PERSPECTIVE ON IMPROVING SCHOOL AND CLASSROOM DISCIPLINE
School personnel seeking to improve the quality of discipline in their schools and classrooms are encouraged to follow the guidelines implicit in the discipline research. These include:
AT THE SCHOOL LEVEL:
- Engage school- and community-wide commitment to establishing and maintaining appropriate student behavior in school and at school-sponsored events.
- Establish and communicate high expectations for student behavior.
- With input from students, develop clear behavioral rules and procedures and make these known to all stakeholders in the school, including parents and community.
- Work on getting to know students as individuals; take an interest in their plans and activities.
- Work to improve communication with and involvement of parents and community members in instruction, extracurricular activities, and governance.
- If commercial, packaged discipline programs are used, modify their components to meet your unique school situation and delete those components which are not congruent with research.
- For the principal:
- Increase your visibility and informal involvement in the everyday life of the school; increase personal interactions with students.
- Encourage teachers to handle all classroom discipline problems that they reasonably can; support their decisions.
- Enhance teachers' skills as classroom managers and disciplinarians by arranging for appropriate staff development activities.
AT THE CLASSROOM LEVEL:
8. Hold and communicate high behavioral expectations.
9. Establish clear rules and procedures and instruct students in how to follow them; give primary-level children and low-SES children, in particular, a great deal of instruction, practice, and reminding.
10. Make clear to students the consequences of misbehavior.
11. Enforce classroom rules promptly, consistently, and equitably from the very first day of school.
12. Work to instill a sense of self-discipline in students; devote time to teaching self-monitoring skills.
13. Maintain a brisk instructional pace and make smooth transitions between activities.
14. Monitor classroom activities and give students feedback and reinforcement regarding their behavior.
15. Create opportunities for students (particularly those with behavioral problems) to experience success in their learning and social behavior.
16. Identify those students who seem to lack a sense of personal efficacy and work to help them achieve an internal locus of control.
17. Make use of cooperative learning groups, as appropriate.
18. Make use of humor, when suitable, to stimulate student interest or reduce classroom tensions.
19. Remove distracting materials (athletic equipment, art materials, etc.) from view when instruction is in progress.
WHEN DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS ARISE:
20. Intervene quickly; do not allow behavior that violates school or classroom rules to go unchecked.
21. As appropriate, develop reinforcement schedules and use these with misbehaving students.
22. Instruct students with behavior problems in selfcontrol skills; teach them how to observe their own behavior, talk themselves through appropriate behavior patterns, and reinforce themselves for succeeding.
23. Teach misbehaving students general prosocial skills--self-awareness, cooperation, and helping.
24. Place misbehaving students in peer tutoring arrangements; have them serve either as tutors or tutees, as appropriate.
25. Make use of punishments which are reasonable for the infraction committed; provide support to help students improve their behavior.
26. Make use of counseling services for students with behavior problems; counseling should seek the cause of the misconduct and assist students in developing needed skills to behave appropriately.
27. Make use of in-school suspension programs, which include guidance, support, planning for change, and skill building.
28. Collaborate with misbehaving students on developing and signing contingency contracts to help stimulate behavioral change; follow through on terms of contracts.
29. Make use of home-based reinforcement to increase the effectiveness of school-based agreements and directives.
30. In schools which are troubled with severe discipline problems and negative climates, a broadbased organizational development approach may be needed to bring about meaningful change; community involvement and support is critical to the success of such efforts.
INEFFECTIVE DISCIPLINE PRACTICES:
31. Avoid the use of vague or unenforceable rules.
32. Do not ignore sudent behavior which violates school or classroom rules; it will not go away.
33. Avoid ambiguous or inconsistent treatment of misbehavior.
34. Avoid draconian punishments and punishments delivered without accompanying support.
35. Avoid corporal punishment.
36. Avoid out-of-school suspension whenever possible. Reserve the use of suspension for serious misconduct only.
The strength of the research base supporting these guidelines suggests that putting them into practice can help administrators and teachers to achieve the ultimate goal of school discipline, which, as stated by Wayson and Lasley (1984, p. 419), is "to teach student to behave properly without direct supervision."
Allen, S. A Study to Determine the Effectiveness of a Positive Approach to Discipline System for Classroom Management. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Los Angeles, CA, April 1981. (ED 203 490)Investigates the effect of a Positive Approach to Discipline on teacher behavior and student outcomes in twelve seventh grade, ethnically diverse classes. The use of PAD brought about a reduction in administrative referrals and suspensions, but the incidence of corporal punishment remained the same.
Anderson, L. M., and Prawat, R. S. "Responsibility in the Classroom: A Synthesis of Research on Teaching Self-Control." Educational Leadership 40/7 (1983): 62- 66.Reviews research on the effectiveness of methods for teaching self-control to students and thereby increase time-on-task and classroom order.
Atkeson, B. M., and Forehand, R. "Home-Based Reinforcement Programs Designed to Modify Classroom Behavior: A Review and Methodological Evaluation." Psychological Bulletin 86/6 (1979): 1298-1308.Reviews 19 studies on the effects of home-based reinforcement programs on the social and academic behavior of students at all age/grade levels. Found these programs to be effective in increasing on-task behavior and reducing the incidence of classroom disruption.
Bowman, R., Jr. "Effective Classroom Management: A Primer for Practicing Professionals." Clearing House 57/3 (1983): 116-118.Summarizes research on effective classroom management methods. Findings are congruent with those identified by major classroom management researchers.
Brophy, J. "Classroom Management Techniques." Education and Urban Society 18/2 (1986): 182-194.Summarizes research on classroom management methods and reviews research on interventions for dealing with misbehavior.
Brophy, J. E. "Classroom Organization and Management." The Elementary School Journal 83/4 (1983): 265-285.Reviews research and discusses findings concerning classroom management strategies found to be effective in reducing misbehavior and promoting time-on-task. Discusses both preventive and intervention strategies.
Center on Evaluation, Development and Research.htmlPhi Delta Kappa. Effective Classroom Management. 1984-85 Hot Topic Series. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa, 1985.Presents a compilation of articles on classroom management, featuring sections on research and practical applications of research.
Cobb, H. C., and Richards, H. C. "Efficacy of Counseling Services in Decreasing Behavior Problems of Elementary School Children." Elementary School Guidance & Counseling 17/3 (1983): 180-187.Investigates the effects on classroom disorder produced by a series of whole class counseling sessions and small group sessions focused on a target group of students with behavior problems. Ninety fourth and fifth grade students and their teachers participated.
Cotton, K. Instructional Reinforcement. Close-Up No. 3. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 1988.Reviews 37 studies and analyses of the effects of different kinds of instructional reinforcement (e.g., praise, tokens, privileges, etc.) on student achievement and behavior.
Cotton, K., and Savard, W. G. Student Discipline and Motivation: Research Synthesis. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 1982. (ED 224 170)Reviews 26 studies and summaries on the effects of classroom and schoolwide practices undertaken to reduce discipline problems and increase student motivation.
Crouch, P. L.; Gresham, F. M.; and Wright, W. R. "Interdependent and Independent Group Contingencies with Immediate and Delayed Reinforcement for Controlling Classroom Behavior." Journal of School Psychology 23 (1985): 177-187.Examines the effects of using interdependent and independent group contingencies with a third grade art class. The treatments resulted in increased on-task behavior and reduced classroom disruptions.
Docking, J. "The Impact of Control and Management Styles on Young Children in the Early Years of Schooling." Early Childhood Development and Care 8 (1982): 239-252.Reviews research on the effects of classroom management styles, praise, and punishment on the attitudes and behavior of elementary school children.
Doyle, W. "Classroom Management Techniques." In Strategies to Reduce Student Misbehavior, edited by Oliver C. Moles. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 1989, 11-31. (ED 311 608)Reviews research on effective classroom management techniques and strategies for dealing with serious or chronic misconduct. Identifies clear and consistently applied rules and close monitoring of classroom activities as critical classroom management functions.
Duke, D. L. "School Organization, Leadership, and Student Behavior." In Strategies to Reduce Student Misbehavior, edited by Oliver C. Moles. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 1989, 31-62. (ED 311 608)Reviews research on the school organizational factors related to well-disciplined school environments and discusses the kinds of leadership functions needed to establish environments conducive to good school discipline.
Elliott, S. N. "Children's Ratings of the Acceptability of Classroom Interventions for Misbehavior: Findings and Methodological Considerations." Journal of School Psychology 24 (1986): 23-35.Reviews research on the attitudes of elementary and junior high students toward a variety of disciplinary practices.
Emmer, E. T. Management Strategies in Elementary School Classrooms. Austin, TX: Research and Development Center for Teacher Education, 1982. (ED 251 432)Offers findings from an observational study of 41 elementary classrooms to determine relationships between teachers' classroom management behaviors and (1) student task engagement and (2) the incidence of classroom disruptions.
Emmer, E. T., and Aussiker, A. "School and Classroom Discipline Programs: How Well Do They Work?" In Strategies to Reduce Student Misbehavior, edited by Oliver C. Moles. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 1989, 105-142. (ED 311 608)Reviews research on the effects of Teacher Effectiveness Training, Reality Therapy, Assertive Discipline, and Adlerian approaches on school and classroom discipline. Identified positive effects on teacher perceptions and some effects on teacher behavior, but few effects on student behavior or attitudes.
Emmer, E. T., and Evertson, C. M. "Synthesis of Research on Classroom Management." Educational Leadership 38/4 (1981): 342-347.Summarizes research studies on the relationship between teachers' classroom management behaviors and student behavioral outcomes. Identifies teachers' beginning-of-the-year behaviors as particularly important in establishing and maintaining classroom order.
Emmer, E. T.; Evertson, C. M.; and Anderson, L. M. "Effective Classroom Management at the Beginning of the School Year." The Elementary School Journal 80/5 (1980): 219-231.Cites outcomes of a study of classroom management practices. Third grade classrooms in eight schools were observed to determine how teachers' beginning-ofthe -year behaviors set the tone for later classroom interactions.
Emmer, E. T.; Sanford, J. P.; Clements, B. S.; and Martin, J. Improving Junior High Classroom Management. Austin, TX: Research and Development Center for Teacher Education, 1983. (ED 261 053)Examines the effects of a training program in classroom management skills on teachers with fewer than two years of experience. Experimental teachers showed a greater command of target skills than controls, and their students were more on task and less disruptive.
Evertson, C. M. "Improving Elementary Classroom Management: A School-Based Training Program for Beginning the Year." Journal of Educational Research 83/2 (1989): 82-90.Reports the results of an experiment to determine the effects of a training program on the classroom management skills of 29 elementary teachers in Arkansas. Treatment teachers demonstrated greater use of key management skills than controls, and their students exhibited less misbehavior and greater amounts of time-on-task.
Evertson, C. M. "Training Teachers in Classroom Management: An Experimental Study in Secondary School Classrooms." Journal of Educational Research 79/1 (1985): 51-58.Undertakes to validate principles of classroom organization and management, determine if school district personnel could successfully implement classroom management workshops, and assess whether classroom management training could increase the skills of secondary teachers who had already received instructional skills training.
Evertson, C. M.; Emmer, E. T.; Sanford, J. P.; and Clements, B. S. "Improving Classroom Management: An Experiment in Elementary School Classrooms." The Elementary School Journal 83/2 (1983): 173-188.Examines the outcomes produced by a classroom management training program on participating elementary teachers and their students. The students of treatment teachers had a higher incidence of time-on-task and a lower incidence of inappropriate behavior than the students of control teachers.
Fitzpatrick, K. A., and McGreal, T. L. "The Effect of Training in Classroom Management on Academic Engaged Time in Secondary Classrooms." Illinois School Research and Development 20/1 (1983): 20-32.Reports the results of a study of the effects of training high school teachers in classroom management skills. Training content was congruent with general research on classroom management. Experimental teachers practiced effective behaviors more, and their students engaged in more on-task behavior and less disruption.
Gettinger, M. "Methods of Proactive Classroom Management." School Psychology Review 17/2 (1988): 227-242.Reviews research on the effects of proactive classroom management techniques--methods which focus on prevention rather than remediation of student misbehavior.
Gottfredson, D. C. "Developing Effective Organizations to Reduce School Disorder." In Strategies to Reduce Student Misbehavior, edited by Oliver C. Moles. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 1989, 87-104. (ED 311 698)Cites research findings on the correlates of school disorder, reports the results of an organizational improvement study in two urban junior high schools, and presents results of three projects intended to reduce the disruptions and delinquent behavior perpetrated by at-risk youth.
Gottfredson, D. C. "An Empirical Test of School-Based Environmental and Individual Interventions to Reduce the Risk of Delinquent Behavior." Criminology 24/4 (1986): 705-731.Reports the results of a project intended to improve school discipline and reduce the dropout rate in four low-income middle and high schools. Improvements were noted among the general school populations and specific targeted, high-risk students.
Gottfredson, D. C. "An Evaluation of an Organization Development Approach to Reducing School Disorder." Evaluation Review 11/6 (1987): 739-763.Describes a study in which an urban junior high school made use of various organization development activities, including schoolwide use of Assertive Discipline and Reality Therapy, and experienced significantly greater improvements in school discipline than a demographically similar control school.
Gottfredson, D. G.; Karweit, N. L.; and Gottfredson, G. D. Reducing Disorderly Behavior in Middle Schools. Baltimore, MD: Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools, Johns Hopkins University, April 1989.Describes the results of an organization development approach to reducing disorder in six urban middle schools. High-implementation schools evidenced significant improvements, while low-implementation and control schools did not.
Gottfredson, G. D., and Gottfredson, D. C. Victimization in Schools. New York: Plenum Press, 1985.Uses survey data from the National Institute of Education's Safe School Study to determine school factors which are related to the victimization of school personnel and students in junior and senior high school settings.
Greenwood, C. R.; Carta, J. J.; and Hall, R. V. "The Use of Peer Tutoring Strategies in Classroom Management and Educational Instruction." School Psychology Review 17/2 (1988): 258-275.Identifies various peer tutoring strategies, provides detail on their elements, cites research on their effectiveness in promoting student learning and behavior, and notes limitations in the current research base and areas of need for future research.
Hyman, I. A., and Lally, D. "A Study of Staff Development Programs for Improving School Discipline." The Urban Review 14/3 (1982): 181-196.Reviews research on the efficacy of various approaches to improve school climate and discipline (Adlerian, behavior modification, human relations training, reality therapy, etc.) and examines studies to identify commonalities across the different approaches.
Kounin, J. S. Discipline and Group Management in Classrooms. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1970.Presents the results of studies from the kindergarten to university levels, focusing particularly on findings from an observational study of 80 elementary classrooms to identify strategies and processes used in effectively and ineffectively managed classes.
Lasley, T. J., and Wayson, W. W. "Characteristics of Schools with Good Discipline." Educational Leadership 40/3 (1982): 28-31.Reviews the work of the Phi Delta Kappa Commission on Discipline and other sources to identify the elements which correlate with good school discipline. Broadbased problem solving, providing opportunities for success, and strong leadership are among the elements commonly found in well-disciplined schools.
Leach, D. J., and Byrne, M. K. "Some �Spill-over' Effects of a Home-based Reinforcement Programme in a Secondary School." Educational Psychology 6/3 (1986): 265-276.Investigates the effects of a home-based reinforcement program on the classroom behavior of disruptive adolescents and their peers. Target students were more on task and less disruptive after the intervention; some classmates were positively affected and some were not.
Lovegrove, M.; Lewis, R.; Fall, C.; and Lovegrove, H. Students' Preferences for Discipline Practices in Schools. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Australian Comparative and International Education Society, Hamilton, New Zealand, August 1983. (ED 265 257)Reviews research on student attitudes toward various classroom disciplinary practices. Ninth graders in Australia, the United States, and Norway participated and generally had the same preferences regarding teachers' disciplinary practices.
Luke, M. D. "Research on Class Management and Organization: Review with Implications for Current Practice." Quest 41 (1989): 55-67.Reviews research on class management and organization as it applied to physical education. Findings are similar to those obtained in other classroom management reviews.
Mandlebaum, L. H.; Russell, S. C.; Drouse, J.; and Gonter, M. "Assertive Discipline: An Effective Classwide Behavior Management Program." Behavioral Disorders 8/4 (1983): 258-264.Reports the results of a study of the effects of the Assertive Discipline program on the out-of-seat and inappropriate talking behaviors of a class of third graders. Results indicated that the program was effective in reducing the incidence of these behaviors.
Maurer, A., and Wallerstein, J. S. "The Influence of Corporal Punishment on Learning: A Statistical Study.: In Corporal Punishment. Three Works, by the authors. Berkeley, CA: The Committee to End Violence Against the Next Generation, 1984. (ED 254 308).Presents research findings on the relationship between corporal punishment in schools and student outcomes. Corporal punishment was found to be negatively related to high school graduation and student achievement.
McCormack, S. Assertive Discipline: What Do We Really Know? San Diego, CA: San Diego County Office of Education, 1987. (ED 286 618).Reviews eleven research studies on the effects of the Assertive Discipline program on teachers and students. Identified positive relationships between the program and (1) off-task behavior, (2) incidence of referrals, (3) student self-concept.
McNamara, E.; Harrop, A.; and Owen, F. "The Effect of Group Orientated Classroom Management Procedures on Individual Pupils." Educational Psychology 7/3 (1987): 157-168.Examines the effect of teacher training in classroom management techniques on the behavior of adolescent students. After the intervention, positive teacher comments and actions increased, negative ones decreased, and student task behavior improved.
Miller, D. "Effect of a Program of Therapeutic Discipline on the Attitude, Attendance, and Insight of Truant Adolescents." Journal of Experimental Education 55/1 (1986): 49-53.Reports the results of a study in which a therapeutic discipline program was compared with traditional, nontherapeutic discipline in terms of their effects on secondary students experiencing in-school suspension for truancy. Treatment students had better attendance and greater insight, but controls had better attitudes toward school attendance.
Moskowitz, G., and Hayman, J. L., Jr. "Success Strategies of Inner-City Teachers: A Year-Long Study." Journal of Educational Research 69 (1976): 283-289.Replicates an earlier study of the classroom instructional and management behavior of more and less effective teachers. Comparisons were made between first-year teachers and those perceived by students to be their "best" teachers.
O'Hagan, F. J., and Edmunds, G. "Pupils' Attitudes Toward Teachers' Strategies for Controlling Disruptive Behaviour." British Journal of Educational Psychology 52 (1982): 331-340.Specifies relationships between (1) six different approaches teachers might take to dealing with classroom misbehavior and (2) the attitudes of Scottish adolescents. Acceptable and unacceptable disciplinary techniques were identified.
Ornstein, A. C., and Levine, D. U. "Teacher Behavior Research: Overview and Outlook." Phi Delta Kappan 62/8 (1981): 592-596.Reviews research on theories and practices associated with effective teaching. Includes a section on the kinds of classroom management practices shown to be associated with orderly, on-task classroom environments.
Pestello, F. G. "Misbehavior in High School Classrooms." Youth and Society 20/3 (1989): 290-306.Examines the relationship among student perceptions of different punishments, their perceptions of classroom climate, teachers' perceptions of punishment, and student demographic characteristics. Students and teachers in fourteen American History classes participated.
Render, G. F.; Padilla, J. M.; and Krank, H. M. "Assertive Discipline: A Critical Review and Analysis." Teachers College Record 90/4 (1989): 607- 630.Reviews and discusses research on the effects of the Assertive Discipline program, critiques its theoretical foundations, and concludes that the program is philosophically questionable and unsupported by welldesigned research.
Render, G. F.; Padilla, J. M.; and Krank, H. M. "What Research Really Shows About Assertive Discipline." Educational Leadership 46/6 (1989): 72-75.Summarizes the procedures and findings of 12 studies on the effects of the Assertive Discipline program and finds no indication that the program is any more effective than any other approach to reducing discipline problems in schools.
Sanford, J. P., and Evertson, C. M. "Classroom Management in a Low SES Junior High: Three Case Studies." Journal of Teacher Education 32/1 (1981): 34-38.Presents findings from a study of classroom management involving three teachers in a low-SES school setting. Differences were noted between the practices of an effective, a less effective, and an ineffective manager as measured by student social behavior and attitudes.
Sharpley, C. F., and Sharpley, A. M. "Contingent vs. Noncontingent Rewards in the Classroom: A Review of the Literature." Journal of School Psychology 19/3 (1981): 250-259.Reviews research on the comparative effectiveness of contingent and noncontingent reinforcement on the behavior of students in classroom settings. Contingent reinforcement was found to be considerably more effective.
Short, P. M. "Effectively Disciplined Schools: Three Themes From Research." NASSP Bulletin 72/504 (1988): 1-3.Summarizes findings from research on schoolwide practices which lead to safe and orderly school environments. Schoolwide involvement in establishing good discipline, positive school climate, and principal leadership are the three "themes" identified.
Slee, R. "Integration: The Disruptive Student and Suspension." The Urban Review 18/2 (1986): 87-103.Reviews British, Australian, New Zealand, and American research on the use of in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, and suspension to off-site centers. Finds these approaches ineffective and calls for organizational improvements in schools so that disruptive students might be retained.
Smedley, S. R., and Willower, D. J. "Principals' Pupil Control Behavior and School Robustness." Educational Administration Quarterly 17/4 (1981): 40-56.Investigates the relationship between students' perceptions of the methods principals use to control student behavior and their perceptions of school robustness. Perceptions of humanistic approaches on the part of principals were associated with greater robustness.
Solomon, D.; Watson, M. S.; Delucchi, K. L.; Schaps, E.; and Battistich, V. "Enhancing Children's Prosocial Behavior in the Classroom." American Educational Research Journal 25/4 (1988): 527-554.Reports the results of a five-year investigation of the effects of prosocial skills training on the behavior of children in grades K-4. Participating children were "more supportive, friendly, and helpful" and displayed "more spontaneous prosocial behavior" than controls.
Stallings, J. A., and Mohlman, G. C. School Policy, Leadership Style, Teacher Changes, and Student Behavior in Eight Schools. Mountain View, CA: Stallings Teaching and Learning Institute, 1981. (ED 209 759)Reviews research on the school and classroom correlates of effective discipline and presents findings from a study of eight schools to determine (1) the correlates of school order and (2) the effects of a teacher training program.
Strother, D. B. "Practical Applications of Research." Phi Delta Kappan 66/10 (1985): 725-728.Reviews research on classroom management techniques and offers research-based guidelines for teachers to use to increase their classroom management skills.
Wayson, W. W.; DeVoss, G. G.; Kaeser, S. C.; Lasley, T.; Pinnell, G. S.; and the Phi Delta Kappa Commission on Discipline. Handbook for Developing Schools with Good Discipline. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa, 1982.Identifies findings from research on well-disciplined schools and offers suggestions for improving school discipline, including sample goals, activities, assessment techniques, and possible first steps.
Wayson, W. W., and Lasley, T. J. "Climates for Excellence: Schools That Foster Self-Discipline." Phi Delta Kappan 65/6 (1984): 419-421.Presents findings from a study conducted by the PDK Commission on Discipline. Identifies five characteristics present in schools with welldisciplined students: belongingness/responsibility, shared goals, symbols of identity and excellence, leadership to sustain positive values, and clear formal and informal rules.
Weber, W. A.; Crawford, J.; Roff, L. A.; and Robinson, C. Classroom Management: Reviews of the Teacher Education and Research Literature. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 1983.Reviews research on classroom management and identifies findings regarding maximizing time-on-task and on preventing and remediating classroom disruptions.
Workman, E. A., and Williams, R. L. "Effects of Extrinsic Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroom." Journal of School Psychology 18/2 (1980): 141-147.Reviews research on the effects of extrinsic rewards- -particularly the combination of praise and tokens--on the intrinsic motivation of regular and special education students. Found that extrinsic rewards do not undermine intrinsic motivation and, in some cases, enhance it.
Campbell, E. L.; Achilles, C. M.; Faires, C. L.; and Martin, O. School Discipline Policy, Procedures, and Potential Discrimination--A Study of Disproportional Representation of Minority Pupils in School Suspensions. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, 1982.Presents the results of an observational study of discipline procedures in a Tennessee school district. There was a significant overrepresentation of blacks, other minorities, and low-SES students in suspensions and other discipline procedures.
Cotton, K. Educational Time Factors. Close-Up #8. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 1990.Synthesizes the findings from 57 research articles concerned with the relationship between different measures of educational time (allocated time, time-ontask, academic learning time) and student achievement.
Curwin, R. L., and Mendler, A. N. Discipline with Dignity. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1988.Discusses the causes of discipline problems in schools and offers guidelines for establishing and maintaining effective school and classroom discipline. Includes sections on enhancing motivation, special problem areas such as drug abuse, and commonly asked questions.
Fox, W. M., and Elder, N. A Study of Practices and Policies for Discipline and Dropouts in Ten Selected Schools. St. Lawrence University, 1980. (ED 191 974)Based on a review of research literature and on survey data gathered from ten secondary schools, the researchers offer a series of guidelines focused on improving school discipline and reducing the incidence of dropouts.
Gnagey, W. J. "Changing the Attitudes of High School Inhibitors: A Schoolwide Intervention Strategy." Clearing House 56/6 (1983): 78-80.Examines the effects of teacher efforts to increase the internal locus of control experienced by "inhibitor" students--those whose classroom conduct often spoils the learning climate for their classmates. As students' sense of personal efficacy increased, their inhibitor-related attitudes decreased.
Harris, J. J., III; Heid, C. A.; and Saghafi, B. Student Discipline and Instructionally Effective Schools. Bloomington/Indianapolis: Center for Urban and Multicultural Education, Indiana University, 1983. (ED 235 257)Details a research project conducted with administrators and teachers in a large Midwestern school district to assess the quality of instruction and school discipline in their district. Differences were noted in the perceptions of administrators as compared with those of teachers.
Harvard Education Letter 3/5 (1987): entire issue.Offers a series of commentaries and research-based guidelines for establishing and maintaining more orderly school environments.
Johns, F. A., and MacNaughton, R. H. "Spare the Rod: A Continuing Controversy." Clearing House 63/9 (1990): 388-392.Discusses the history of corporal punishment in educational settings in the United States, legal cases and issues, the results of teacher opinion surveys, pros and cons of using corporal punishment, and alternatives proposed to its use.
Jones, F. H. "The Gentle Art of Classroom Discipline." National Elementary Principal 58 (1979): 26-322.Draws upon research on classroom management and disciplinary practices to offer a set of guidelines for teacher use. Topics include dealing with disruptions, using incentives, and improving instructional practices.
McCormack, S. "Response to Render, Padilla, and Krank: But Practitioners Say It Works!" Educational Leadership 46/6 (1989): 77-79.Takes issue with the way authors Render, Padilla, and Krank (see Key References) review and summarize research on Assertive Discipline, and argues that practitioners' perception that the program works is an important factor in assessing its effectiveness.
Moles, O. C., ed. Strategies to Reduce Student Misbehavior. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 1989. (ED 311 608)Offers an introductory section on the nature, extent, and academic effects of student misbehavior, and then presents a compilation of papers on student discipline strategies. See citations for individual papers in Key References section.
National School Boards Association. Discipline in the Schools: No One-Stop Solution. Volume 6 of NSBA Leadership Reports. Alexandria, VA: National School Boards Association, 1985.Presents a compilation of articles from educational journals regarding school discipline and the role of school boards in setting discipline policy.
Phi Delta Kappa/Center on Evaluation, Development and Research. Discipline. 1984-85 Hot Topic Series. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa, 1984.Offers a compilation of articles on the topics of developing districtwide discipline; punishment, suspension, and expulsion, classroom discipline; vandalism, violence, and crime; unique populations; and legal issues.
Pross, M. N. "To Paddle or Not to Paddle." Learning 88 17/3 (1988): 42-49.Reviews responses from over 550 educators surveyed regarding corporal punishment and discusses the major issues involved in the corporal punishment debate.
Reis, E. M. "Effective Teacher Techniques: Implications for Better Discipline." Clearing House 61/8 (1900): 356-357.Draws upon research on classroom management to provide suggestions for helping teachers to manage their classes more effectively.
Rose, T. L. "Corporal Punishment with Mildly Handicapped Students: Five Years Later." Remedial and Special Education 10/1 (1989): 43-52.Replicates a survey conducted earlier on the incidence and types of corporal punishment used with mildly handicapped students in U.S. public schools. Results indicated widespread use of corporal punishment with these students at all grade levels. Comparisons with previous findings are noted.
Rose, T. L. Current Disciplinary Practices in American Public Schools. Charlotte, NC: Department of Curriculum and Instruction, 1987. (ED 309 560)Provides the results of a survey intended to identify the prevalence of various disciplinary practices in the U.S. Most schools surveyed used Assertive Discipline, time-out, reinforcement, in-school suspensions, and out-of-school suspensions, with other practices used less frequently.
Wayson, W.W. Personal conversation, October 1990.The present author asked Dr. Wayson to review an earlier draft of this summary. He did so, offering additional suggestions and insights from his work in the area of school and classroom discipline.
Wu, S.; Pink, W.; Crain, R.; and Moles, O. "Student Suspension: A Critical Reappraisal." The Urban Review 14/4 (1982): 245-304.Analyzes national data from the Safe School Study to draw conclusions about the nature and incidence of school suspensions. Found that suspension rates reflect factors other than student misbehavior, including teacher attitudes, school disciplinary codes, degree of fairness in governance, and academic and racial bias.
This publication is based on work sponsored wholly, or in part, by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education, under Contract Number 400-86-0006. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of OERI, the Department, or any other agency of the U.S. Government.
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