Beyond Bribes And Threats- (Lecture Topic)



Realistic Alternatives to Controlling Students’ Behavior 

This workshop, by the author of Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community, addresses the nonacademic realm of school life – and specifically the ways that discipline or classroom management not only tends to backfire, but actively interferes with the process of helping students grow into responsible, compassionate people. We begin by addressing the problems with trying to manipulate students’ behavior with the use of rewards (including praise) or punishment (euphemistically called “consequences”). Then we dig deeper, looking at how much is lost by focusing on behavior in the first place, how a demand for short-term compliance (which is all that carrots and sticks can ever produce) gets in the way of our long-term goals for kids, and how many problems originate with the assumption that the teacher should be in control of the classroom.

In the second part of the workshop, participants hear about, see (on videotape), discuss, and make sense of the alternatives:

  • solving problems rather than administering discipline,
  • working with students rather than doing things to them,
  • addressing how “misbehavior” may be due to a curriculum that isn’t engaging,
  • transforming the classroom (and school) into caring communities where students feel they belong, and
  • bringing students in on making decisions about how they want their classroom to be — and how to make that happen.

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