Dealing With Indiscipline in Class


Punishment is not always the best method for dealing with indiscipline cases among students. Many other methods can help model students with undesired behaviors into good people. Such methods include DRO, DRI, DRL, and DRC. These methods are appropriate for dealing with cases such as cursing, the use of profanities and obscenities, bullying, non-compliance, and shouting at other students among other cases of indiscipline.

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Summary of Article One

The first article, Curses, talks about the various types of curse words that students are fond of using in school. According to White and Koorland (1996), there are different ways through which students verbalize their curses. However, all of them always aim at creating a shock value in their target (White & Koorland, 1996). In the article, the two scholars divide the curse words into curses, epithets, profanities, obscenities, insults and slurs, and scatology (White & Koorland, 1996). They also propose twelve distinct ways of dealing with the problem of verbalizing curses among students (White & Koorland, 1996).

Summary of Article One

The second article, Accentuate the Positives…Eliminate the Negatives, proposes methods of handling unruly students in a classroom context. Just as the first article, this article also proposes non-violent methods of dealing with students whose behaviors do not please the teacher (Webber & Scheurmann, 1991). According to Webber and Scheurmann (1991), DRO, DRI, DRC, and DRL are capable of diminishing any type of bad behavior in a classroom context. These methods require teachers to encourage the recurrence of good behavior through reinforcement and diminish the recurrence of bad behavior by not paying attention to it.

Descriptors and the key points

  1. Teachers’ interventions, curses in schools, reinforcement
  2. Students are fond of using curses, especially when they are annoyed. Teachers take them differently, but must always intervene. The authors of these articles talk about indiscipline cases and methods of intervening. Most of the cases, however, involve the use of curses.

Analysis of the Articles

I also believe that many students relish the shock value created by their use of curse words. I once taught eighth-grade students and I could see their delight in the tension that always resulted in their use of obscenities and other swear words. Sometimes I used to get so angry that I found myself shouting obscenities back at them. I never knew that my shouting at them contributed to the prevalence of the curses. The behavior got out of hand. Many of the students continued using the words despite my efforts to stop them.

I am sure responding with words that carried similar weights reinforced the use of those words rather than helping to end their use. The loud shouts that the rest of the class made to display their shock at the mention of the words equally reinforced their use. Therefore, I should have taught the whole class about the need to remain silent whenever one of them used such words in class (White & Koorland, 1996). On my side, I should have used milder words in response to the curses as using similar words or other words of the same magnitude only reinforced the use of curses. Besides, I should have liaised with the school’s management to outlaw the use of profanities, insults and slurs, and other curse words. While teaching them about curses, I should have avoided mentioning the exact words. Instead, I should have come up with words that represent them (White & Koorland, 1996). According to White and Koorland, mentioning the words even for the sake of learning contributes to their use. Such a step could have made it easier for me to reprimand my students for going against the school rules and regulations.

It is also possible for teachers to use Differential Reinforcement of Zero Rates of Behavior (Webber & Scheurmann, 1991). This method entails reinforcing the absence of undesired behavior for certain periods (Webber & Scheurmann, 1991). In the case of my eighth-grade class, I should have reinforced students who were notorious for using curses whenever they did not mention them for certain periods. I remember that the oldest student in my class, John, was the fondest of all the students that used curses in their speeches. Reinforcing him for not using curses in a single day could have helped diminish the behavior.

Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior is also a very appropriate method for dealing with indiscipline among students. It emphasizes reinforcing behavior that is incompatible with undesired habits (Webber & Scheurmann, 1991). For example, reinforcing Jane, a student in my class who never did her homework, for doing her homework after being advised by her desk-mate to do it would encourage the recurrence of this good behavior and the habit of coming to school with incomplete homework would automatically disappear. In case this method did not make her consistently complete her homework, I would use DRL, where I would encourage gradual improvement (Webber & Scheurmann, 1991). I would reinforce her whenever she completed her homework. I have also realized that some of the behaviors the students exhibited were due to communication problems. I believe John always used insults and curses against his classmates and me to show his frustrations whenever we did not do what he expected us to do. He often cursed his classmates whenever he lost his pen or book. Teaching him how to be polite when asking for a lost item could have been very effective in transforming him. I also believe that talking to him would have helped him know that one does not have to be listened to by others all the time. This step would have made him avoid forcing other people to listen to him.

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White, R & Koorland, M. (1996). Curses: What can we do about curses? Teaching Exceptional Children, 33-36.

Webber, J. & Scheurmann, B. (1991). Accentuate the positive…eliminate the negative. Teaching Exceptional Children, 13-19.

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