Out-of-school & in-school causes of misbehavior

Discipline with Dignity offers a great overview of the causes of both out-of-school and in-school causes of misbehavior.

Out-of-school causes

  • Effects of the media (violence on TV and video games)
  • A sense of entitlement ("me first" attitude)
  • Lack of a secure family environment (divorce, child abuse, etc.)
  • Diminished social civility (politicians name-calling and put-downs, offensive song lyrics. "If adults do it, why can't I?")
  • Concentration of poverty (low socioeconomic status)
Consider polling teachers: Which out-of-school cause do you believe has the GREATEST impact on misbehavior in your classroom?

We have limited control on what happens outside of school, but knowledge of a child's home life is critical for building strong, healthy relationships with students and families.

In-school causes

  • Competitive environment (with regard to academic achievement and behavioral improvement... competition is BETWEEN students instead of WITHIN each student. Individual's improvement is not being adequately acknowledged)
  • Student boredom
  • Powerlessness (students do not have a voice)
  • Unclear limits (little clarity on what types of behavior will and will not be tolerated).
  • Educational opportunities are earned, not given (Field trips, class parties are taken away for poor behavior)
  • Lack of acceptable outlets to express feelings (no good ways to release emotions and thoughts)
  • Attacks on dignity (students see themselves as losers and have ceased trying to gain acceptance in the mainstream i.e., they would rather be recognized as a troublemaker than be seen as stupid)
As a school/grade level, how can we address these potential causes?

One Idea

  • Form a school discipline committee. The committee tackles one of the in-school causes. Have teachers, administrators and support staff sign up for the committee. Grouping could be: four teacher spots, one admin spot, two support staff spots. Also, enlist a parent and a student to the committee.
  • Brainstorm ideas. Remember to keep the student's best interest in mind. (See example on Page 26 of Discipline with Dignity)
  • Develop a specific plan of action: What will be done, who will do it, when it will be done, and how it will be evaluated.

You could also do similar activities with a group of parents. Have them vote on what they perceive as the #1 in-school cause. You could then discuss, in a non-judgmental manner, the out-of-school causes.

With something to think about,

Mr. Russell

Image credit: focusforwardcc.com