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Classroom Management and Discipline Advice and Resources.

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Classroom Management and Discipline Do's and Dont's

By Edla Prevette
Copyright Kirk of Kildaire. Used here with permission. May be used for non-profit uses only. Originally posted by member Catherine from the Kirk of Kildaire.

Use Preventative Approaches

 Be informed and consider the temperament and development stages of children
 Provide consistency in routines and schedules
 Plan transition times (signals, games, songs)
 Give positive attention (greet children, compliment appropriate behavior)
 Modify environment (materials in baskets ready to set on the table, equipment arranged, puppets on the table)
 Offer choices (have other activities to choose from)
 Vary active and quiet time (journals are particularly helpful for closure and transition)
 Reduce boredom and use novelty (props, music treats)
 Use proximity control and surface management techniques (“the look”, touch, stand close, walk the room)
 Offer many visuals and auditory cues (directions, examples, goals, behavior covenant, memory verse)

Set Clear Expectations

 Set positive limits (avoid “Don’t...” instead try “I need you to....”)
 Develop a firm approach with voice, body language and words
 Phrase requests as statements not questions with yes/no answers (avoid adding “OK?”)
 Organize presentation and materials in a sequential manner
 Limit choices
 Have Behavior Covenant posted and refer to it regularly for positive/negative behaviors (“I like the way Suzie is respectful of the equipment”)

Increasing Desired Behavior

 Teach and model the desired behavior
 Redirect to an appropriate activity (have other activities available... books, crossword)
 Offer special time with an adult
 Have classroom jobs available
 Provide opportunities for children to share
 Talk with children about their interests

Extinguishing Negative Behaviors

 Use natural/logical consequences
 Use “cool down” instead of “time out” (positive focus... same result)
 Use signals as a concrete way to tell children of their misbehavior (stop sign, finger to lips, dimming lights, avoid Shhh Sh Shhs)
 Selectively use “stop the world” technique (rarely stop teaching)
 Use planned ignoring of selected behaviors
 Consistently follow through with what you say
 Use HUMOR!!!


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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A resource from member Jan of FPC Napa

"The Discipline Guide for Children's Ministry" is a good resource. Author is Jody Capehart, Group Publishing, 1997. ISBN: 1559456868. Here are a few brief ideas from it:

  • Take time to develop relationships.
  • Be an island of calm in their lives.
  • Be a bastion of fairness with clearly defined boundaries that when violated have appropriate consequences.
  • Work on one problem behavior at a time.
  • Keep those having a rough day close by physically to you.
  • Let all the words that come out of your mouth be kind words.
  • Pray FOR and WITH them.

Jaymie Derden responded:
I really like the above-mentioned book. We used it to develop our Classroom Covenant (good biblical word, don't you think?) which we made into a handout and give to all teachers, shepherds and parents. We also created posters which are in every room which provide a visual reminder for kids and adults about the need to be consistent.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Member Ruth Kroboth asked:   

Why are our teachers' children causing the most trouble?

We find that most behavior problems come from kids when their mom or dad is teaching their class. I know my own children are much better for others than for my husband or me. Your own kids always seem to feel a little freer to push the limits with you when they wouldn't for anyone else. Before we rotated we could place teachers in classes where their own kids weren't. Now you're bound to have your own kids come through your classroom once in a while. Any advice for these situations?


From JanS

I certainly have experienced both ways when parents teach their own children- sometimes it is great and other times it is a challenge.

In our program the workshop leader is responsible for teaching and not for re-directing behavior. If a student is being disruptive or not paying attention, it is the role of the shepherd to speak quietly to that child, sit down with him/her and help the student get back on task, or take the child out of the room if it is necessary. That way, even if the child's parent is the workshop leader, the parent is NOT put in the position of dealing with the child's misbehavior.

It might help if expectations are clearly stated to both shepherds and workshop leaders, verbally and in writing, so that shepherds can feel confident about dealing with behavior issues when the parent is present. That can certainly be a sticky situation, but if we can help instill the idea that in the church, every child is "my" child, it can go a long way toward building a safe and fun environment for children and adult volunteers alike.

Finally, a thought just crossed my mind:
So many parents coach their children's soccer, football, baseball teams. Does the misbehavior for parents pose a big problem in those settings? I sure don't hear a lot about that being a problem. If not, why not? And what can we glean from that?

From Neil MacQueen

I taught Sunday School and led children fellowship groups for all three of my daughters, and didn't have a lick of trouble. Why?  LOL  other than being a super-parent  I think it was because I involved my kids in the planning, setup, and execution of lesson activities and fellowship songs and games. We practiced things together, and I had them help demonstrate things to the class. They were a great source of INTEL as well, what worked, what didn't, how the kids felt about things, etc. (I also coached all three of my daughters in various sports, and didn't have attitude problems there either. Why? Because I was fair, fun, and brought them "in" on my thought processes, etc.)

In addition to the helpful guides posted above, don't be afraid to talk with the parents/caregivers of children whose behaviour patterns may be impacting the learning environment.  Obviously this is a conversation that needs to be done respectfully, but they may have strategies that are used with the child in either school or home environments that are easily adapted to the Sunday school setting - don't reinvent the wheel.  We have also used the "Teacher's Aid" strategy with one child with particular challenges.  One individual had the sole responsibility of helping them, following them if they left the room, etc.

Also talk to your friendly neighbourhood elementary teacher - new strategies are being developed all the time and if they are used to it at their school, it will be easy to integrate.

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