Sunday, May 29, 2011

Discipline issues in a Class based on a horizontal relations

Classroom discipline form my point of view is not about students being afraid to do something out of fear of offending the teacher. I prefer a situation whereby students understand the set objectives of the class and are able to reason why something should be done and why some others are disallowed because of their possible implications on the objectives.

Rules governing the conduct of the class should be collective formulated with the active participation of the students and there should be a very clear understanding on how these rules relate to the learning process..

Being able to connect the students to the reality of the need for a set of acceptable standards and their effects (both positive or otherwise) will ensure the students  contribute to the decision making process and willingly contribute to ensuring class members abide by these rules.

Rules that are formulated with the active contribution of students (and are open to revision, if the need arises) will ensure every member of the class understands the roles expected of them (the teacher inclusive) to ensure a successful attainment of the class’ objectives.

Conducting learning activities with a horizontal relationship with the students will not breed indiscipline as long as the teacher takes his time to plan and design the learning activities based on perceived student needs/abilities and interests combined with an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.

A robust knowledge of the subject matter will ensure the students accept the teacher as a learned guide in their joint intellectual enquiry based on dialogue.
Respect for the students’ interests intelligences, and other abilities will elicit a reciprocal respect for the teacher.
It is however important for the teacher to ensure he respects the mutually designed code of conduct himself. Students tend to learn better from what they see us doing than from what we say. A basic sense of moral authority so derived goes a long way to help keep order in a class. If the students see that the teacher himself obeys the rules, they’d feel a sense of moral obligation to emulate him.

To ensure discipline while maintaining an equitable, horizontal relationship with my students, I ensure we all see the rules as being beneficial to the attainment of our set objectives and try my best to abide by them myself.

1 comment:

  1. Ibrahim,

    I agree that if students see the teacher as a hypocrite, the student will not have respect for the teacher and problems will arise. No longer can teachers say to students, do as I say, not as I do. This is a good thing, I think.



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This work by Ibrahim K. Oyekanmi ( is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.