Beyond Compliance: Rethinking Discipline and Codes of Conduct
Pressures for academic achievement have ratcheted up the need to reduce acting out, distraction, and anything else that might thwart academic time on task. As a result, schools have been concentrating on approaches such as positive-behavior supports and other compliance-oriented discipline systems, rather than on teaching students the attitudes, values, and skills they need to control their emotions and direct their behavior. Often, the focus is on compliance and conformity in discipline systems and codes of conduct, instead of engaging students and staff members in a dialogue about appropriate behavior in order to use it as a learning opportunity.
“Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” We have all heard this, and we should take it to heart. There is a corollary: Kids don’t care about your rules until they feel some investment and ownership in those rules.
Students can tell whether the purpose of a code of conduct is to maintain order or to guide students to learn the difference between right and wrong, and how to act appropriately when it counts and when...
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