NUMBER 62 • 9 JULY 2002 • DISCIPLINE WITH DIGNITY
INDEX OF QUOTES
All kids need to know that their lives have value and they can be successful. They need to believe that their efforts can make a real difference in their lives. Mr. Attwood [a teacher described earlier] gave youngsters hope by affirming each answer they gave before he sought to correct. He took a lot of the responsibility for their not getting the right answer by saying such things as, “I must not have made that very clear,” and, “I can see what you must have been thinking,” preliminary to correcting their answers. He read sample answers from a homework or classroom assignment and expressed genuine praise while noting how it could be even better if ... The kids then knew that they could “correct” the work for an even better grade.
Kids who are discipline problems often have a history of failure. There is a powerful relationship between poor academic performance and poor behavior. It is painful for people to he told repeatedly that they do not measure up. Such mental abuse causes damage to self-esteem, and many kids eventually withdraw or act out in protest. It is not surprising that most kids choose to he bad above being stupid if they view these as their only viable options. These students need to know that they can legitimately succeed and that their successes will be recognized. With some students who have become very turned off, disbelieving, and hopeless, it is sometimes necessary to make it impossible for them to “fail” in order for them to believe that success is possible …
Hope in a school setting is best accomplished through helping kids confront real problems and find new cognitive, social, or emotional ways to solve their problems. Students develop increased feelings of competence and mastery which provides the fuel for them to tackle the next uncertainty or challenge.
— ALLEN MENDLER
Mendler, A. N. (1992) What do I do when ... ? How to achieve discipline with dignity in the classroom. Bloomington, Indiana: National Education Service