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NYC Helpline: How To: Manage Your Classroom
View Instructional Videos for Teachers about Classroom Management

Classroom Management (Secondary)

A high school science teacher demonstrates how her structured and routine-based classroom environment is the key to success.

Classroom Management (Elementary)

An elementary school teacher guides us through her daily classroom routines and shows how consistency and structure are essential.

Classroom Management through Cooperative Groups

View two elementary school teachers demonstrate how they engage their students through group work to help them learn.

How to Home
NYC Helpline: Manage Your Classroom
NYC Helpline: How To Get Started

Assertive Discipline
Carolyn Hornik

How often have you heard teachers comment that their students are out of control in terms of their behavior and that they can’t regain order in their classrooms? In order to have an effective school learning environment, a degree of classroom management needs to be present. We, as educators, all want to have a classroom in which optimal learning can take place. Assertive discipline is an organized system of behavior management in which a limited number of clear, concise rules and routines are established and consistently reinforced. Positive behaviors are rewarded and negative behaviors result in pre-specified consequences.

A teacher can be assertive in maintaining a learning environment in which student disruptions are discouraged without being a dictator. Rules, routines, rewards and consequences can be determined by brainstorming with students. Behavior can be monitored by students. Conflicts regarding behavior can be handled by student mediators. Consequences for infractions can be determined by a student court. The main point is that student expectations are clear and that rules and routines are consistently reinforced.

As assertive teachers instill appropriate classroom behavior in their students, they display respect, support, and fairness. Through brainstorming, instruction, modeling, student input of ideas, role play, a behavior contract, and reinforcement, teachers get students to internalize the positive behaviors they are expected to display in the classroom.

How can teachers reinforce positive behavior? Catching students doing something right and recognizing their appropriate actions is an important part of instilling positive classroom behavior. Modeling respectful, just behavior and positive reactions to conflict will help students display respectful behavior and handle conflicts in non-violent, non-disruptive ways. Periodic discussions about the class rules and routines remind students of what is expected of them. Inform parents of the expectations you have for the students so they can also reinforce positive behaviors at home. Provide alternative, appropriate student behaviors to be substituted for inappropriate ones.

In most cases, there is no acceptable reason for students to misbehave. Making sure students clearly know rules and routines and consistent reinforcement of those rules and routines will result in effective classroom management and a positive learning environment.

Max Weber, “Assertive Discipline”

Dr. Bob Kizlik, “Assertive Discipline Information” (additional resources)



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