by Dr. Marvin Marshall
Curriculum, Instruction, Classroom Management, and Discipline
An understanding of each distinctive concept is essential for effective teaching.
A well-known international journal recently published an interesting article entitled, "The Brilliant Inventiveness of Student Misbehavior: Test Your Classroom Management Skills."
Good article--but misnamed! The article had nothing to do with classroom management. The article was entirely about discipline.
So are many educators--even college professors. Not long ago when speaking at an international conference on character education, a college professor said to me, "I don't like the word 'discipline'; it's too harsh, so I use 'classroom management' instead." This teacher of teachers had not a clue to the differences.
Last year, I was the distinguished lecturer at the conference of the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE). This is the association whose membership is primarily composed of university professors who teach methods and other educational courses. At my behest, the name of the Special Interest Group (SIG) was changed from "Classroom Management" to "Classroom Management and Discipline."
Although related, these are distinctly different topics---and should not be lumped together as if they were synonymous.
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT deals with how things are done.
DISCIPLINE deals with how people behave.
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT has to do with procedures, routines, and structure.
DISCIPLINE is about impulse management and self-control.
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT is the teacher's responsibility.
DISCIPLINE is the student's responsibility.
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT is enhanced when procedures are:
- explained to students,
- practiced by students, and periodically (when necessary)
- reinforced by practicing again.
When procedures are learned, routines are established.
Routines give structure to instruction.
Good classroom management is essential for efficient teaching and learning. Chances are that when you walk into a room, you do not pay much attention to the floor. But if it were missing, you would. The analogy works for classroom management. You don't notice it when it is good. But without it, the lack of it is readily apparent.
The differences between classroom management and discipline are two of the four distinctive concepts necessary for an understanding of effective teaching. The other two are "curriculum" and "instruction."
Curriculum refers to what is to be taught. The curriculum is determined by state departments of education, boards of education, the "federal agenda," professional associations, the community--and, more recently, corporate performance accountability models for learning.
It is the teacher's responsibility to make the curriculum relevant, interesting, meaningful, and/or enjoyable. (The November, 2002, article gives suggestions for accomplishing this task.)
Instruction has two components: (1) teaching and (2) learning. The former refers to what the teacher does, the latter to what students do.
Good teaching of a lesson has at least three parts: (1) grabbing interest, (2) the actual teaching, and (3) reflection on the experiences for enhanced understanding, reinforcement, and retention.
Learning pertains to what students do to learn.
Here is my point: If you have a particularly unsuccessful lesson, ask yourself,
(1) Was it the curriculum? e.g., I just didn't make it appealing,
(2) Was it instruction? e.g., I had a wonderful lesson planned, but I did all the work; the students were not involved enough in their learning,
(3) Was it classroom management? e.g., I had a wonderful lesson, but it took 10 minutes to get everything organized,
(4) Was it a discipline problem? e.g., I prompted the students' curiosity, taught a good lesson with meaningful student activities, had everything organized, but I still had disruptions?
Asking yourself these questions enhances a clear understanding of the differences between curriculum, instruction, classroom management, and discipline and is a fundamental first step of an effective teacher.
Ideas for implementing the proactive (Covey), noncoercive (Glasser), collaborative and empowering (Deming) approach to reducing behavior problems is at http://www.MarvinMarshall.com
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© Dr. Marvin Marshall, 2003.
Questions submitted to Kathleen Carpenter at email@example.com will be considered by Marv Marshall for responses in future monthly columns in the Teachers.Net Gazette.
Gazette Articles by Dr. Marshall:
- Ronald Reagan and the Art of Influence (June 2009)
- Discipline Is a Liberating Word (May 2009)
- Eliciting vs. Punishments (Apr. 2009)
- Habit vs. Awareness for the 3 Practices and for the Hierarchy of Social Development (Mar. 2009)
- How to Be Consistent (Feb. 2009)
- Teaching is an Art, Not a Science (Jan. 2009)
- Tapping Into Internal Motivation (Dec. 2008)
- People Do Better When They Feel Good (Nov. 2008)
- The Brain and Sleep (Oct. 2008)
- Using a Butterfly Analogy to Explain the Hierarchy of Social Development (Sept. 2008)
- 5 Classroom Tips (Aug. 2008)
- Discipline Without Stress, Inc. (July 2008)
- Visualization (June 2008)
- Promoting Responsibility - Or How Not To (May 2008)
- Immaculate Perception (April 2008)
- A System Is Superior To Talent (Mar. 2008)
- To promote responsibility, Elicit Rather Than Impose (Feb. 2008)
- Understanding Boys (Jan. 2008)
- Descartes' Error: I think; therefore, I am (July 2003)
- Metacognition -- Thinking about Thinking Is Essential for Learning (June 2003)
- Listening Lessons -- How to Help Kids Learn and Comprehend (May 2003)
- Approaches of Outstanding Teachers (Apr 2003)
- Using a Discipline Approach to Promote Learning (Mar 2003)
- Curriculum, Instruction, Classroom Management, and Discipline (Feb 2003)
- Learning and Relationships, The two are inseparable (Jan 2003)
- Accountability in Schools (Dec 2002)
- Suggestions For Motivation (Nov 2002)
- Given Names - When NOT to Use Them and when TO Use Them (Oct 2002)
- The Power Of Hierarchies (Sept 2002)
- Use the Language You Want Learned (Aug 2002)
- Observations From Last Year (July 2002)
- How The Horse Whisperer Trains a Wild Mustang in 30 Minutes (June 2002)
- Using Breath Management for Better Listening and Voice Preservation (May 2002)
- Reducing Stress By Promoting Responsibility--Rather than by Attempting to Manipulate Behavior (Apr 2002)
- Rules Vs. Expectations (Mar 2002)
- How to Achieve 100 Per Cent Student Participation (Feb 2002)
- Positivity, Choice, and Reflection Exercise for Students (Jan 2002)
- Learning Climate (Dec 2001)
- Reflection and Self-Evaluation (pt 3) (Nov 2001)
- Reflection and Self-Evaluation (pt 2) (Sep 2001)
- Reflection and Self-Evaluation (pt 1) (May 2001)
- The Empowerment Of Choice (pt 2) (Apr 2001)
- The Empowerment Of Choice (pt 1) (Mar 2001)
- Power Of Positivity (pt 2) (Feb 2001)
- Power Of Positivity (Jan 2001)
- Home Assignments (Dec 2000)
- Collaboration is the Key (Nov 2000)
- Classroom Meetings (Aug 2000)
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