Skip to main content

Classroom management and discipline: Positive or punitive?

1 May 1998


The purpose of this qualitative study was to study different discipline styles and strategies and their effects on students in the classroom in order to examine three research questions: 1) What classroom management and discipline strategies are used by teachers in the classroom? 2) How closely aligned are teachers' discipline philosophies and their discipline practice? 3) Which discipline strategies and techniques seem to be most effective in maintaining an environment conducive to learning? Research addressing these questions was based on an analysis of six different classroom management models ranging from behaviorist viewpoints to student-centered philosophies. A review of the literature suggested that most diScipline strategies seem to involve a combination of positive and negative discipline elements. However, to be successful all discipline plans must be consistent and contain consequences for unacceptable behavior. This study took place at a rural K-5 elementary school in the coastal region of Oregon. The participants were first grade children as well as teachers from grades K-4. Information was gathered in the classroom through a variety of methodological approaches including observations, teacher interviews, and student interviews. After collecting and organizing field notes and interview responses, distinct similarities emerged between participating teachers' approaches to classroom management and discipline. My research revealed that teachers use a variety of different tools for classroom management and none subscribe completely to anyone commercial program. I found that each teacher's classroom management strategies do not necessarily stem from a firmly rooted philosophy on discipline, but rather most teachers rely on a variety of discipline strategies and techniques and tailor them to suit their needs. All teachers agreed that whatever discipline system is used, it must be fair and consistent and expectations must be taught to the students until they are clear. Moreover, the most effective discipline strategies are the ones that work for the teacher, the students, and the situation at hand.


Files are restricted to Pacific University. Sign in to view.