Volume 27, Issue 1 (1998)
School Discipline in the United States: Prevention, Correction and Long-Term Social Development
George G. Bear
Abstract: Since the onset of public education in America, the public has expected schools to develop self-discipline among children and to use disciplinary measures. These two expectations continue to be supported in both public polls and federal initiatives in education.This article reviews strategies used by the most highly effective classroom teachers to achieve the long-term goal of self-discipline while simultaneously achieving the short-term goal of classroom management and control of discipline problems. Research shows that effective teachers can be characterized by an authoritative style—a style that combines three types of strategies: classroom management and positive climate strategies for preventing behavior problems, operant learning strategies for the short-term management and control of behavior problems, and decision-making and social problem-solving strategies for achieving the long-term goal of self-discipline. These strategies are supported by research and theory in school psychology, developmental psychology, and educational psychology. They also are exemplified in three national projects, profiled in this article,that employ a comprehensive, broad-based, preventive approach to improving prosocial behavior and social problem-solving skills among children.
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