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In the article a young boy recalls when a teacher asked him what she was doing wrong- he says "she says that we're supposed to know what to do. I told her I don't know nothin' unless she tells me."

This reminds me of when I had asked my students repeatedly to get quiet in line. Finally, I just started passing comments like "Are you doing what you are supposed to?" For the most part this worked; however, one day it didn't and one of my black males (my only one) yelled "Ya'll hush and be quiet!" He did this at the top of his lungs and the class was silenced within a split second. I said "Wow, you have better control than me." He responded, "That's what my mama does and it works every time."

I'm not sure if this was what my kids needed or not. I think for some his volume scared the living daylights out of them. But, it was something for me to think about - his mama does this, he's obviously okay with it, and he would respond to me if I did this most likely.

This got me to thinking about something else too. At my old school; the school where Sam is- I can remember my principal telling us not to raise our voices and to offer choices to our students. She continually said "our kids are always yelled at and told what to do; they need a place to feel safe." This school is predominately African American. I wonder now if these kids needed more authority over them than what our school was giving./?

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Erika M. Nelson


Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:09 pm
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I think unfortunately for some students if all they ever hear is a raised voice, then that is all they respond to. However, I also beleive there are so many students who are being raised by passive parents who just want to be their children's friend, that sometimes we as teachers have to speak with authority to grab their attention. Some students it does startle a bit, but for most when they hear your voice change or notice the expression on your face is different, then they realize you mean business. Just as I mentioned in class, several weeks ago my students were lining up and acting as if they had lost their minds. I calmly stood on the table, and without even saying a word, they looked my way and quickly followed procedures. Sometimes a small change in the norm is all it takes.

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Holly Timberlake


Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:01 pm
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I think it depends on the student. Just as all students learn differently... they all respond to discipline differently. I think we have to get to know our students on a personal level so we know what is effective for them. I have students who I can just look at them and they correct their behavior and I have other students who I have to actually squat down and make eye contact with them. For some of my students... I actually have to change my voice for them to respond. I don't think it's fair for principals to make generalized statements as to how teachers should handle their students. I think that as long as students are being respected, teachers should be able to differentiate discipline as well.

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Samantha Harris


Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:21 am
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I have been discussing this very topic among many of my colleagues at my school. I believe that we are starting to see the beginning of trend where parents simply don't know how to parent. Unfortunetly they are raising children who are at risk because of the lack of skills they are receiving in the home, simple things like: knowing they should not argue with adults, how to evaluate two choices for pros and cons and make decisions, and when a mistake is made understand they can't be saved by their parents, it is a time for learning.

Because of just a few of these skills children are not learning in their homes they do carry over into the schools. I also, try to give them choices and show them what types of consequences will be a result. However, it becomes hard when many parents don't know how to model these or want their child to "love" them so they don't. It is a battle every day to show children how they can grow in these areas. The underlying factor becomes that foundation from the parents and modeling to each child that your classroom is a safe place and a place where respect is not an option, it is necessary.

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Jessica Denninger


Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:21 am
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Yes, different children have different needs. Kids do get different types of discipline at home as well. So, as educators I think we do have to try different methods of discipline with different kids. Depending on how well you know a particular child and how they respond should give you an idea of what is going to work for each child. Sometimes a different method may get their attention for a while and may fade as the year goes on. So changing things up a bit is not a bad idea especially for those troubled students. I know teachers need to be consitant in the classroom but trying out new disciplinary techniques with different students may work in the long run. If a child keeps causing problems after being disciplined a certain way, a new strategy may work better depending on the child.

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Shea Richey


Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:23 pm
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I work at a school where the socioecnomic status is very mixed. Many of parents just whip their children and yell at them instead of teaching them the right way to behave (in a gentle manner). It makes me upset that parents are deciding to do this their children. When parents use this kind of punishment it does not teach the child how to act...only to fear. So when they get to school they don't understand unless a firm voice is being used. It kills me. I don't know that happy medium for some of students yet. I guess this is where we teach them at school this is how it is and at home it is another way. So they start to understand the differences between the two places.


Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:30 pm
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I agree that it totally depends on the child. If a child's parents yell at home but still respect them I think being firm can work. If a parent is abusing/yelling constantly with no respect and positive remarks then that child may come to resent whoever is speaking firmly to them...such as a teacher. This child may need to see that they deserve to be spoken to in a respective voice and encouragement.

This makes me think of the beginning of the school year. When I student taught, my teacher taught me that at hte beginning you have to be strict and firm and then you can let up in time. Wow does this work because they realize from the beginning that you have expectations and expect these out of all the children and when they find out they can't get to you...you can ease up with them because they know what you expect and will stop testing you.

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Melissa Ervin


Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:34 pm
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I started out the year firm and still have trouble controlling a few of the students. They have no fear of me or the consequences that follow their behaviors. When your homelife is one of chaos and fear, you really don't care how you behave at school. Several of the students live in an area that is full of violence and their lives are constantly in turmoil. I guess my behavior would not be good either if I lived in these conditions. I really don't know what else to do to get their attention. :idea:

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Debra Shook Manasco


Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:06 pm
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We have a no yell policy at our school as well, and I agree that yelling is not appropriate. It is our jobs to provide a nuturing, nonthreatening environment. However, I have contemplated those same ideas. Our students are so accoustomed to hearing loud directives, that the culture that is dominant in our classrooms can be ineffective.

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~Crystal Hendrick~


Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:27 pm
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