Cheryl DePra's Design Portfolio


ETAP 623 Spring 2015 by Dr. Zhang | About Cheryl DePra | Positive Discipline in the Classroom

Intent of Project


The intent of this course is to equip educators with the classroom management tools of Positive Discipline. While the Positive Discipline in the Classroom mini-course will focus on early and elementary childhood classrooms, implications across grade levels will be addressed. Participants will be able to empower and encourage students toward success by embedding mutual respect into all aspects of their instruction.

Topics that will be covered:

  • What is Positive Discipline and why is it important?
  • Why are constructive guidance, encouragement, and affirmation so crucial?
  • What does Positive Discipline look like in practice?
  • How can participants use Positive Discipline for successful classroom management and in developing thriving curricula?

Needs Assessment


Instructional Problem

  • The substantial growth in disruptive classroom behaviors, disengaged students, and ill-prepared novice teachers is an instructional challenge that is as of yet inadequately addressed. Positive Discipline in the Classroom serves as a classroom management intervention course.
  • An examination of current classroom atmospheres and student success reveals that the need for collaboration and student-teacher alliance is imperative and presently understated amongst schools and educator preparation programs. Cooperative learning, facilitating connections between students and educators, redirecting negative behavior by modeling positive behavior, creating affordances for constructivist learning, teaching problem-solving, and fostering autonomy in learning are instructional objectives that must be dealt with.
  • Current methodologies for classroom management reveal climates that are antagonistic and lacking in empathy (Zaki, 2010), as evidenced by the increase in school-related brutality (Leary et al., 2003).

The Nature of What Is to Be Learned

  • Positive Discipline in the Classroom will equip educators with tools to develop a participatory, engaged student body by cultivating mutual respect, collaboration, and democracy in the classroom. Positive Discipline as relates to classroom management fosters higher order problem solving and critical thinking skills amongst students, as well as authentic, active engagement—so crucial for success in the 21st century.

About the Participants

  • Course participants are college-educated instructors with varying levels of teaching experience.
  • Many instructors are deficient in their ability to manage a classroom successfully with respect and democracy as guiding principles, rendering the instructional components of a lesson peripheral to behavioral disruptions. Both novice and veteran instructors will benefit from this course.

Instructional Content

  • I will implement a multimedia, participant-centric mini-course that will help educators prepare their Pre-K through Grade 6 students to think critically, to reflect metacognitively, to develop internal motivation, to mediate social and cultural challenges and disputes with empathy, creativity, and judicious problem-solving skills.
  • Positive Discipline in the Classroom accounts for the digitalization of modern classrooms and addresses balance between harnessing new technologies for the academic betterment of students within the context of effective classroom management.

Explore Instructional Solutions

  • Positive Discipline techniques show a drastic reduction in suspension rates in elementary schools (Platt, 1979), as well as normalization of the classroom climate and more vibrant attitudes and academic performance.
  • Studies also indicate that the social skills appropriated by students in Positive Discipine-oriented classrooms offer protective effects that carry well into early adulthood (Kellam et al., 2011).


Clearly, early exposure to Positive Discipline techniques has a myriad of positive effects on academic performance, personal and social behavior, as well as high school completion. The course will provide the educational tools to build classrooms founded on connection and respect, allowing for true teaching and learning to occur unimpeded.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

This mini-course serves to support and empower pre-service, novice, and seasoned educators who may have limited to extensive familiarity with new approaches to classroom management. The course reflects the various unique sociocultural backgrounds and experiences of each participant. Differing cognitive styles, varying exposure to and tenure in classrooms, as well as implications across various grade levels are carefully considered.

Participants can complete this course asynchronously at their own pace, requiring only a computer and reliable internet connection. Ideally, completing the course with one or more partners will facilitate greater understanding and authentic cooperative practice of various scenarios benefiting from effective Positive Discipline.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify principle characteristics of a Positive Discipline environment. (Gagné’s Verbal and Intellectual Skills)
  • Describe examples and scenarios of Positive Discipline. (Gagné’s Verbal and Intellectual Skills)
  • Evaluate students’ needs by regulating, training, guiding, preparing, and instructing them through an equitable, kind-and-firm, communication-rich approach. (Gagné’s Intellectual Skills and Cognitive Strategies)
  • Model Positive Discipline and facilitate mutual respect in the classroom. (Gagné’s Intellectual Skills and Attitudes)
  • Design a curriculum that embodies principles of Positive Discipline, mutual respect, inquiry, and democracy. (Gagné’s Intellectual Skills, Cognitive Strategies, and Attitudes)

Task Analysis

Course-Level Performance Objectives

Positive Discipline Performance Objectives.PNG

Essential Prerequisites

  • Participants are, or strive to be, practicing educators.
  • Participants have a functional ability to navigate an online Wiki-based course.
  • Participants can identify undesirable classroom behaviors.

Supportive Prerequisites

Supportive Prereqs.PNG

Curriculum Map

Positive Discipline Curriculum Map.PNG

Course Units

Unit 1: Identify & Describe

What is Positive Discipline and why is it important?

Unit 2: Evaluate & Explore

What does Positive Discipline look like in practice? Why are constructive guidance, encouragement, and affirmation so crucial?

Unit 3: Model & Design

How can participants use Positive Discipline for successful classroom management and in developing thriving curricula?

References and Resources

  • Bielaczyc, K. & Collins, A. (1999). Learning communities in classrooms: A reconceptualization of educational practice. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional-design theories and models: A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp. 269-292). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Kellam, S. G., Mackenzie, A. C. L., Brown, Hendricks, C. B., Poduska, J., Wang, W., Petras, H. & Wilcox, H. (2011). The good behavior game and the future of prevention and treatment. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 6(1): 73-84.
  • Leary, M. R., Kowalski, R. M., Smith, L. & Phillips, S. (2003). Teasing, rejection, and violence: Case studies of the school shootings. Aggressive Behavior, 29: 202–214.
  • Montessori, M. (1995). The absorbent mind. (Unknown, Trans.). New York: Henry Holt & Company, Inc. (Original work published 1949)
  • Nelson, J. (2006). Positive discipline. New York: Ballantine Books. (Original work published 1981)
  • Platt, A. R. (1979). Efficacy of class meetings in elementary schools. Sacramento: California State University.
  • Rifkin, J. (2010). The empathic civilization. Retrieved from
  • TeachingMinute. (4 May 2012). K5 case study: Positive reinforcements. Retrieved from
  • Zaki, J. (23 Dec 2010). What, me care? Young are less empathetic. Scientific American. Retrieved from