Unit 3: Model & Design
Progress: Paradigms and Perspectives
At the core of Positive Discipline in the Classroom is student success. Challenging conventional notions of authority, power-relationships, and knowledge building, Positive Discipline (PD) reveals the peripherality of such archaic constructs. Students can – and must – not remain in the periphery any longer.
In this unit, please begin by reviewing your current curriculum for your class. As you make this assessment, consider the following:
- How do your lessons build collective understanding and knowledge?
- How much do respect and empathy shape the manner in which this understanding is developed?
- Does your curriculum embody the values of your students’ community identity?
- Do the lessons result in students needing constant remediation and assistance? If so, how is this affecting their ability to develop meaningful contributions in the overall classroom discourse?
While these reflections may feel inconsequential compared with the content you are tasked to teach, remember that your students’ sense of belonging characterizes much of their ability and desire to actively engage with the material and with the class. Consider how your perspective must progress in order to meet the depth of need in your students.
Observation: Find a Classroom
First hand observation and exploration in a classroom actively engaging the Positive Discipline approach is vital in grasping the truly dynamic contrast of this method with more traditional, punitive-based approaches. The following New York schools below offer vibrant curricula that embrace Positive Discipline. Their instructional integration of PD fosters a certain effervescence in the classroom that can only be experienced live. With a partner, please schedule an opportunity to observe a classroom. Actively take notes; share your thoughts and questions with the host teacher; then, discuss your observations and encounters with your partner. What is your response to this experience?
- Hudson Valley Sudbury School - 84 Zena Road, Kingston, NY / (845) 679-1002
- Montessori Magnet School of Albany - 45 Tremont Street, Albany, NY / (518) 475-6675
- Rudolf Steiner School - 15 East 79th Street, New York, NY / (212) 535-2130
- Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs - 122 Regent Street, Saratoga Springs, NY / (518) 587-0549
- Woodland Hill Montessori School - 100 Montessori Place, Rensselaer, NY / (518) 283-5400
How can participants use Positive Discipline for successful classroom management and in developing thriving curricula?
Friedrich Nietzsche famously stated "there are no facts, only interpretations." Take the values of your learning community and apply Positive Discipline as you trust it will best support cooperative and collaborative learning. What may be normative in your classroom this year may vastly differ from the next. Integrating this with our understanding of a progressive approach to classroom management, we see that learning can only truly flourish when the students and their experiences flourish. A strong curriculum can serve as the medium by which these connections between living and learning are made.
It is the intellectual gesture of true synthesis.
Final Assessment and Reflection
Ultimately, the curriculum in a classroom should articulate not merely the intellectual work and artifacts to be rendered, but vitally the culture of learning: both what is learned and the ways in which they are learned (Bielaczyc & Collins, 1999, p. 274).
Please take a few moments to reflect upon your understanding of Positive Discipline as a unique approach and as an empathic, respectful action in the form below. Consider the affordances and limitations of PD in terms of your own learning community and the curricula you employ to support and govern learning.
Thank you for successfully completing this mini-course. Children are ever-evolving in their intellectual, social, and emotional pursuits. As an educator, you have the immeasurable power to enrich creative cooperation; develop well-adjusted, engaged individuals; teach children how to think critically in a distracted world; and cultivate citizens of strength, respect, and empathy.
The Positive Discipline approach is a mighty tool - receive this call to build!
For more practical solutions and resources to classroom management issues, Positive Discipline professional development workshops are highly recommended.
Local workshops and events may be found here. Best wishes to you as you continue to endeavor in educating the men and women of tomorrow.