By Mahmoud Boudour
Oujda, Morocco – One of the most common complaints of teachers all over the world is that of Discipline in Classrooms. A hot potato such as this is worth considering, if not investing due time on, normally, in pre-service training before we start the daunting duty of teaching.
However, it’s never too late, we –teachers and supervisors– ought to spend more time on this critical topic. From here, I call upon all stakeholders in our educational field to participate and share ideas. It’s the least we can do.
A lesson depends on many factors to reach an acceptable level of success, one of which is the importance discipline in the classroom. No one can deny that little to no learning takes place in a chaotic class. C
hatting between students, playing or even being busy with mobile phones can not produce an atmosphere conducive to learning. A teacher who is too lenient can’t be successful; on the contrary, he might even disturb neighboring classes. Thus, the only result is the creation of more chaos in our schools.
Administrative and ministerial regulations are tending more and more towards giving more rights to students at the expense of teachers and the whole educational system. Hence, we are meeting more challenges, becoming targets and even victims of students’ assaults. The examples are too many to quote here. They are not my purpose in this paper.
All in all, it’s become very rare to ask a teacher about his career without talking about the endless problems with students in the classroom; and not to talk about what happens during the days of examinations. Suffice it to say it’s become too hard for a lot of teachers, especially novices, to deal with such challenges.
From my point of view, and to get away from sterile descriptions of reality, the causes of indiscipline lie in problems at home, with friends, at school or even in oneself as a student. A student who is doomed to failure is actually demoralized and will cause problems. A student who has familial problems will add more. A student who is experiencing adolescent fluctuations will, too. Just to name a few.
On the other hand, a teacher who fails to set up his class well can also lead to misbehavior. If s/he shows that he isn’t capable or proficient enough in the subject. If he is too forgiving. If, especially, s/he is fragile, i.e. can easily weep before students at a minor breakdown in class.
Many of us may also be too firm and stern, never smiling and always frowning. This may seem successful; but, can this lead to a student’s learning? Surely not. An intimidated student will never learn, and if he does, it won’t be for long and he will always carry hard memories in his head, which will hinder his future performances.
Too often, it may not be worth making an issue out of minor acts in the classroom. Many trivial reactions lead to big confrontations and even assaults that result in police or court involvement. The results have often been disappointing to teachers.
The teacher’s personality plays a pivotal role in class control. A man/woman of values is respected and looked at as an educator not a mere teacher of a subject. A smiling and humane teacher will always be close to his students. A proficient and knowledgeable teacher will never break down in class and always stay firm.
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