Model Behavior


You love kids–that’s why you dedicate hours preparing for
lessons and teaching them about God’s love. You’re committed to
teaching…but you could do without the discipline challenges you
face almost every time you enter your class. You’re not
alone–discipline is the biggest obstacle teachers face. Consider
these statistics:

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• 50% of classroom time is lost due to misbehavior and kids being
off task.

• 80% of lost time is a result of kids talking without

• Discipline is the #1 problem facing teachers in public schools

Children’s ministers everywhere ask for effective discipline
solutions. In fact, our 2007 Children’s Ministry Magazine Live
workshop, Come to Jesus, was focused on discipline–that’s after
hearing from you that it’s the #1 problem you face when working
with kids.

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Children’s Ministry Magazine went on a search for discipline
solutions in the top discipline models available. We checked out
what classroom management theorists say about discipline. We
discovered there are tons of effective discipline models out
there–many of which have been successfully adopted in public
schools. And one reason these discipline models are effective is
they do what discipline is meant to do–train kids to meet higher
standards of behavior. These models have endured because they give
teachers the tools they need to eliminate discipline issues.

The discipline models here focus on training kids to manage
themselves while addressing the root of discipline challenges,
rather than simply reacting to poor behavior choices. Read on to
get the low-down on how to implement the best discipline techniques
in your classroom today.

Assertive Discipline

Marlene and Lee Canter

This model is great for classrooms that lack an overall sense of
order, teachers who need a “nudge” embracing their role as the
classroom leader, and just about any type of discipline challenge,
from minor disruptions to overall chaos.

How It Works:

The Assertive Discipline model is based on the concept that
assertive teachers are more effective than wishy-washy,
nonassertive, or hostile teachers. It holds that the teacher’s
“job” is to maintain firm–but loving and humane–control of the
classroom. Teachers have the right to teach, and kids have the
right to learn. Classroom distractions and issues that impede these
rights essentially cripple the learning process. This model puts
the responsibility of classroom control on the teacher, saying the
teacher must insist on high behavior stand- ards as part of his or
her responsibility to maintain kids’ right to learn. Kids’ rights
under this model include the right to:

• have a teacher who helps them limit inappropriate behavior and
provide positive support for appropriate behavior.

• choose their behavior path with full disclosure of the
consequences that’ll follow those choices.

The Assertive Discipline model is one of the most commonly used
discipline models in public schools.

Apply It:

Borrow these pointers from the Assertive Discipline model for your
classroom today.

• Attitude–Eliminate your negative expectations about kids’
behavior. As the classroom leader, you can positively influence
your kids’ behavior–regardless of the problems they bring to

• Boundaries–Set limits and don’t sway from them. Enforce limits
with consistent consequences. Ensure that kids are fully aware of
the consequences of poor behavior choices.

• Demeanor–Be assertive. Don’t waffle or become hostile toward
kids. Stay firm and in control of your emotions.

• Expectations–Be so specific in your expectations that any child
from your class could instruct a newcomer on behavior

• Confrontation–Don’t ignore inappropriate behavior. Stop it with
a firm reminder of behavior expectations. Have a plan in place for
how you’ll deal with disruptions.

• Accountability–Correct children by name.

• Repetition–Use the “broken record” approach where you continue
repeating your behavior expectation despite kids’ excuses for not


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