What’s the difference between discipline and child guidance?
Discipline literally means to teach; however, to many teachers, discipline means to punish. The problem is that punishment doesn’t transform attitudes and behaviors or produce lasting results. Punishment doesn’t create a caring community of learners. Rather than lunch detention, missing recess, or sitting in the hall, positive child guidance teaches the specific skills necessary to be successful in the classroom (i.e. respecting others, cooperating with others, and resolving conflicts with others).
The Search Institute (www.search-institute.org ) identified 40 Developmental Assets which children need to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. We believe that positive child guidance promotes a positive learning environment as described in 11 of the 40 Assets:
• My school provides a caring, encouraging environment.
• My parents and teachers model positive and responsible behavior.
• My best friends model responsible behavior.
• My parents and teachers encourage me to do well.
• I want to do well in school.
• I am actively engaged in learning.
• I care about my school.
• I believe it is really important to help others.
• I am personally responsible for my actions
• I am good at making and keeping friends.
• I try to resolve conflicts peacefully.
We all want teachers who will help our children develop the assets described above. We all want teachers who will create caring classroom communities that foster learning and academic success.
If our goal is to teach children to respect others, to cooperate with others, and to resolve conflicts with others, it won’t happen when they are sitting out in the hall or missing recess!
(c) Dr. Lynn Staley