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A New Model of School Discipline: Engaging Students and by David R. Dupper

By David R. Dupper

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Additional info for A New Model of School Discipline: Engaging Students and Preventing Behavior Problems (Oxford Workshop Series: School Social Work Association of America)

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Often argues with adults,’’ ‘ deliberately annoys people,’’ and ‘ is often touchy’’) that can be used ‘ to justify treatment (and prescription of psychoactive drugs to get the young person under control) for behaviors not uncommon among infantilized teenagers’’ (Skager, 2007, p. 3). There is a need to fundamentally change the way that we discipline students in schools. In order to make this change we need to alter the way that we think about discipline and the adequacy of the current paradigm upon which our discipline policies and practices have been built.

This is especially important for children and youth of color and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds (Metz, 1983). Teachers clearly play a pivotal role in the ‘ disciplinary chain’’ that occurs in public schools. They frequently ‘ make the decision—often in a split second—whether to keep an incident contained within the classroom or whether to instigate the disciplinary referral that could lead to suspension’’ (Wald & Casella, 2006, p. 90). This decision is often compounded by potential cultural conflicts and misunderstandings between middle-class teachers and students of color and poor students.

Students need to work effectively with students and adults, be able to effectively communicate and problem solve, and continue to try even in the face of discouragement or failure. Fortunately, these skills can be taught to diverse groups of students and the Reducing or Preventing Student Behavior Problems 43 programs that teach these essential life skills are referred to as social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) (2007a), social and emotional skills include ‘‘recognizing and managing our emotions, developing caring and concern for others, establishing positive relationships, making responsible decisions, and handling challenging situations constructively and ethically.

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