Classroom Discipline in Fourth Through Seventh Grade: Keeping Kids in Class

Brady Shilstone, California State University, Monterey Bay


Many students in schools throughout America are missing vitally important class time due to outdated and ineffective disciplinary tactics. Practices, such as expulsion, suspension, and being sent to the principal's office during class, seem to only exacerbate and extend the array of problems students encounter as a result of their behavior. As educators we need to shift our focus to solution based ideas that help students stay out of the office and in the classroom. To do this, my senior capstone examines the negative effects of missed class time as a result of misbehavior and how schools as a whole can improve their culture by reinforcing positive behavior and building meaningful relationships between students and staff. The research I conducted shows that lesson plans that are interactive, physical, and group oriented often prevent classroom disruptions from occurring in the first place. In addition, schools that use a whole-school approach see suspension and expulsion rates plummet. Research findings have revealed that taking these steps can ensure we give all students their best chance at a positive and productive future.