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60 Suggestions to Improve Classroom Discipline | by Beth Enloe Fritz

            The career of many a potentially fine teacher has floundered upon the goal of pupil discipline.  While good disciplinarians are not necessarily excellent teachers, excellent teachers are necessarily good disciplinarians in the enlightened sense of the word.

            Not only is good discipline imperative for the establishment and development of the successful teacher’s career, but it is also imperative to the success of the school.  Education cannot proceed without good discipline.  Youngsters encouraged to lawlessness by one weak teacher make the work of their other teachers just that more difficult.

            Good discipline may be described as a friendly yet businesslike rapport in which pupils and teachers work cooperatively toward mutually recognized and mutually accepted goals.  Distractions, frictions, and disturbances, which would interfere with the optimum functioning of the pupil, the class, and the school, are held to a minimum.

            The ultimate, unique achievement of good discipline is self-discipline on the part of the pupils.  Experience tells us that not all groups or all individuals are likely to become completely self-disciplined within the school years.  Yet that is the goal toward which we must strive.   Any philosophy of discipline that does not teach and instill the ideal of self-discipline within the group and the individual will eventually prove weak and ineffective.



  1. The first requisite of discipline is order. 
  2. Maintain the correct physical environment. 
  3. Have a place for everything.
  4. Maintain a neat classroom.
  5. Establish a set procedure
  6. Use seating arrangements
  7. Leave the front desk in the middle row unassigned. Use it as a “hot seat”.
  8. After 2 warnings, break up “talky” combinations of students.


     9. Set behavior standards immediately.

     10. Whatever your individual room standards may be, make sure they are reasonable, kept to a minimum, and well understood by the class.

     11. Insist on the general rule of only one voice talking at a time.


     12. Get down to business with the bell.

     13. Prepare your plans beforehand.

     14. Be definite.

     15. Set class goals.

     16. Sell your subject matter.

     17. Motivate your classes and individual pupils by every technique at your command, and keep them motivated.


     18. Much of the good morals and good discipline of the best classrooms is to be found in the inexplicable chemistry of personalities as they interact day by day.

     19. Be yourself.

     20. Act your age.

     21. Insist at all times on respect for grown-ups, for authority in general.


     22. Be positive

     23. Be kind but firm.

     24. Be consistent

     25. Be fair.


     26. Don’t be thin-skinned.

     27. Do your utmost not to dislike a child because of his actions.

     28. Don’t argue.

     29. No one is perfect.

     30. However timid, unsure, and ineffectual you may sometimes feel inside, try to project confidence.

     31. Don’t be afraid to show your sense of humor.


     32. Don’t make an issue of everything.

     33. Don’t threaten.

     34. Don’t make deals and don’t compromise your standards to win popularity.

     35. Understand pupil’s fads and don’t belittle them.

     36. Reject undesirable pupil behavior but never the entire group.

     37. If unacceptable behavior is widespread in your group, concentrate on the ringleader.

     38. Don’t punish the whole group because of the misbehavior of one or a few individuals.

     39. Action is more effective than words.

     40. Never give additional homework as punishment.

     41. Try silence as a means of checking misbehavior.


     42. Recognize unacceptable behavior for what it is – a symptom.

     43. Try to get at the root cause of antisocial behavior.

     44. Be patient.

     45. Don’t put off contacting the parents.

     46. Identify yourself with the class as a whole when dealing with a specific individual.


     47. Make the punishment fit the individual.

     48. Refrain from using penalties that are personally and publicly humiliating to a pupil.

     49. Avoid punishing in the heat of anger.

     50. Solve your own discipline problems before they need to be sent to the office.

     51. Give a pupil additional responsibility for remedying among his fellow pupils the very offense for which he is remiss.


     52. Visit the home in extreme cases.

     53. Communicate by letter or phone with the parents.

     54. Have the pupil write the letter to his parents informing them of his unsatisfactory behavior.


     55. Call a pupil on unacceptable conduct.

     56. If it recurs, move the pupil during class to the hot seat.

     57. If it continues to recur, move pupil to an isolated seat in the rear of the room.

     58. Get all information that is available about the student – counselors, former teachers, etc.

     59. Face to face conference with the parents and pupil.

     60. Referral to the administration if all else fails.

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