Definition Of Insanity
Approaches to Discipline
in a
Comprehensive Classroom Management Plan

The definition of insanity, it has been said, is to repeat the same behavior or action with an expectation of entirely different results from the previous attempts. It seems that we could apply this understanding to many 'discipline' strategies found in schools (or society at large, even).

Discipline is more than punishing a wrong-doer. To me, discipline is the successful efforts of teachers, parents and students toward the student's becoming more adept at self-management.

The word Discipline, as defined by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, is from the Latin word: disciplina meaning teaching, learning, and also the Latin word: discipulus meaning pupil. Eventually, it came to be synonymous with the term instruction; or a field of study. Only recently has it been associated so closely with the concept of 'punishment'. (

The entire foundation of my Comprehensive Classroom Management Plan is based on positive approaches to discipline. The main tenets of this approach can be found in Alfie Kohn's writings and research. Specifically, his book “Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community”. Without seriously attempting to understand the individual students in my class, their nature, their culture, their needs, their dreams, I risk setting myself up, and worse, my students up for abysmal failure. The strategies and theories of Alfie Kohn, and other like-minded theorists, are interwoven into every aspect of my plan to the point of almost not being identifiable.

Bottom line: If I fail to lay a rock-solid foundation of positive discipline strategies, then the balance of my plan will collapse. That is why incorporating these positive approaches to discipline is key to my Comprehensive Classroom Management Plan.

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