Classroom discipline: Is a desire to empower students a health hazard for teachers?

Year: 1998

Author: Lewis, Ramon, Burman, Eva

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Of all the activities which comprise the role of a teacher, classroom discipline is one of the most significant. It not only provides the opportunity for teachers to instruct students in their traditional school subjects.but it is also integrally related to the issue of inculcating a sense of responsibility in students. In selecting an approach to classroom discipline, some teachers experience, and have to deal with, tensions arising from their desire to utilise educationally justifiable models while still quickly and effectively gaining and maintaining the order in the classroom essential to ensure subject learning takes place,and teachers and students feel protected from threat.This paper examines teachers' estimations of the stress that arises when they are unable to discipline students as they would ideally prefer. More importantly, the way teachers cope with any stress which does arise is documented using the Coping Scale for Adults. The results indicate that teachers who report more stress are those most interested in empowering more their students in the decision making process. Associated with increased concern is a greater use of Worry, Selfblame, Tension reduction, Wishful thinking and Keep to self. The most concerned teachers also express a greater tendency to get sick as a result of the stress. These data suggest the need for professional development curriculum for teachers to assist them in effectively sharing power with students and in reflecting upon a range of more productive coping strategies.