Teacher III, Sta. Maria Elementary School, Macabebe West District

          A survey among public school teachers about the largest threat to school safety revealed that most common response is a lack of cohesive culture and positive relationships between staff and students.

          Educators believe that the secret to effective discipline is proactively building relationships with students, not reacting to student misbehavior.

          Teachers believe in positive approaches that emphasize social and emotional learning over discipline. Student conflict can be addressed through positive relationships within a school.

          While suspensions are effective for discipline, this is the same for classroom management training, conflict resolution, guidance counseling, and mediation.

          Teachers should go about building strong relationships with students and developing positive methods of conflict resolution. This however is only a starting point, as not all strategies work all the time.

          There should be an agreement to have classroom rules at the beginning of the year. This can prevent a lot of misunderstandings in the classroom, especially when teachers engage students actively in the process of determining a set of class rules.

          There should be expectations, which is a challenge. It’s important to have discipline methods throughout the school.

          Appropriate behavior should be present in the classroom. A classroom with a teacher who reinforces positive behavior has calm kids. Teachers, though, should not just correct students, but teaching them the right way. They need to be able to trust teachers and feel safe, which enables them to experience emotional health and flourish.

          Remember that when corrections are necessary, the situation should be handled quietly and calmly. Making a big deal of it in front of the whole class is a no-no.

          One effective approach to discipline is respecting students’ rights and maintaining student dignity. This leads to a school that is inherently safe; so that students and teachers would feel they are not in a fearful environment which leads to low expectations.

          When there are problems, it would do well to be neutral. Don’t provoke defensive comebacks and instead ask what happened and open the way for students to tell their story.