Within classes around the globe, teachers are always bombarded with a few students in their classrooms that negatively impact their classes. There are the class clowns, the talkers, and the pretentious too cool for school kids, etc. Each of these groups contribute little in class as the teacher has to continually address these students whether individually or in front of the class. And despite what country you teach in, you will almost always have one of these students or a combination of them.
As a current college student studying education at a global level, teachers constantly deal with students with these issues. Whether in a large classroom in Western Africa, a small liberal classroom in Austria, an inner city classroom in the US, or even a small well-funded private school in US, every teacher is confronted with the difficulty of teaching with these types of students and making sure every student is focused and ready to learn.
In Vienna, Austria the school system is extremely liberal in comparison to the United States. With little threat of after school detentions (teachers in Austria can keep students after school, but they aren’t paid for their extra time and typically choose not to give ‘detentions.’), and a large amount of power given to students instead of teachers, Austrian schools have shown difficulty in keeping classrooms organized. In many cases students have the liberty to use their cell phones, talk, or walk around when ever they want. The teacher has very little control, simply because there isn’t much they can do in terms of discipline. The teachers and parents have figured that if the students want to learn, they will, and if they don’t, they simply don’t have to.
In Ghana (which is located in Western Africa), teachers have a large amount of control in the classroom. Teachers carry canes with them and if students are misbehaving they can get caned (a technique similar to that of the 60′s and 70′s in the US). Students have very little power inside the classroom, and is evident in their behavior and their dress. There is a strict dress code within certain schools throughout the country that stresses social order. Students both male and female generally have short hair (typically a buzz cut). For females especially, short hair reflects youth and stresses that grown women can only have longer hair. Within the dress codes, males are to wear shorts which reflective of their juvenile and youthful behavior. Only men (as the teachers do), wear long pants. The entire system is made for students to respect their elders/teachers, and to stay disciplined and focused during class.
Globally, discipline in the classroom varies from country to country. There is not perfect solution, however it seems that both of these examples (very liberal and very conservative) need balance. Austria for example needs to put more power in the hands of teachers to allow them to teach lessons that will not be interrupted by talking, the ringing of cell phones, or walking around. Ghana could incorporate less physical punishment in their methods. However, these are simply differences in cultures, especially mine. I can see methods in both Ghana and Austria that can enhance how American students can learn in the classroom, and I will take that with me as I develop as a teacher. How you handle your class is a matter of cultural value.
So how do you handle or discipline your class or students? Is it effective? What could you change? Is it worth to talk about discipline?
I’d love for feedback.
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