In our classroom management course this week we were talking about setting up classrooms that avoid punishment (punitive discipline). I had the opportunity to review the works of one of my favorite researchers, William Glasser. He was a great educational thinker and often stated that we will not improve schools unless we provide curriculum that is attractive to students, use nonpunitive discipline and emphasize quality in all aspects of teaching and learning. The portions of his research that had the most impact on me over the years are his standards for separating 'boss' teachers from 'lead' teachers.
Boss teachers rely on what Glasser calls the 7 Deadly Habits: criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding students to control them. I think we are all familiar with teachers that fall into this category.
Rather than falling into the rut of being a 'boss' teacher, Glasser suggests that we become, 'lead' teachers. A lead teacher relies on the 7 Connecting Habits: caring, listening, supporting, contributing, encouraging, trusting, and befriending. The most successful classrooms are the ones led by lead teachers.
I have told my student teachers that if they start using one of the deadly habits, combat the temptation with one of the connecting habits. Our goal is to be lead teachers and provide a nurturing atmosphere for the students.