Classroom Management Case Study
Most teachers have read a book or two on classroom management -- if not during their actual working careers then at least while they were in college. Generations of us teachers have been trained according to the latest wave of enlightenment, such as behaviorism, reality therapy, or logical consequences. All these approaches have a core of common sense and tidbits of wisdom, and all offer a canned solution to the gritty problem of managing a classroom of young people.
I have read a good number of books on classroom management, and none of them has made me an exceptionally good classroom manager. Please don't misunderstand: I do not mean that books have not made me the exceptionally good classroom manager that I am; I do mean that, despite reading all these books, I am still not exceptionally good at classroom management. However, I think I am a pretty good teacher, and I attribute this to my ability to adapt to the ever-changing environment of the classroom.
Dealing with Student Misbehavior
Teachers have their own share of experiences dealing with misbehaving students. The following incidents are part of my life as a classroom manager. In each situation, I used behavior modification approach in dealing with my students’ misbehavior.
There was this student of mine was much bigger than me. He approached me holding a chair above his said. I ordered the child to put the chair down and asked what he was doing. The boy said he was planning to hit me with the chair. After seeing my reaction, he said he was just joking.
Once, I asked a student who had been roaming around the room to please sit down. He twice ignored me. Finally, I spoke to him sharply, telling him he needed to sit down or leave. He complied, but not before making a very loud, angry cat sound.
A student threw a large book at another student in my class for no apparent reason. "Andy!" I exclaimed. "What in the world are you doing?" the boy looked at me indignantly and said, "But he was sleeping! I was doing you a favor!"
My students were doing an art project. A girl named Hannah asked where the scissors were, and I discovered another student wearing all 10 pairs of scissors on his hands. I told the boy to put the scissors down. "I can't," he said, walking around the room, opening and closing all the scissors. "I'm Stephen Scissor-Hand!"
My students were working quietly and productively at their desks, chatting with me and with one another, when the conversation turns dangerously to my personal life. "Ms. ----", one of them asked, "Did you actually want to be a teacher when you were a little girl?" "Why?" I asked suspiciously. They answered with another question. "Ms. Chase, you wanted to be a firefighter when you were little, didn't you? Can we call you 'Fire Marshal ----'? We think that would improve your self-esteem and then you wouldn't be so grumpy. Can we, Ms.----?"
In American education setting, behavior modification has been effectively implemented to improve student conduct, teacher performance, academic quality and productivity. It has also been used to improve various adaptive social and emotional behaviors. Behavior modification has been contributing toward making American educational system more effective and satisfying to students and school personnel, as well as to the parents. In education, behavior modification has progressed through a series of stages and growing pains, just as the field has in other areas of application. Alongside this progress are various issues that have resulted to many trends.
Behavior modification assumes that observable and measurable behaviors are good targets for change. All behavior follows a set of consistent rules. Methods can be developed for defining, observing, and measuring behaviors, as well as designing effective interventions. Behavior modification techniques never fail (Goldstein & Mather, 2001). Rather, they are either applied inefficiently or inconsistently, which leads to less than desired change. All behavior is maintained, changed, or shaped by the consequences of that behavior.
According to Goldstein and Mather (2001), all children function more effectively under the right set of consequences. “Reinforcers” are consequences that strengthen behavior and “punishments” are consequences that weaken behavior. Students' behaviors are managed and changed by these consequences of classroom behavior. Consequences of behavior are directly related to the events that either come immediately before or after them. To manage behavior through consequences they suggest that the problem must be defined, usually by count or description, design a way to change the behavior, identify an effective reinforcer, and apply the reinforcer consistently to shape or change behavior.
The effective use of behavioral and cognitive strategies in the classroom may appear daunting even to experienced teachers. However, changing the teacher’s behavior and strategies is often the most efficient and effective means of improving all types of classroom behaviors, both disruptive and nondisruptive. The building block of emotions and behavior likely contains the largest and most diverse set of problems encountered in the classroom. Problems of emotions and behavior can be effectively managed and changed in the classroom by first understanding the problems and seeing the world through the eyes of the preschool students, and, by then developing and using a set of intervention strategies on a regular basis (Goldstein & Mather, 2001)
The development of behavior modification in the classroom shares much in common with other areas of behavior modification application. Paralleling the development of behavior modification in the field of mental health (Ayllon, 1963) many early classroom studies were directed toward the reduction of 'noxious' behaviors. The elimination of disruptive unpermitted, out-of-seat, and other behaviors that interfered with ongoing classroom routines were frequently targeted for change. It appeared that educators eagerly embraced procedures that would ease their difficulties in managing students who interfered with classroom learning.
Whenever I am faced with a new, particularly challenging classroom management situation, I am dazzled by the brilliant inventiveness of student misbehavior and the lack of ingenuity of the folks who write the classroom management books. I have yet to meet a teacher as bad as the "bad teachers" or as good as the "good teachers" who populate the classroom management handbooks. Most of us find ourselves somewhere in the middle, struggling between compassion and exasperation.
Just so you know whom you are dealing with, let me tell you that I would never, for example, greet even my worst student with one of those awful "bad teacher" remarks: "Jimmy, why do you even bother coming to school?" But I probably wouldn't use a "good teacher" greeting either: "Jimmy! I'm so glad you made it to school today so you can share your own special insights with us!" I would probably just say, "Hi, Jimmy." Jimmy knows what I mean.
Managing Race and Gender Issues in Classroom
Minority students are more likely to be referred for disciplinary problems, to get suspended, and to receive longer repeated suspensions than are White students who share cultural similarities with their teachers. Many teachers and school counselors are becoming increasingly sensitive to the role they play in disproportionately disciplining minority children, and they admit that they are ill-prepared to handle many of the problems that arise in the classroom. Many educators feel that unruly, disruptive, and disobedient children are the largest problem in schools (Muscott, 1987). Children whose cultural backgrounds are different from their teachers (most of whom are usually White and middle class) may be perceived to be the cause of more problems in school than their White student peers who share a common cultural background to the teacher (Irvine, 1990).
The role of social economic status seems to also affect the amount of education that minority children receive. Specifically, teachers in middle income schools encouraged students to interact with each other more and to work cooperatively. These learning styles were not found in low-income schools (Hamilton, 1983). Further, teachers tended to call on well-dressed children more often than poorly dressed children and favored children whose parents participate in school activities (Irvine, 1990). Finally, in cases where both teachers and students were Black, the variable of race was eliminated, and social class becomes a significant factor on how the children are taught (Irvine, 1990). According to Apple and King (1983) the hidden agenda is not hidden at all. Specifically, the curriculum teaches the majority of racial minorities and low-income children that compliance to rules, dependence, and subordination is what is expected of them in schools.
Many school professionals are becoming increasingly sensitive to the role they play in disproportionately disciplining minority children. At the same time, they feel their training has not adequately prepared them to effectively and impartially manage their classrooms when problems arise (Mayer, Bullara, & Clementi, 1989). Part of the solution lies in classroom management strategies that will produce safe, positive, and productive classroom learning environments and at the same time reduce any mistreatment of minority children.
One of the most powerful contrasts between the education of boys and girls is the quantity and quality of teacher-student interactions. In academic situations, boys are called on more often and are given more time to answer (Sadker & Sadker, 1994), boys are asked more higher-level questions (Handley & Morse, 1984), boys receive higher quality interactions with teachers including praise and remediation, and they are challenged to find solutions to problems while teachers volunteer to assist girls (Sadker & Sadker, 1994). Gender-biased language and non-verbal communications used by both male and female teachers send distinct messages about gender roles to students. In nonacademic situations, teachers tend to assign classroom duties by gender, with girls more frequently assigned the role of helpmate (Grant, 1983). Also, girls are complimented on their hairstyles, dress, and neatness in school work rather than on academic accomplishments (Sadker & Sadker, 1994).
Gender inequities in schools continue to be perpetuated through gender stereotyped resources, instructional materials (Scott & Schau, 1985), and instructional strategies. Examples of bias in instructional resources include an absence or exclusion of females from books (Applebee, 1989), stereotyping both sexes, degradation of girls, and isolation of materials which related to women (Hall, 1988). Gender biased language, which distorts students' perceptions of reality (Scott & Schau, 1985), continues to be used in published materials. Even though textbook publishers have authors' guidelines for using non-sexist language, the guidelines are not enforced (Wright, 1985). Design of classroom activities and specific teaching strategies can also be biased in favor of boys. There is a tendency for teachers to choose activities, presentation formats, and teaching strategies which appeal more to boys than girls (Greenberg, 1985).
Gender bias in the classroom has a documented negative effect on children. Girls become less involved and undemanding of teacher attention (Sadker & Sadker, 1994). They may experience a diminished self-esteem and lack of confidence which results in lower levels of achievement (Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, 1992). Girls may limit career goals to traditional, domestic and nurturing careers, which are typically low-wage earning. Males are also shortchanged in gender biased classrooms as they are pressured to conform to male roles, some of which may be physically or emotionally harmful; they also develop a negative image of females in which they are viewed as being less capable (Sadker & Sadker, 1994) and experience a decrease in nurturing related behaviors (Berman, 1986).
Gender bias is so prevalent in American society and classrooms that it often goes undetected. In the fast-paced exchange between teachers and students, it is difficult to discern biased comments and actions. This in turn makes it difficult to convince educators that gender bias does exist in classrooms, By closely observing one teacher over a period of time, specific incidents in which gender biased language or behavior was evident can be recorded and analyzed. These observations provide clear, specific examples of biased behavior which might otherwise go undetected.
Consistency in Disciplining Students
Some common factors that lead to problem behavior in the classroom are (a) unclear, poorly specified expectations of students and (b) the lack of consistency in disciplining students when they do not fulfill those expectations. An unclear expectation, for example, might be that boys should take off their hats when entering the class. If the teacher does not consistently enforce the rule, some students may feel they are being treated unjustly. Further, if a student is singled out because his hat has a significance that the teacher does not approve of (i.e., gang related, derogatory message printed on it, and so forth), the student may interpret this to mean racial favoritism.
To prevent this type of situation from happening, the teacher should explain the rule and its function (e.g., gentlemen take off their caps when entering a room, or many caps have gang inferences so no caps will be worn in class). Second, the teacher should also follow through (she or he should not wear a cap in the class). Third, she or he should apply the consequences consistently. Explaining the expectations and maintaining it oneself is rather easy to implement, but what about remembering to require the expectation day-in and day-out?
One way that teachers can improve their consistency is through the development of rules of conduct for their class. Lack of consistency is often linked to poorly defined rules. For example, Mr. Clements has made a rule that all students should not be late, and any student who is late will be marked tardy. Jason is out of his seat when the bell rings but has been in the class for a minute or so. Carmella hits the doorway as the bell stops ringing and Mr. Clements informs her that she is tardy. Carmella states that she was in the class when the bell rang, and Mr. Clements retorts that she was not in her seat. Carmella tries to point out that Jason was not in his seat either, but Mr. Jones cuts her off and sends her to the principal's office for "back-talk.''
Scenarios like this one happen frequently in many classrooms, and they contribute to the problem. Negative rules tell the student what not to do, but they fail to specify what action is expected of the student to comply with the rule. Instead, Mr. Clements should have said, "When the bell rings, you need to be in your seat and ready to work." If the rule was stated as such, Carmella and Jason both would have been tardy. Rules should state positively what behaviors the teacher expects of the student. Once the teacher has posted positively stated rules, he or she often uses a disciplinary procedure for the enforcement of rule-breaking. What is the purpose of the discipline procedure? At times, the teacher wants the misbehavior to stop. At other times, the teacher wants the students to follow the rules. For example, it is common for a teacher to tell one student to stop talking, then, moments later, redirect another student who is also talking.
The best time to implement a classroom management program is at the beginning of the year so that students can learn the rules and expectations before they break them. Most schools have in-service workshops prior to the beginning of the year; perhaps a workshop on positive classroom management strategies could be arranged. To the contrary, the worst possible time to set up rules are when students break the rules or to have no rules at all.
Students often do not understand why a certain behavior is wrong one day when it was right the day before, or right for another student but wrong for her or him. For example, Ms. Livingston teaches chemistry class to tenth-grade students. Ms. Livingston offered an incentive for work completion to two students (who were White) by allowing them to bring food into the lab. Another student who was not part of the incentive program (and who was Black) brought food into the class. The teacher took the food away, stating that it is against the rules to eat in lab class (in fact, it was a school rule because of the chemicals). The student was confrontational with Ms. Livingston and was sent to the counselor's office. The student felt that he was treated differently because he was Black.
Another consideration in providing a positive and consistent learning environment for all the students -- especially for minority students -- is the role of the counselors. Specifically, what is their role in achieving the goal of equal treatment of all students? One strategy to achieve this goal is for the counseling staff to be the first line of intervention for the student as well as for the teacher. The counselor can offer guidance and school survival skill training to students and offer suggestions to teachers on successful programs that have worked for particular students in the past. The teacher can help this process by giving a copy of the posted rules to the counselor so the counselor has a reference of the teacher's expectation in the class. The goal is to have the teacher and the counselor collaborate on strategies that assist all students in being successful in the classroom. Administrators, too, can support minority students by setting up a forum in which teachers, students, and counselors collaborate to address the needs of the students.
Creating and maintaining an orderly, productive classroom environment has long been viewed as one of the essential elements in teaching competence. Not only is there little argument as to the importance of these elements from the common sense point of view, but research has also shown that a number of management variables are also correlated with pupil achievement (Good, 1979).
Studies in the primary grades (Anderson, Evertson, & Brophy, 1979) and more recently in the secondary grades (Evertson & Emmer, 1982 ) show that the more academically effective teachers in those studies generally had better-organized classrooms and fewer behavior problems. Additionally, research indicates that the key to managing classrooms effectively begins from the first day of school with a systematic approach, advance preparation, and planning.
While research has supported the importance of classroom management as a necessary condition for effective teaching, studies which have sought to train teachers in principles of effective classroom management derived from research are rare (Evertson, Emmer, Sanford, & Clements, 1983). Those that have been conducted indicate that recommendations and suggestions for teachers aimed at planning rules and procedures ahead of time, presenting these to students along with expectations for appropriate behavior, maintaining a systematic approach through monitoring student academic work and behavior, and providing feedback to students among other things, can result in improved student task engagement, less inappropriate student behavior, and smoother instructional activities when compared with a control group without such training. Experimental field studies showing the efficacy of such training have been completed.
While research on classroom management and effective teaching has progressed (Good, 1983), there has been at the same time interest from practitioners in using these results in inservice and preservice teacher training. In several instances, this interest has been both statewide and nationwide through various divisions of state education agencies, district and regional agencies, and teachers' unions.
There is a place for individual intervention in the work of a teacher, whether the student is affecting other students, the teacher's self-perceived effectiveness, or even when his/her academic strategies or behavioral patterns are detrimental only to his/her own progress and success in the classroom (Sudzina & Gay, 1993). There is often a need to formulate and implement specific individualized student programs for a short duration. Evertson et al. (1989) suggest some very specific and practical ways to develop and implement individual programs. From isolation to individual contracts to parent involvement to check or demerit systems, there are certain elements common to all individualized plans.
These include a team approach; the team minimally consists of the teacher, student, and parents, and often include other specialized administrative or resource persons. The team also includes a specific plan which is based on specific targeted statement of problem, goal clarification, steps toward remediation or solution, and plans for evaluation. The implementation period consists of gathering baseline and intervention data, as well as ongoing evaluation and possible changes in the plan. Follow-up usually includes reinforcement for goal attainment, refresher reminders, and long-term evaluation of residual effects, both positive and negative.
Most behavioral plans are derivatives of the original work of Skinner (1971), in what has come to be known as behavior modification. In recent years, cognitive interventions are added, so that the student is trained to process options, decisions, consequences, or other outcomes effecting behavior. Academic interventions cover a gamut of methods, from process remediation to tutoring to changes in work load or placement. The present study includes elements of major interest in the area of classroom management, specifically in targeting students, teaching students to set goals, implementing change programs, and evaluating programs. The team concept is present, and the participants have several sources of informed feedback. These include actual data collected by them in assessing goal attainment, on-site classroom teachers, the university class instructor and resources provided in that environment, and input from peers.
Self-efficacy is defined by Bandura (1977) as one's self-perceived ability to perform a task. Bandura (1986) and others have found that efficacy affects choice of activity, effort expended, perseverance in the face of failure, and feelings about performance. The impact of teacher efficacy has been studied much in the past two decades. Some studies have found strong correlations between teacher efficacy and teacher behaviors in the classroom (Gibson and Dembo, 1984). Others have found a strong positive correlation between teacher efficacy and student performance, student perception of ability and student self-efficacy (Midgley et al., 1989).
Teacher efficacy has been the basis of much current research in the field of education, particularly in relation to teachers-in-training. Teachers with a high sense of efficacy will be persistent in the face of student failure, more effective problem-solvers in classroom instruction and management, less frequently absent, have less attrition, and will possess more of what some have simply called a "passion for teaching". Measuring the teaching efficacy before and after an intervention should then provide a measure of the impact of the experience on one's perceived effectiveness, resulting in translation to success measures in the classroom environment.
Teacher Education Ethics
Feeney and Kipnis (1985) define professional ethics as a shared process of critical reflection upon our obligations as professionals. Ethical codes communicate a profession's distinctive responsibilities and relationships, both among practitioners and between practitioners and society (Katz & Ward, 1991). Kipnis (1987) describes ethical dilemmas as conflict[s] between two or more core values. They involve hard choices that force us to give up something important. Ethical dilemmas often test professionals' fortitude and commitment to maintaining exemplary standards of practice.
Noddings (1993) observes that individuals' emotions and personal lives should not be ignored and that culture and tradition color personal and professional interactions. Nash (1991) calls this perspective on professional ethics the character/structure approach. He notes that it has its roots in the occupational, political, religious, leisure, and educational groups of. Communitarians hold that even fundamental concepts such as justice, rules, rights, and traditions are intrinsically bound to individuals' backgrounds and experiences (Noddings, 1996). These critiques of liberalism center on an objection to its assumption that reason and rationality can lead individuals toward right solutions to personal or professional dilemmas. Communitarians maintain that caring and connection should be guiding principles overshadowing the objective application of rules and norms.
Teaching professionals must make sense of these contrasting philosophical orientations, both of which influence and inform their work. The traditional liberal perspective helps educators articulate appropriate standards and expectations; feminist postmodern thinkers remind them to put their rules and standards into a caring, communitarian framework. Practitioners can achieve faithful application of these codes when mindful of the challenges they face. Educators must internalize the ethical principles of their profession, learn the content of their ethical codes, and apply ethical theory with sensitivity as they work with students and their families, colleagues, and their communities.
Almost daily, newspapers include stories reporting incidents requiring teachers and administrators to exercise moral and ethical judgment. Teachers should be prepared to resolve skillfully such dilemmas as that created by the seven-year-old who faced expulsion for kissing a classmate (Lewin, 1996), or the first-grade teacher who wrote on her pupil's's face (Pen Stroke, 1996). Teachers must be sensitive to the ethical dimensions inherent in funding, grouping, allocation of resources and hiring decisions that will be a routine part of their work. Nord (1990) observes that some moral obligations are universal to all professions (i.e., to keep up in one's field, to maintain confidentiality, to avoid discrimination), and other obligations are specific to the profession of teaching. This realization makes us pose the question, Where do teacher educators turn when they must make a difficult decision, especially when it is not obvious how they should balance the demands of their conflicting responsibilities?
Teacher education may have neglected ethics because most people attracted to teaching bring strong character and high standards of personal morality (Strike, 1990). Individuals' morals are instinctive and idiosyncratic, however, and are unreliable to create a unified understanding of what it means to teach well. Professional ethics are public and specific, not intuitive. A code of professional ethics acknowledges that practitioners have responsibilities to their clients, the public, employing institutions, and fellow professionals (Macmillan, 1993).
The definition of professional invariably includes adherence to an applicable code as a necessary criterion (Katz & Ward, 1991). Professional organizations in business, law, public relations, and social work have codes of ethical conduct (National Association of Social Workers, 1994). Teacher education should be no different. Katz and Ward (1991) observe that a code of ethics helps teachers avoid the temptations unique and specific to their work while giving them courage to act in terms of what they believe to be in the best interests of the client rather than in terms of what will make their clients like them. Ethical codes offer teachers support when they face difficult dilemmas. A code lets teachers know that colleagues will back them up when they have to take a risky but courageous stand on a controversial ethical issue (Katz & Ward, 1991). Codes communicate what society can and should expect from professionals.
Conclusion and Recommendation
This journal suggests that classroom management is indeed vital to the learning process of both the students and teachers. The first section deals with the behavioral problems of students inside the classroom and how to deal with them. It is suggested that before any classroom management strategy can be successful in changing a student's behavior, that behavior must first be identified. The second section discusses issues in gender and race in the classroom. I believe that gender and racial discrimination in our educational system is still blatant, so there is really a need for a classroom management that is sensitive to the needs of every gender and race. Consequently, the third section deals with the consistency of school rules and their implementation. Consistency is important as students are increasingly demanding equality inside the classroom. The fourth section talks about the effectiveness of training teachers on coming up with an effective classroom management. The last section discusses ethics-related issues in education,
Specific behaviors must be targeted, for it is only specific behaviors, not general characteristics, that one can hope to change. When disciplining a student, do so calmly. Save emotional energy for more appropriate times -animated lectures, spirited class discussions. Be businesslike, polite but firm, as you go about disciplining a student. Even a misbehaving child is entitled to respect. When a student misbehaves, get on with the act of implementing your discipline plan. Skip the screaming, finger shaking, penetrating looks, and sarcastic comments. Implementing your discipline plan in a calm manner keeps the misbehaving student's attention on the relationship between his or her behavior and the logical consequences that flow from that behavior. The ongoing relationship the two of you have is far less likely to be weakened. Remember that although the discipline episode will pass, you and the student must work together for the rest of the year.
One important reason for remaining calm and businesslike when you discipline students is that your behavior will be a model for them. Discipline yourself in manners, voice, disposition, honesty, punctuality, consistency, and fairness Students will learn not only from the specific discipline you dispense, but also from how you dispense it. Try to catch students being good, not just being bad. Given that students' behavior in the future is, to a great degree, governed by the consequences of their present behavior, it makes just as much sense to reward good behavior as it does to punish bad behavior. In fact, it makes more sense.
Correction is an integral part of classroom discipline. How one corrects students can make the difference between achieving effective and ineffective results. More effective results are achieved when teachers individually correct and privately correct students.
To effectively use operant conditioning principles, one must be aware of the four available teacher-supplied consequences. These include positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, time-out, and punishment. As timeout, consider striking a deal with a fellow teacher so that he or she will take your "problem child" and you will take his or hers. This is a less drastic and less punitive, as well a more pedagogically sound, classroom management technique than putting John out in the hall or sending him to the office. The technique removes John from an environment in which, at least for the present, he is having trouble coping.
The purpose of striking a deal with a fellow teacher is not to embarrass or punish the child -- that is a whole separate operant learning consequence called punishment. The purpose is simply to place the child in a different environment where he can once again get back at task. There should be no particular fanfare and no fuss made when the student is moved from one room to another. It should not be tongue lashing, or calling the sixth grader a "little second grader." Time-out as a classroom management technique is not punishment.
If a student misbehaves, deal with that misbehavior in a calm, confident, and fair manner. Discipline the child according to the offense committed. Supply your logical consequences. Avoid holding a grudge.
Students already have friends. In most cases, they do not need a teacher as still one more friend -- at least not in the same sense that they view their other friends. Their friends, usually their peers, are very special to them and serve a unique support function in their lives now and in the future. Parents (guardians), too, are unique and serve a special support role. Teachers have a role to play in a student's life, and it is one that is different from the student's peers or parents. Blurring this distinction can cause problems for teachers when they are called upon to establish and maintain classroom discipline. Teachers must keep in mind the primary reason for which they have been hired -- to keep the learning act afloat. This is what teachers, as professionals, should do best. Part of the job of teaching is establishing and maintaining classroom management.
Dress professionally. Act professionally. Have in mind your objectives for the day and how you plan to accomplish them. Do not permit students to call you by your first name. You may wish to return the courtesy by calling them by "Mr." or "Miss." Do not go to student parties. Do not drive students to or from school. Be mindful of telling or listening to student jokes -especially if they are off-color or of an ethic or racial nature. Too often, jokes stress little else. Do not continue to engage in conversations that appear to treat you as one of them and other teachers as belonging to some other group. Don't mislead students into thinking otherwise.
What students look for in a classroom is justice, equity, and fairness. When they perceive that justice does not exist, one can expect them to act -maybe even act out. Teachers commonly find themselves in the role of both judge and jury when it comes to classroom management. In fact, teachers not only may be the judge and jury, but often they are also the accuser.
Take, for instance, the student who is accused of something by his or her teacher. How prepared is the teacher, now playing the role of judge, to ensure procedural fairness? Although one would expect the teacher, now playing the role of prosecuting attorney, to do so with spirit and determination, who will act as the student's defense attorney? How able is the teacher, now asked to play a role of jury, to render a fair and impartial decision? The point is that teachers are asked to assume several roles related to ensuring that justice is served. I would ask teachers to be aware of what to discipline and to keep the power that goes with this responsibility in check. Be the judge, be the jury, but govern your actions by sound judgment.
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