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Ten Tips for Maintaining Discipline

byJoePaprocki

1. UnderstandtheRoleofDiscipline

3. Don'tPanic

G ooddisciplineisnotanendinitself.The goalofyoursessioniseffectivelearning. Onecanhavegooddisciplinebutstillhave apoorlesson.Theroleofgooddisciplineis toremoveanyobstaclesfromaneffective learningexperience.

2. IdentifytheImproperBehavior

W hendisciplineproblemsarise,striveto remaincalmandincontrol.Communicating asenseofauthoritywhileremainingcalm isnotonlyeffective,butalsonecessaryin developingalong-termstrategyforcombating disciplineproblems.Losingyourcoolmay workforthemoment,butitunderminesyour credibilityinthelongrun.

B esuretoclearlyidentifythediscipline problemsthatyouneedtoaddress.Asthe oldsayinggoes,chooseyourbattleswisely. Onceyouhaveclearlyidentifiedthediscipline problemsthataremosttroublesome,youcan developaplanforaddressingthem.When identifyingdisciplineproblems,considerthe followingreasonsfortheimproperbehavior: · Boredom · mmaturityandegoneeds(seeking I attention,tryingtoimpresspeers) · ostilitytowardeitheryou,other H participants,theChurch,parents(some hostilitycanbeconsiderednaturalfor certainagegroups) · ersonalityclash(withyouorother P participants) · motionalproblem(familysituation, E drugrelated,guilt,innerconflict) · e"nature"ofreligiousformation Th (youngpeople,especiallypre-adolescents andearlyadolescents,don'twanttheir peerstothinkthattheyenjoyreligion)

4. Don'tInterruptYourLesson

O neofthereasonschildrenandadolescents misbehaveisthattheyknowitwillinterrupt theflowofthelesson,frustrateyou,andbring attentiontothem.Agoodcatechistlearnsto dealwithdisciplineproblemswithoutstopping thelesson.Byusingeyecontact,placinga handontheirdesk,orstandingnexttothe "culprit"whileyoucontinuetofacilitatethe lesson,youcanminimizethebehaviorwithout interruptingtheflowofyourlesson.

5. KeepParticipantsInvolved

W henparticipantsgetbored,theytryto createtheirownstimulation.Whenyousee thataparticipant'sattentioniswavering, involvehimorherinthelessonbyasking aquestionorgivingataskforhim/herto perform.Bykeepingyourparticipantsbusy andontaskrightfromthestart,youeliminate agreatdealofpotentialtrouble.

6. ideYourEye,UseNames, R

9. akeaFewRules,Explain, M

andMoveAround

andEnforcethemConsistently

I fyouarecompletelystationaryasacatechist, youinviteparticipantsfarthestawayfrom youtoengageinmisbehavior.Stayonthe move,walkingaroundtheroomasyouteach, andkeepingyoureyesmovingaroundasyou speak.Ifyouareansweringoneparticipant's question,moveyoureyesaroundtheroom sothatitisclearyouarestillspeakingto everyone.Mostimportantly,learnanduse yourparticipants'names.Oneofthemost effectivewaysofgettingaparticipant's attentionistocallhisorhernameoutloud, pause,anddirectthequestionortasktothem.

W henyoufirstbeginmeetingwithyour group,itisagoodideatoformulatesomerules withthehelpoftheparticipants.Depending upontheirage,youshouldbeabletoask themwhatrulestheywillneedtomakethe gatheringsgowellandcreateagoodlearning environment.Later,whenenforcingtherules, youcanremindthemthatthesearetheir rules.Besureparticipantsknowclearlywhat therulesareandenforcetheminaconsistent mannersothattheyknowtherulesaretobe takenseriously.

10. GettoKnowtheAge-GroupYouWorkWith

7. CheckYourSeatingArrangement

H owaroomisarrangedcanhaveagreat impactonbehavior.Yourseatingshouldbe arrangedinsuchawaythatnoparticipant feelsseparatedorremotefromthehubof activity.Ifaparticipantfeelstheycan"hide" fromyou,theywilltakeadvantageofthe situation.Makesurevisuallinesareopen. Likewise,ifaparticipantismisbehaving,it couldbethathe/sheissittingwithotherswho "eggthemon."Movingaparticipant'sseat caneffectivelyreducebadbehavior.

B esuretogettoknowaboutthe developmentalcharacteristicsoftheagegroup youareworkingwith.Somebehaviorscanbe moreeasilyunderstoodanddealtwithifyou haveaworkingknowledgeofthephysical, psychological,emotional,social,moral,and spiritualcharacteristicsoftheagegroup.Most catechistmanualsincludeanoverviewofthese developmentalcharacteristics.

8. ReinforceGoodBehavior

D on'tjustfocusonthenegative.Learnto focusattentionongoodbehaviorandreinforce it.Whenagroupisbehavingproperly,you canrewardthemwithaffirmation.Whena participantwhoispronetomisbehavingshows theproperbehavior,besuretoreinforceitwith positiveaffirmationwithoutgoingoverboard.

Joe Paprocki © 2007

[email protected] www.catechistsjourney.com

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