Beyond Discipline

The Beyond Discipline classroom management philosophy does not believe in classroom management through teacher created and enforced rules.  Kohn (2006) says,

There are few educational contrasts so sharp and meaningful as that between students being told what the teacher expects of them, what they are and are not permitted to do, and the students coming together to reflect on how they can live and learn together (p. 73)

This philosophy is clear that the classroom community in cooperation will determine the rules.  Having said that, the rules that the classroom community will follow a pattern of my choosing that contains most or all of these elements:

  • Each member of our classroom community has a right to be treated like with respect.
  • Each member has the right to a conducive learning environment
  • Each member has a right to the best behavior of him or herself and his or her fellow community members.
    • This includes interpersonal conduct
    • This includes academic effort.
    • This includes compassion and support.
  • Each member of the community and the community itself has a right to the safety and security of property.

As for consequences and rewards, “Beyond Discipline” explicitly rejects both.  Kohn (2006) says,

The real quantum leap in thinking is not from after-the-fact to prevention, where problems are concerned.  It involves getting to the point that we ask, “What exactly is construed as a problem here – and why?”  It means shifting from eliciting conformity and ending conflict to helping students become active participants in their own social and ethical development (p. 77).

In an emergency, I can rely upon Rudolf Dreikurs’ theory of “Logical Consequences,” the goal of which is their goal is “to teach children to understand, anticipate, and make decisions based on the consequences of their actions in the real world” (Hardin, 2008, p. 90).  However, this would be the rare exception, not the rule.  As per Kohn, behavioral issues will be dealt with through direct and community discussion and for the purpose of enabling self-discipline for each child.


Kohn, A. (2006). Beyond discipline: From compliance to community (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

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