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ERIC Number: EJ920355
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-0164-775X
Positive Psychology and School Discipline: Positive Is Not Simply the Opposite of Punitive
Bear, George
Communique, v39 n5 p8-9 Jan-Feb 2011
Historically, most educators have recognized two primary aims of school discipline: (a) managing student behavior, relying primarily on the use of teacher-centered techniques for preventing and correcting misbehavior; and (b) developing self-discipline, combining teacher-centered techniques with more student-centered techniques that focus on inculcating students with social, emotional, moral, and behavioral competencies needed to manage their own behavior. Research in the areas of both parenting and classroom management coalesce in showing that both aims are equally important. Nevertheless, in both the past and the present, it is not uncommon to find approaches and models of school discipline in which only one aim receives much attention. More often than not, it is the aim of managing or controlling student behavior, using punitive or "positive" techniques. In practice, developing self-discipline is the primary aim of most character education and social and emotional learning programs. This aim also is consistent with positive psychology. Positive psychology provides educators with guidance as to what it means for a program to be "positive" (other than simply being less punitive or negative). From the framework of positive psychology, a "positive" approach to school discipline has the following features: (1) developing character strengths and virtues associated with self-discipline as its primary aim; (2) emphasis on meeting three basic human needs: the need for competence, the need for belongingness, and the need for autonomy; (3) emphasis on developing behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that reflect character strengths and virtues associated with self-discipline; and (4) greater emphasis on techniques for developing self-discipline and meeting the basic needs of children, and on preventing behavior problems, than on using techniques to correct misbehavior.
National Association of School Psychologists. 4340 East West Highway Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 301-657-0270; Fax: 301-657-0275; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A