Conscious Discipline

Kristine Grams
[email protected]
Andrea Hart
[email protected]
What is Conscious Discipline?
comprehensive social and emotional
intelligence classroom management
program that empowers BOTH teachers
and students
 Based in current brain research/child
development and developmentally
appropriate practices
What is Conscious Discipline?
 Promotes:
permanent behavior changes
in both teacher and students
 Goal:
provide systematic change in
- change from traditional compliance
model of discipline to a relationshipbased community model
What is Conscious Discipline?
Traditional model looks like:
- Rule based
- upheld by consequences
- in order to obtain obedience
- compliance earns rewards
- disobedience earns punishment
- persistent disobedience means removal
Tool used in this model: FEAR
Premises traditional model is based on:
- It is possible to control others
- Rules govern behaviors
- Conflict is a disruption of the learning process
What is Conscious Discipline?
 So
why change?!
- Brain research indicates fear is
detrimental to optimal learning and brain
- Both teachers AND students are
- Before we can change student
behaviors, we must first change ourselves
What is Conscious Discipline?
This program empowers teachers with 7 Powers
for Self Control:
Power of Perception: No one can make you mad
without your permission
Power of Unity: We’re all in it together
Power of Attention: What you focus on, you get more
Power of Free Will: The only person you can make
change is yourself
Power of Love: See the best in others
Power of Acceptance: The moment is what is it
Power of Intention: conflict is an opportunity to teach
What is Conscious Discipline?
Teaches 7 Basic Skills of Discipline
1. Composure: become the person you want
children to be
2. Encouragement: build school family
3. Assertiveness: saying “no” and being heard
4. Choice: build self-esteem and willpower
5. Positive Intent: creating teaching moments
6. Empathy: handing the fussing and fits
7. Consequences: helping students learn from
their mistakes
What is Conscious Discipline?
Creates classroom climate that models 7
Essential Life Values
1. Integrity
2. Interdependence
3. Respect
4. Empowerment
5. Diversity
6. Compassion
7. Responsibility
What is Conscious Discipline?
Teaches Students Basic Social Skills
1. Anger Management
2. Helpfulness
3. Assertiveness
4. Impulse Control
5. Cooperation
6. Empathy
7. Problem Solving
Becoming Brain Smart
Three Brain States
1. Survival State- takes place in the
2. Emotional State- takes place in the
limbic system
3. Executive State- takes place in the
prefrontal lobes *This is where we want
our students to be!*
Principle 1: Composure is self control in action. It is
a prerequisite skill adults need before disciplining
- Self Control is: being aware of your own
thoughts and feelings
- Without Self Control you may be turning your
life, and power, over to people, events, and
For example:
- “You make me so mad!”
- “Look what you made me do!”
- Self-Control must be priority #1
“When you lose self-control, you lose the ability to
discipline yourself or your children.
Out of control adults:
 Focus on what they don’t want to
 See things from only their own point of
“You broke the rule!”
 Would rather punish than teach
“Go to the office!”
Principle #2: Healthy, secure relationships require
that we control our own upsets. No one can
make us angry without our permission.
- Whomever you have placed in charge of
your feelings, you have place in control of you.
- Upset is not caused by another person, it is
triggered by another person
“We see the world not as it is, but through the lens
of our judgments about what is desirable.”
 Categories:
1. Assumed Intent
2. Magnification
3. Labeling
Skill #1: Changing trigger thoughts to calming
- 2 ways to change:
1. Calming self-talk
2. Refute the trigger thoughts
Principle #3: Start the day the Brain Smart
Way and implement stress redirection
Starting the Brain Smart Way uses activities to:
1. Unite
2. Disengage the stress
3. Connect students to teacher and each
4. Commit themselves to learning
Brain Smart Start
- Unity activities bring everyone together.
pledge, song
- Disengage the stress activities involve deep breathing and
pretzel, balloon, rollercoaster
- Connecting activities pull people together through touch or
eye contact
handshakes, waving hello
- Commitment/ affirmation activities help tap the power of
positive thinking
daily commitments
Skill #2: Reduce Stress
 3 Skills of stress reduction are:
- being able to relax
- being able to focus
- being able to breathe
Relaxation techniques:
- drain
- pretzel
- balloon
- stretching
Focus techniques
- saying hello
- feeling the heartbeat
- body tune up
Activities to Breathe
- belly breathing
- be a STAR
 Principle
#4: Your job is to keep the
classroom safe so children can learn. The
child’s job is to help keep it safe.
“My job is to keep you safe. Your job is to
help keep it safe.”
- Structure: Safe Place
Principle #1: We are ALL in this together.
Old way of thinking:
- one size fits all
- change occurs through getting other to comply
- students who do not adhere to rules can be removed
without damage to the whole
“Cooperation, not competition, is the cornerstone of
“Classrooms an schools need to embrace community…”
“Schools must think of themselves school families…”
School Climate: the mood or feel of the school
4 key factors that lend to the school climate
1. Physical Environment (looks, smells, feels
2. Social Environment (heath of relationships
and interactions)
3. School Routines, Rituals, and Rules (what
creates “order”)
4. Expectations (belief about how people learn
and change)
Routines and Rituals: The heart and soul of school
- Routines and Rituals are NOT the same
Routines: establish patterns, add predictability,
help regulate, set expectations
- Create routines for as many tasks as possible
(attendance, lunch count, snack, transitions, lining
up, arrival, dismissal, hygiene- tissues, hand
washing, using the restroom, etc)
- Systematically teach routines- picture
representations easy for young students to ‘read’
Rituals: Have connections as their goal
- Most important to creating the school family
- produce a calming affect
Types of Rituals:
- Greeting
- School Family Song
- Absent child
- New Student/Student moving away
- Holdays/birthdays
School Family Structures
 Friends
and Family Board/Book
 School
Family Jobs
 Ways
to be Helpful chart/book
Friends and Family Board/Book
 Display pictures of children and their families
 Helps students get to know one another
 Include your own family
 Classroom friends (principal, specialists, security,
School Family Job Board
 Each child holds a job
 Jobs should be meaningful and helpful to the
 Principle
#2: Contributing to the welfare of
others builds self-worth
Skill #1: Meaning Jobs for all (morning
message writer, greeter, kindness recorder,
visitor greeter, STAR helper, etc)
Skill #2: Service jobs for a school
community(keeping playground and
school clean, cheering on others, etc)
Skill #3: Noticing children’s contributions to others.
Notice strengths- ask students to share their
 Avoid ones that describe the strength as being
 Make student strengths public
 Basic Formula:
“You ________ so _________. That was helpful!”
 Steps for Noticing
Describe what child did
Relate how child’s behavior was helpful
End by saying, “That was helpful!”
Principle #3: How you “see” others defines
who you are.
 The manner in which you perceive others
defines who you are.
 What do you see?
Teacher A – “sees” a child off task. Says
“What should you be doing?”
Teacher B – “sees a child who need helps
focusing. Says “What would help you to
focus or…”
Skill #4: The “call for help” perceptual frame.
 Teachers play a significant role in how children
perceive each other and view misbehaviors.
 We can teach them that:
- Inappropriate behavior is bad and needs
- Inappropriate behaviors are a call for help
 Labeling a child ‘bad’ – 1 step process
- Step 1: deliver perscribed consequence
 Call for help – 2 step teaching process
Step 1: empower students to respond. *Go to the
victim first!*
Step 2: Use a “call for help” perceptual face. *Ask
what helps the student could use.
Principle #4: We are all unique, not special.
 Specialness prevents people from feeling
connected to one another.
Principle #5: Some forms of praise can be
 Effective praise relies on describing, not
Ways praise can be discouraging:
Too general
Relies on value judgments
Focus on how you feel or think teachings a child to seek
For only successful/completed tasks; effort doesn’t matter
Noticing children instead of judging:
Start with “You…”
Describe exactly what you see
End descriptive with a tag
Praise is about forcing our judgments of who we think they
should be onto our children.
Encouragement is about accepting children for who they
Principle #6: Children need
encouragement, especially when they
have made poor choices.
Encouragement is basically a dose of hope.
People need hope to feel safe.
Principle #1: What you focus on, you get
more of!
Don’t think about a purple alligator!
We must tell the brain what TO do.
Principle #2: When you are upset, you are always
focused on what you DON’T want.
 Skill #1: Pivoting, “About face!”
 Skill #2: Assertiveness- adults must set limits
When you focus on what you want, assertiveness
comes naturally.
Many times we fail to give students information on
what TO do
We teach others how to treat us.
Doubtful/unsure: invites others to boss and ‘help’
Assertiveness: lets us set boundaries to say no
when appropriate
Goal: to teach that speaking is more powerful than
attacking verbally or physically
You have a right and responsibility to say “No!”
Saying things like “I’m waiting!” or “Line up at the
door, ok?” puts students in charge of the
classroom- not you.
Assertiveness is a learned behavior. To learn it, you
Achieve self-awareness
Monitor your own thought patterns
Teach and utilize assertiveness in all relationships
Principle #3: Passivity invites aggression, aggression
begets aggression, and assertiveness dissipates
Wants to please
Longs to be perfect
Fear that decisions are not the correct ones
Aims to win
Uses you-me accusations
Speaks for others and acts as mind reader
Makes straightforward statements
Goal is clear communication
Assertiveness clearly tells children what to do so they may
successfully meet your expectations
You cannot be assertive if:
You quiz others
Think for others
Think about what other think of you
Assertive Teachers:
Tell children what to do
Send nonverbal messages “just do it” with tone
Are clear and direct
Give children usable information
Own and express feelings directly
Speak in concrete terms
Are conscious of the intent behind the communication
Skill #3a: Assertive commands to individuals
At eye level, make eye contact
State student’s name
Verbally tell what you want them to do
Touch student gently on arm
Use visual cues through gesturing
Skill #3b: Assertive commands to groups
Use a signal or unifying experience to get the
group’s attention
Teach an auditory and verbal signal
 Skill
#4: Tell and Show
If students do not follow an assertive
command, they are indicating they need
additional support.
 Step
1: Give assertive command. If ignored,
go to step 2.
 Step 2: Make eye contact (student makes
contact with you) and say, “There you are!”
 Step 3: Say “I’m going to show you what I
want you to do.”
Skill #5: I-messages help when frustration sets in.
Indirect expression of emotion attacks children. Direct
expression communicates with them.
I-messages are direct expressions. They:
Describe the behavior
Describe the feeling you are having.
Describe a tangible impact of the behavior
Describe a different behavior that is helpful.
“I don’t like it when you _____. It ________ because
________. Please _________ instead.”
“When you ________, I feel ________ because _______. Please
Principle #4: Children must learn that they teach
others how to treat them. They must learn to
assertively deal with intrusive behaviors.
Students tattle because they don’t know how to
solve the problem.
Skill #6: Tattling as a teaching tool.
Passive/aggressive tattling: attempts to get
revenge and punish the uncooperative person
Tattling out of fear: classroom isn’t safe, do
something about it!
Child feels intruded upon: child feels violated and
doesn’t know what to do to fix it.
Tattling usually takes on one of three forms
The child feels victimized.
The child witnessed someone getting hurt.
Your response: “Did you like it? Go tell ________, ‘I don’t like it
when you ______.”
Have them practice once or twice with you first, before sending
them off.
Your response: “I am the safekeeper. It’s my job to keep you
safe. I’ll take care of it.”
The child wants to get someone in trouble.
Your response: “Are you telling me to be helpful or hurtful?”
Many times the child will say helpful. Your response? “HOW is
that helpful?”
Have them tell you how they can be helpful instead of hurtful.

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