REFLECTION: What kind of discipline style do you use as a teacher?



Uninvolved: “I have little interest in you. Do whatever you do.”

Permissive: “I care about you. Do whatever you want to do.”

Authoritarian: “Do it because I said so!”

Authoritative: “I care about you and I have high expectations for your behaviour.”

What’s your discipline style?


Each of these styles is characterised by certain adult attitudes and strategies related to the four social dimensions of: control, communication, maturity demands, and nurturance.

The differences in discipline style result from the different combinations of the four social dimensions:

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Obviously from time to time all adults demonstrates the behaviours of all four styles, but most adults gravitate towards one style over the others.


What are the pros and cons of using each style in the classroom?

When could/should each style be used in a classroom situation?


An authoritative discipline style is said to be an effective way to promote self-regulation in children. Teachers can change their discipline style to an authoritative style. A teacher’s style is not fixed due to their character.


These strategies exemplify an authoritative approach:

* Develop positive relationships with children

* Model desirable behaviours

* Emphasise cooperation over competition

* Help children learn to negotiate and resolve their differences peacefully

* Involve children in discussing and helping to make classroom rules

* Set limits when children’s actions could hurt someone, damage property or interfere with the rights of others

* Stop children’s unsafe behaviour first and then work on resolving the problem that prompted it

* Focus on problem behaviours that are important enough to deal with each time that they occur and ignore those that are not

* Remind children of rules matter-of-factly

* Connect reasons to rules

* Acknowledge the child’s pontiff view frusta and then talk about other people’s reactions

* Talk about their own emotional reactions to children’s behaviour, using “personal messages”

* Make positive rules and redirect children’s inappropriate behaviour by pointing out more acceptable actions to take instead

* Use positive consequences to maintain children’s desirable behaviours

* Use logical consequences to help children learn more appropriate conduct (rehearsal, restitution)

* Warn children of the logical consequences before enacting them

* Follow through when children fail to comply (acknowledge, repeat warning, set consequence) (consistent, immediate, predictable to children).

* Collaborate with family members to promote children’s self-regulation

* Adapt their guidance strategies to accommodate children’s special needs

 Early childhood educators must reflect on whether their expectations and the methods that they use to maintain them are age appropriate, individually appropriate, and socially and culturally appropriate for the children that they are working with.



Bernstein, D. (2013). Parenting and teaching: What’s the connection in our classrooms? Psychology Teacher Network, APA.

Kostelnik, Sideman & Whiren (2014). Developmentally Appropriate Practice. (5th Ed.). Pearson Education Limited: UK.



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