The directions from the conference presenter were simple, “Stand up from your chair. Go to another table next to you, one with people you don’t know, and say ‘Hi’ to them as if they are your long lost best friend from childhood.” The energy in the room skyrocketed as everyone said exuberant hellos, high-fived, and gave hugs. The presenter then asked us to return to our seats and reflect on the feeling. Most people felt positive and happy from this small activity. However, a table at the front had been asked to remain seated during the activity. Other people could have approached and greeted these people, but not a single person did. The group of people at the front felt left out and uneasy. The speaker, Mawi Asgedom, used this activity to remind us of what happens in our schools.
As a mother of a three year old and a high school teacher, I've been thinking a lot lately about how positive discipline works in very similar ways in both contexts. We all know that discipline is key to effective learning environments, but sometimes we lose sight of the thin line between discipline and punishment. Now that most of us have settled into the summer, I thought it would be a good time to talk about some positive discipline concepts that work in high school. I'd love to hear your questions or technique suggestions in the comment section below!