Reflections on Module 3.1- moulding of human behavior through discipline

What are predominant practices in your home with respect to reinforcing behaviors and for modifying behaviors? Recall your past experiences where behaviorist approaches have been used to modify your behaviors.   Which experiences do you consider positive (helpful and pleasant)?  In the attempt to modify your behavior, can you cite behaviorist approaches that successfully modified your behavior/s but turned out to be unpleasant experiences?
Were there occasions wherein your behavior/s became more undesirable rather than improved? 
How would you prefer behaviors to be regulated and/or modified at home or in school?

By nature, I am a disciplined person and (somewhere), I expect the same from the people around me. Basic values of respecting time, respecting opinion of others is the legacy that I have received from my parents. I don’t remember having a very hard and fast behavior system at my home when I was young. Yes, my parents did expect good behavior from me and my sister and every time, we did something, undesirable, we were reprimanded. But in my entire childhood, I can only recall one incident of physical punishment given by my father to me. Usually, they would model the right behavior, give examples of other people around us,etc.

The story in my school was completely different. I still remember my Grade 1 teacher holding a wooden ruler in her hand and hitting the students on their hands for any discipline issues (I don’t remember being hit by her, thankfully 😉 )

In our school, we had a system of ‘+’ and ‘-‘. Good behavior would get you a ‘+’ and a undesirable behavior would earn you ‘-‘. Few ‘+’ together gave you the privilege to wear a silver/golden star on your uniform (high moments of student life). Few ‘-‘ would make you wear a black hole (Marina Trench moment ;-)) A student could work hard, exhibit good behavior, earn a couple of ‘+’ to offset a ‘-‘ . This system really worked- both positive reinforcement and punishment.

As a teacher, I also like a disciplined classroom. In the beginning of a new academic year, I convey my expectations to my students and together, we come up with essential agreements (a.k.a. rules of the class). In terms of positive reinforcement, I am not in too much favor of material rewards. When I see a student exhibiting a desired behavior, I praise and appreciate that student in front of the whole class and also ensure to share it with the parents. In terms of punishments, I set clear guidelines and try to adhere to these during the year.

Since our school is yet to devise a official discipline policy, I have been struggling with behavior issues over the years. Last year, I tried to implement the ‘+’/’-‘ system in my class and it really worked.

Schools and parents should work hand-in-hand in disciplining the students. As I have mentioned in my reply to Krishna-Pamela’s blog-post ( , students understand better if they are expected to behave in a certain manner , both at home and in school.

I have been struggling with this. I want my 9-10 yrs old students to be more responsible, more independent; however, at their homes, my students are looked after by nannies and are not expected to be accountable for any thing.

Over the years, I have seen a direct correlation between parents who discipline their children and students who are disciplined in school and do well academically too.


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