Disciplining in the Classroom: What Are Alternatives to Punishment? 5 Best Tips on Classroom Discipline Every Teacher Must Use

Punishment destroys self-esteem. I keep this idea in my heart as a teacher. Hence, the topic: Disciplining in the classroom: What are alternatives to punishment?, captured my attention; thus, I eagerly shared 5 creative tips on classroom discipline.

I hope you will read on and get inspired by these valuable tips in order to promote learning and develop a good relationship with your students.

The bottom line my dear teachers is we should not allow a student in our class to miss an opportunity to learn because of misbehavior. 

The importance of discipline in classrooms is highly valued by teachers. Because it encompasses the kind of relationship the teacher and students have. Classroom discipline is part of the daunting task of a teacher. This requires the effective classroom management skills of a great teacher, coupled with maximum patience and understanding.

alternatives to punishment


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If the relationship between the teacher and the students is built under the strong foundation of mutual respect, then classroom discipline and the learning environment can reach an acceptable level of success.

However, no matter how chaotic our classrooms can become, we should not let punishment come to the surface. Physical and verbal forms of punishment have harmful effects on the emotional and psychological aspects of the child. It’s one of the most important things all teachers must be aware of.

Every child in our care deserves our love and respect, no matter how diverse he/she is. The difference in learning styles and performance levels should not permit us to yell and slap our students. We should deal with student diversity with sincerity and compassion. As a concerned teacher, you should not make yourself ponder on what not to do but on what should be done.

Disciplining in the Classroom: What Are Alternatives To Punishment?

5 Creative Tips for Classroom Discipline Every Teacher Must Use

You may consider my thoughts regarding this subject.

Our students should not develop a negative idea that the teacher whom he/she should trust can cause pain or harm. This can be painful on our part too. Most significantly, if we truly are concerned with our students, let’s ponder on these 5 creative alternatives to punishment and perhaps we can establish a good rapport with our students.

1. Set clear and fair classroom rules and expectations

Nothing beats a calm classroom. Where students are conscious of their actions and are mindful of the consequences of their actions, there is productive learning. They keep in mind the limits being set and hold themselves responsible for keeping those limits.

I know that being a teacher is somewhat overwhelming and having students with disruptive behavior makes our job even harder. Let’s just answer the question. Are your classroom rules clear and fair to each student? Are they aware of these rules and expectations?

These things should be your first concern during the first week of the opening of classes. Your students should be guided on what to transpire in the learning environment and how they should behave in different situations. They should know that it helps when they raise their hands when they want to speak and can make a difference than shouting and giving out their answers directly.

A simple classroom rule of coming to class prepared does make sense to the students if implemented consistently. They know that you are enabling their skills and abilities to do their best in the classroom activities. Moreover, posting on the classroom walls all the things expected of them will help too. When they read the line, ‘Be respectful to all, this makes a child reflect on his/her actions.

Implement classroom rules that you see fit in your classroom and with your students.

2. Provide a safe learning environment

Building a safe learning environment will encourage the students to perform better and to be aware of their roles in the classroom. The learning environment directly impacts the behavior and academic performance of the students. So, as teachers, we should explore techniques on how to provide our students with the safest learning environment they deserve.

Since the learning environment plays a key role in the development of the student, it should be presented well and made safe for them. The more students feel at home, the more they are comfortable while learning, the more they display positive behavior. Thus, disruptions and conflicts will be avoided. This should include asking them what makes them more comfortable and engaged. Perhaps, asking them if they’re fine with the learning environment you’ve created will help.

While it’s true that every child performs differently from the other, the learning environment should be free from all forms of punishment. When there’s a punishment of any form, the students’ surroundings will have negative connotations, and it isn’t safe. But the learning environment should be made safe to help students become successful.

3. Unlock students’ potential to explore and learn at their best

What could you be doing to help students unlock their fullest potential? Giving out punishment based on students’ differences should never be shown in the classroom. This sparks a conflict and ruins the student’s self-belief.

Most likely, our students will perform against their will if they do it out of fear of being punished. This isn’t the best strategy to encourage students to do their best. As a teacher for years, I found punishment as an ineffective tool to boost student performance. As I desire to unlock my student’s potential, I get to know them very well, so I know what makes them happy and how to make them participate.

By knowing how each child learns best, I am able to provide appropriate learning activities that capture their best interest. I make a learning style inventory, so I will be able to meet the needs of each of my learners. By figuring out activities that best interest my students, they find learning fun and enjoyable. It’s challenging, but it’s worth it than giving out punishment to student imperfections.

4. Instill positive discipline

I emphasize good behavior in the classroom. For me, there are no students with bad intentions or bringing in bad behavior. Thus, I highlight the good points of having good behavior. When my students feel uninterested in learning, I wean it by providing interesting activities that suit their abilities and interests. I reinforce good behavior at all times.

However, the real scenario exhibits disruptive behavior and inattentive actions. What should be done? Will you resort to calling the child concerned, let them stand in front of the class, and reprimand him/her? This will not solve the problem, nor will it instill positive discipline in your classroom. Well, we can’t just ignore this problem, but certainly, punishment isn’t an option.

Keeping calm and staying dedicated to your effective classroom management strategies will do magic. Managing a group of students is part of our challenging role as teachers.

When the classroom is messy, the issue won’t be solved if you yell and pinpoint students who caused the mess. Just require them to clean up their mess before they go home will do. Require all of them and they will be reminded how you desire a clean and orderly classroom.

5. Incorporate collaborative learning

Cooperation and concern for one another should be developed in the learning environment so our students establish harmonious relationships.  As they work together to create meaningful learning experiences, they share their ideas and help one another to succeed.

However, dominance in the sharing of ideas in group activities can also result in chaotic schemes. That is why teachers should always be on a guard point by giving out rules and employing close supervision.

With the help of others, students can process concepts and create products easily. With this, they will be more motivated to participate and perform when they see that their contribution to the group makes a difference.

Although we provide differentiated instruction to struggling learners, we should not deprive them of the enriching opportunities for collaborative learning. This will make them feel welcome and important. Working in isolation for a certain task is very punishing. We should not let our struggling students feel a biased classroom environment for it affects their learning interests and diminishes their self-esteem.

By providing each of our students’ roles and jobs in a learning situation, they feel confident and will stay on task. Working collectively works wonders. 

6. Apply effective behavior management strategies

Believe me, our effective behavior management strategies can make a difference in keeping a child to learn at his/her best. Since not all students are alike in the classroom, we have to give that due consideration and not decide on the application of punishment acts to solve disruptions. This will just make the situation worse.

With a set of behavior management strategies, we can stimulate learning. When students are yowling all over, punishment tactics will make them stop in the meantime, but don’t instill in themselves the value of self-discipline and an orderly classroom. The result of punishment is very conditional and fleeting.

Our well-drafted classroom rules can help in managing student misbehavior. Moreover, when students are able to have a full grasp of everything in the classroom through your examples and explanations, they will be more stimulated to learn and thus avoid the display of inappropriate behavior.


Finding the best classroom discipline techniques can be daunting. Knowing the immense student diversity, this will take time indeed. But with our classroom preparations and creative ways to not let punishment invade the learning environment, we can ensure fun and productive learning for our students.

Our effective classroom discipline techniques will help us arrive at an organized classroom setting. This is an effective way of chiseling a productive and safe learning environment where everyone is given the best chance to succeed.

What else can you add to avoid the occurrence of punishment in the classroom? How do you make your students create success in the classroom? 

Drop a line below. Happy sharing!