I love this photo!
Not only do I relate to the discipline shown in this picture, but I believe the control and artistry shown by these children are beautiful.
So how do these children get here? Are they inspired by something they have seen, a teacher, a parent or a mentor?
How does one learn discipline? I don’t mean not talking when you are told to do so or not jumping on the couch, but rather the kind of discipline it takes to work at a skill or skills to attain mastery. This training in self-control is hard to teach. It is connected to motivation and the desire for intrinsic reward. That reward is the great feeling gotten from a job well-done or mastery of a task. This expertise is often thought as only for an expressed few who have the talent to get to that place. Should proficiency be on the list of expectations? It is used as a measurement in standardized tests to reach the expected grade level-for reading, writing or mathematics. How do we teach getting to that level? To some mastery in those academics comes without work. In something like music, ballet or sports, there is endless practice to get there. Shouldn’t that rule apply to everything and everyone? Should the student who easily reads at grade level be expected to do more so there is work involved? How will this student learn discipline?
I believe in learning something that takes time to learn. The outcome cannot be gotten there in a day, a week, a month or a year. The learning is a process. This process is not easy to teach these days with so much immediate and instant information available. Teachers and parents must model this process and the discipline that is needed to succeed at anything. Steve Jobs believed in the process. Try something, if it doesn’t work, try again. Fail. Great lessons learned. Watch yourself progress over time. Don’t imagine an instant end. The process is worth it.
Important Components of Self-Discipline in the Classroom
- Together students and teachers set goals and priorities for behavior.
- Learn to delay gratification of desired outcomes.
- Students apply themselves to their work, at whatever level.
- Teachers direct behavior and energy into acceptable channels.
- Students self assess – make judgments and decisions about their own actions.
- Moderate/evaluate students’ actions relative to the demands of teachers and peers.