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I appreciate all of your suggestions on how to deal with discipline and classroom management, but I must admit that the "old school" approach to all of this has worked best for me. I don't mean going back to swatting a student's hand with a ruler every time s/he gets out of line. What I suggest is a zero tolerance approach for certain misconduct. For example, if "unofficial" native language (native tongue not related to what's being taught at the time) is being spoken, send the student home for the day and call it an unexcused absence. Believe me, the problem will end there. Did your student not do his/her homework for that particular day? No, well, send him/her home. Do it with a firm smile, not yelling and screaming, and don't take it out on the rest of the students. You'll only be "preaching to the choir." S/he'll have it done and turned in on time from that day forward. Do you have a student that likes to send text messages during class? S/he won't anymore if you send him/her home for the day. Do you have a student who chronically arrives late to class, enters and greets everyone as if s/he were Jay Leno arriving on stage for his nightly performance? Solution: simply don't let him/her in the class for that day--voila! problem taken care of, and you'll have that student arriving punctually almost every day. If you have a student that fits any of the above-mentioned profiles or any others you have trouble with, to me, the message is clear: that student does not wish to be or is not prepared to be in your class and simply prefers to be somewhere else and decides to bring down the rest of the class in order to keep her/himself entertained. Let's face it, the "nice-guy" approach to discipline might be the politically-correct thing to do or maybe this is the current norm, but I say nip the problem in the bud by setting your standards at the beginning of the semester and this will set up for an enjoyable and successful learning experience for all.
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