Assertive Discipline: Case From Practice

It’s the middle of October and although my students have been getting along quite well with our lessons and their social skills there have been a few who have been easily distracted and were disrupting the class. Then, James showed up and I instantly knew that he would be a handful. He did not seem to have first day jitters, we has overly confident and was beginning to disrupt the other students. He does not pay attention to what I say and he just goes on with his stories and jokes.

I knew that what James needed was assertive discipline. Assertive discipline was developed by Lee and Marlene Canter (1993), they observed that teachers were ill-equipped to handle disruptive students and the assertive discipline techniques would enable the teacher to manage her classroom effectively and to correct problem behaviors of students.

For James, I think the best approach would be to get to know James, a one-on-one session with him to introduce the rules and consequences of misbehavior is desired. In this way, James would be able to focus on what I have to say to him and he would not feel embarrassed if I reprimanded him in front of his classmates. I would ask James why he was behaving in such way and what was he thinking when he was doing it, I would also ask him whether he understood any of my instructions and I would repeat it in simpler terms to make him understand. However, I should be firm with him just as I do with his classmates to ensure fairness.

To inspire trust, I would communicate with James with respect and I would give him the time to learn the appropriate behavior through direct instruction. I would tell him exactly what not to do and what to do so he would not feel lost or continue with the disruptive behavior because he does not know what else to do.


  1. Canter, L. & Canter, M. (1993). Succeeding with difficult students: New strategies for reaching your most challenging students.  Santa Monica, CA: Canter and Associates.

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Assertive Discipline: Case From Practice. (2016, Jul 31). Retrieved from