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Research and Results

Research used to develop Discipline With Purpose.

1. "Classroom Discipline" written by Dr. Laurel Tanner and published by Holt, Rinehart, Winston in 1978 is the basis for the Discipline With Purpose program.

Dr. Tanner worked as director of Urban Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. She observed elements of the learning process that students were able to do at developmental levels. Her work led her to the theory that self-discipline can be taught just like any other subject. Practitioners Barb Vasiloff and Paula Lenz, educators for over 25 years took Dr. Tanner's theory and developed the practice.

Twelve Principles of Classroom Discipline were used
as the framework for Discipline With Purpose.

1. The aims of education and classroom discipline are the same: to help children and youth become self-directed persons.

2. Discipline should be dynamic, helping pupils channel their energies toward learning goals.

3. Discipline is inseparable from teaching.

4. Discipline should change with the child's stage of development and help him/her move to the next step.

5. Appropriate behavior is determined by the rational demands of specific situations.

6. Teaching effectiveness, as perceived by pupils, invests the teacher with classroom authority.

7. Discipline is the ability to attend to a task.

8. No matter what the classroom design or how pupils are organized for instruction, the principles for effective teaching and discipline apply.

9. By identifying and dealing effectively with the factors under their control and influence, teachers can, in most cases, tip the ecological balance in favor of discipline.

10. Socialization requires the redirection of destructive behavior into socially useful behavior.

11. Ways of dealing with misbehavior should be consonant with developmental goals.

12. Basic discipline can be achieved only when basic needs, such as food and safety, are gratified.

2. To these twelve principles Discipline With Purpose added the following:

* Self-discipline can be defined as a person's ability to "wait".

* While they wait they think and process and decide the best course of action.

* Fifteen natural opportunities to practice "waiting" are already present in daily life.

* These fifteen opportunities, termed skills can be taught just like any other subject.

* There are four ways to teach the skills: Modeling, Infusion, Preteaching and the use of a prepared curriculum.

3. Effective school practices are incorporated into the strategies and curriculum of the Discipline With Purpose program.

DWP Promotes Literacy:

  1. The DWP program includes skills necessary for developing receptive and expressive language skills such as focused listening, being able to receive and give clear instructions, asking quality questions, and communicating effectively.
  2. DWP is designed for active learning by providing teachers with activity based lessons designed to promote student involvement and include verbal and written skill practice opportunities.
  3. The DWP program emphasizes developmental approaches to instruction to provide each student with the reinforcement and monitoring needed for skill development at each student’s individual pace.
  4. Student language development is encouraged through journaling about skill development and the emphasis on reflection of skill success by each student.

Entitlement & School Improvement:
After actively using Discipline With Purpose for 3 or more years educators have experienced the growth and establishment of a school culture that teaches all in the school community (students, teachers, parents, office and custodial staff) fifteen natural opportunities to ‘wait’ and delay impulsive behavior.  These fifteen opportunities called skills can be taught just like any other subject/curriculum.  The fifteen skills are integrated into existing curricula and weave into the school culture when consistently practiced and taught by educators.

4. Testimonials and self-assessments from schools who have used the program for three or more years include:

The Results of Using DWP for 3 or More Years

1. Dramatic drop in the number of office referrals.

2. Teachers, students and parents have a common understanding of: The difference between discipline and self-discipline All school and classroom rules Classroom discipline cycles and total school discipline cycles What will be considered serious "Big Three" actions The fifteen self-discipline skills and how they look/sound in action

3. Students learn about the 15 skill framework and begin to practice and use the skills on their own at earlier ages.

4. Large groups of students can come to order quickly and maintain Îfocused listening' during assemblies and in classes.

5. There is a consistent language and consistent expectations used when talking about student performance and behavioral challenges.

6. Skills are posted throughout the building as visual reminders of the behaviors expected in the school environment.

7. Parents notice the skills are being practiced at home. Children are encouraged to share what they have learned with others.

8. Teachers can use their preferred teaching style and also have at their disposal all the discipline programs that are available.

9. Culture of the school is defined in pre-teaching checklists which are used to give unity and direction to all school and classroom activities.

10. There is more staff unity and cohesiveness. Staff hold one another accountable for modeling the skills.

5. Research project completed by Dr. Elizabeth Kearney in 1997.

One hundred forty six (146) elementary teachers who were in schools using Assertive Discipline, A Social Skills model, Discipline With Purpose and no model of collegial planning were studied. The study was designed to answer three questions:

a) Among faculties who have adopted different models of discipline, are there differences in perceptions of common faculty discipline practices? (School-wide policies, goals and planned discipline strategies)

b) Among faculties who have adopted different models of discipline, are there differences in individual faculty discipline practices? (Teacher identification of skills to be taught, organization of plans to teach skills, and teacher reinforcement of student behavior that reflected the use of discipline skills.)

c) Among faculties who have adopted different models of discipline, does length of service make a difference in individual faculty discipline practices?


a) Discipline With Purpose trained staffs had the highest level of faculty cohesiveness. (4.11-3.49)

b) Teachers using the DWP model were more likely to choose the positive classroom practices found in the review of selected reference. (3.97-2.89)

c) No interaction was found among any of the discipline models and length of service. The differences among the three models were not a result of the length of service.

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