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Ashleigh Fuchs

Professor Berkow
Engl-1C
March 18th 2013

Conscious Discipline
You just got to school after a long night of twisting and turning because your parents
were arguing throughout the night. Emotions are running wild but youre too young to
comprehend and deal with them. Your friends get stickers or toys from the treasure chest each
day for good behavior. Jealousy adds to your frustration, forcing you to have a more difficult
time controlling your emotions. Conscious Discipline teaches young children how to
understand and control their emotions. Conscious Discipline is the most effective form of
discipline in early childhood classrooms.
Dr. Becky Bailey, a well-known expert in early childhood education and developmental
psychology, is the founder of Conscious Discipline. According to Dr. Bailey, Conscious
Discipline consists of seven basic skills of discipline that develop character, cooperation, respect
and responsibility: the skills of composure, encouragement, assertiveness, choices, positive
intent, empathy and consequences (Bailey). Conscious Discipline is a new way of thinking and
speaking. You may need to change how you perceive and display emotions before having the
ability to change the attitude in your classroom. The first step is focusing on what you want out
of your classroom versus what you do not want. Using positive word choice during discipline is
the main idea of Conscious Discipline to allow you to successfully transform your classroom.

Conscious Discipline decreases aggression while increasing academic learning. According to


Dr. Bailey, Conscious Discipline classrooms scored significantly higher in statewide reading
comprehension, writing and math tests during a 1999 study (Bailey). While using Conscious
Discipline, you will eventually increase positive behavior in the classroom in order to save time
for academics.
There are several techniques used in Conscious Discipline that help children deal with their
aggression. Fidget toys are very helpful for a child to decrease anxiety. A stressed child can
hold a fidget toy which is usually a squishy or bumpy shaped object. They can easily hold on to
a fidget toy while continuing to participate in circle time and other activities.
Children use mental images to comprehend things. A great way to help a child deal with his/er
emotions is to use visuals. When talking to young children use hand gestures. Children
understand words that they can visualize. For instance, stop is a better word choice then no.
Conscious Discipline classrooms use photos throughout the entire classroom to help students
comprehend what they should be doing at certain times. For children that need extra guidance,
use index cards with pictures that represent Stop, Go, Think, and so on.
Throughout the day there are breathing techniques that you can do with the entire class or
individual child. These breathing exercises are fun for children. For instance, during a Balloon
Breath a child will stretch out their arms while taking breaths in increments to imitate a balloon
blowing up. Once the balloon is big and round, the child will blow out their breath, pretending
to deflate the balloon. This simple breathing technique will help the child calm down and
possibly forget why they were frustrated.

Also, Conscious Discipline classrooms use stretching techniques to decrease aggression and
promote concentration. Children can take a quick break and do a yoga position. To make it fun
for the child you can use a technique called animal yoga. A favorite position for child yoga is
the Cat Lift Pose. This is simple for children to do. The child gets their hands and knees and
lifts up their midsection while stretching out their backs. Dramatic play is important in early
childhood, and this gives them a stress release while pretending they are a stretching cat.
Finally, if aggression becomes too intense the classroom should have a safe spot to let a child
go to. This is usually a comfortable and relaxing area with fidget toys, family pictures and
pillows. It is a positive alternative for a time out. The child can use this time to calm their
bodies and take a break from class time.
Conscious Discipline promotes self-esteem while teaching valuable social skills. According to
early learning teacher Fran Churchey-Martinex, Your new way of responding will help children
develop kindness and self-respect, honor those different then themselves, solve problems with
compassion, and grow into responsible adults (Churchey-Martinez). With young children there
will always be conflict. Conscious Discipline teaches children how to use their words to resolve
conflict. When we change the way we approach conflict using Conscious Discipline, we are
helping the children gain self-esteem.
Nobody feels good about themselves if they are constantly being told what they are doing wrong.
Instead of focusing on what children are doing wrong, they need to be approached with how they
can do something right. In Conscious Discipline, teachers use words such as helpful and
hurtful instead of No and Dont do that! When a child realizes that what they are doing is
hurting somebody else, they will likely want to fix that. Children love to feel that they are doing

the right thing and being helpful. A great way to approach a child who did something
unacceptable is to use explanation. Say to the child, Was that helpful or was that hurtful? Let
the child respond. Then say, What can we do instead to be helpful? Give the child choices
instead of telling them what you want them to do. Likely, the child will want to fix what they
did and become helpful.
Do not use stickers, toys or bribes for a child to behave well. Instead, use reinforcement, high
fives and handshakes. You can even give children positive classroom jobs so that they feel
helpful. According to Hoffman, Hutchinson and Reiss, Kohns 1993 research states that the
use of rewards disrupts relationships, ignores underlying reasons for behavior, discourages risk
taking and undermines interest in immediate task. (Lorrie. L. Hoffman). Finally, if necessary,
use the safe spot instead of the traditional time-out so that the student isnt humiliated in
front of his/her peers. These simple changes in the classroom can make a huge impact on a
childs self-worth.
Conscious Discipline plays an important role in classroom management. According to Hoffman,
Hutchinson and Reiss, Teachers who practice Conscious Discipline create a positive school
climate called the School Family and learn specific ways to transform conflict into
opportunities that teach social-emotional life skills (Lorrie. L. Hoffman). Students feel cared
for and enjoy helping others rather than anticipating a physical reward for expected behavior.
Children in these classrooms often want to help each other and manage the classroom as a
family; whether its setting the table, cleaning up after lunch or helping friends put away their
toys. Finally, when a child has learned to comprehend and manage aggression, tantrums will
decrease. When a teacher spends less time managing behavior in the classroom, the children will
have more time to focus on academics.

It is clear that Conscious Discipline is the best choice for a successful early childhood classroom.
According to Dr. Becky Bailey, Research conducted in schools and centers using Conscious
Discipline shows that it decreases aggression, increases academic scores on state tests, decreases
impulsivity/hyperactivity in difficult children, increases collegiality of staff, and creates a
positive school climate. With Conscious Discipline, children benefit socially, emotionally and
academically.

Works Cited
Bailey, Dr. Becky. "Conscious Discipline Emotional Intelligence, Consciousness, and Classroom
Management." 2010. Learning Brain Europe. 5 March 2013.
Churchey-Martinez, Fran. "Conscious Connections." 2011-2012. A New Approach to Discipline: What is
Conscious Discipline. Document. 10 March 2013.
Lorrie. L. Hoffman, Cythia J. Hutchinson, Elayne Reiss. "On Improving School Climate: Reducing Reliance
on Rewards and Punishments." International Journal of Whole Schooling (2009): 12.