This model is developed by Lee Canter who is a child guidance specialist. He has established an organization in California called Canter and Associates, through which he provides training for teachers who want to become more assertive in their teaching. He and his wife lead workshops all over the US and the world.Canter believes that teachers have traditionally ignore their own needs in the classroom.
However, they have their own needs, wants, and feelings just as their students. For Canter, teachers must insist that their own rights are met in the classroom. These rights include :
The right to establish classroom rules and procedures that produce the optimum learning environment
The right to insist on behavior from students that meets teachers’ needs
The right to receive help in disciplining from both parents and school administrators when support is needed. Students also have rights. They have the right to have teachers who will limit inappropriate behavior, who will provide positive support for appropriate behavior and who will communicate how students should behave and what will happen if they do not.
Canters advocate that teachers must learn
to assert themselves. Assertive teachers clearly and firmly communicate
personal wants and needs to students and are prepared to enforce their words
with appropriate actions. They atttempt to get their own needs met and still
take into account the capabilities of their students. Teachers need to
communicate the idea that they care too much about themselves to allow
students to take advantage of them.They also need to show students that they
care too much about them to allow their inappropriate behavior to go
In simple terms, assertive teachers let students know that they mean what they say and say what they mean.
The assertive teacher is able to
identify wants and feelings in interpersonal situations
verbalize wants and feelings in a straightforward way
persist in stating wants and feelings
use a firm tone of voice
maintain eye contact when speaking
reinforce verbal statements with nonverbal gestures
Teachers, according to Canters, fall into
one of three categories regarding to their response styles to misbehaviors
of their students. These response-style categories are assertive, hostile
A nonassertive teacher is passive, often inconsistent and unwilling to impose demands on student behavior. He fails to let the students clearly know what he wants and what he will not accept.
Nonassertive response: “Please (almost pleading) try to stop talking while I am teaching. How many times do I have to warn you?”
Comment: Even while enforcing legitimate rules, nonassertive teachers have a tendency to plead. Asking students to try to stop talking is not really what the teacher wants. What he wants is the students to actually stop talking.
A hostile teacher address students in an abusive way. He often loses his temper. Hostile teachers and the behaviors they use, hurt students’ feelings, provoke disrespect and a desire to take revenge.
Hostile response: “Hey, you two. Where are your manners? You are the most inconsiderate kids I have ever had the misfortune of teaching. Now turn around and shut up if you know what is good for you.”
Comment: Hostile teachers see the situation as “me versus them”. They take everything personally.
An assertive teacher protects the rights of both the teacher and the student. With this style, he makes his expectations known to students in a calm and businesslike manner. He backs up his words with actions when necessary.
Assertive response: While continuing to lecture, the teacher moves over to the chattering students and says “Ahmet and Ali, the rule in this class is that while one person is talking the rest of the class will remain quiet and listen. I want you to stop talking, turn around and face front, and pay attention to the lecture.”
Comment: Assertive teachers act in a calm, confident and businesslike manner. They let their discipline plan do all of the work. The response they desire is clearly communicated.
In assertive discipline model, the teacher has to write out a discipline plan, gives a copy to the principal for approval and sends it home to parents asking feedback and suggestions. The teacher also teaches the plan to the students on the first day of the class.
In a teacher
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Assertive command: say name, gesture, touch, establish eye contact and tell the student exactly what to do.
“Ahmet, you knew the rules and you have chosen to break them, now you must experience the consequences (states the student’s name, points a finger at her, and then gestures toward the door and makes eye contact) I want you to stand, go out to door and go straight to the principal’s office.”
If the student does not do what is asked from her, then the teacher repeats assertive command three times which is called broken record, then follow with consequences. The broken record technique involves a teacher’s insistent but not mean repetition of her original message.The teacher repeats the reques as originally stated- like a broken record. Teachers should use the exact words, same tone, same volume each time the request is delivered.
Who-squad: After the fifth breaking of the rule, the student is sent to the principal’s office. If he refuses, the teacher gives 2 previously prepared letters to a well-behaved student to take to the principal. They come to class and ask “who”. The teacher points and says the name. The squad then escorts the students to the office. Corporal punishment is not a part of assertive discipline.
Suggested classroom procedures
Scanning: While working with a group of students, the teacher periodically looks up and over the remaining students in the classroom and gives praise statements to those who are actively working.
Circulating the classroom: “Don’t stay seated behind your desk” directs the assertive discipline. Get on your feet and move around the classroom.