Creating an Affirming Classroom Environment and Discipline Practice (Half-Day Workshop)

In this workshop, participants will explore some ways in which the teacher can intentionally create a climate of affirmation, self-control, and support in her/his classroom. Through small group activities, large group activities, and direct instruction, the participants will reflect on the many ways in which identity informs both classroom interactions and home-school interactions. Participants will also examine the direct connection between discipline and empowering all students to succeed.

The participant will be able to:

  1. Explain how all members of the school community have multiple identities, such as race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc, and that some of these are more visible than others.
  2. Analyze how her/his own life-experiences have informed her/his understanding of identity, both in terms of others and in terms of herself/himself.
  3. Explain how identity informs the interactions between all members of a school community and classroom community.
  4. Explain the connection between discipline and classroom environment.
  5. Explain the rationale for creating a discipline process which is based on self-control and empowerment.
  6. Evaluate her/his discipline practice through the lens of affirming identity and empowering students and families.
  7. Identify reasons why it is essential to affirm the multiple identities of the students she/he works with.
  8. Identify specific ways that she/he can affirm the identities of the students that she/he teaches.
  9. Refine her/his teaching and discipline methods through the inclusion of affirming practices.
  10. Implement strategies to more effectively communicate with the families of the students she/he teaches.
  11. Implement strategies to reduce the degree to which race and class are predictors of student success in her/his classroom.
  12. Implement strategies to increase the success of all students in her/his class.

The assumptions which ground this work:
  1. I (the presenter) still have a lot to learn about racism, sexism, and homophobia, and I make mistakes every day.
  2. An affirming classroom celebrates and nurtures each individual student and her/his family.
  3. It is essential to step outside one’s comfort zone in order to affirm diversity.
  4. All students can be successful.
  5. We all bring our multiple identities with us, and some of our identities are more visible than others.
  6. Discipline comes from within.
  7. Discipline needs to be taught.
  8. All members of a classroom share responsibility for creating a disciplined classroom community.

The questions which ground this work:
  1. What is an inclusive classroom?
  2. What does it mean to affirm diversity?
  3. Why is it necessary to affirm diversity?
  4. What is the connection between discipline and creating an affirming classroom environment?
  5. What is discipline?
  6. How can discipline be taught?