Self-Discipline Pyramid designed by Villa, Thousand & Nevin (2010, p. 173)
Level 5 - Wraparound Support
Level 4 - Somewhere Else Plan Level 3 - Life Skills - Long-term Support
Level 2 - Recovery
Level 1 - Creating a Caring Community
My educational philosophy is closest to Progressivism. According to the survey taken at www.authenticeducating.com, Progressivism "focuses more on the child than the subject matter." While other educational philosophies mostly focus on other aspects, Progressivism focuses on the individual - the student. This encourages students to share their interests and use those interests in their learning. As the survey also stated that a progressive eductional philosophy means that "learners should be active and learn to solve problems by reflecting upon their experience." But before we can get too far into Educating the students in the classroom, we need to touch on the classroom management aspect and how to make a classroom a place where effective education can actually happen. First, before anything else, the classroom needs to be established as a place of community. As Villa, Thousand, and Nevin put it, first we need to "Create a Caring Community." This means that the students need to have a place that is both safe and comfortable where they do not fear risk or failing, but rather welcome the failures so that they can learn. This also means that the rest of the class must be in the same position. Not afraid to take a leap and even fall sometimes. When we all fail, we learn to help each other and ourselves up. When the norms and expectations of the classroom are initially challenged, that is when it moves into Level 2 of the Villa, Thousand, Nevin Self-Discipline Pyramid. This Level is called "Recovery with Accountability," or also, "Recovery Methods that Maintain Student Dignity." This brings up two sides of a progressive teaching philosophy - 1. I want the students to be accountable for their actions. Whether good or bad, own up to it: this shows maturity, and 2. It impresses the idea that I don't want to humiliate or hurt anyone; I want everyone to retain their personal dignity and move on. The third level is the "Life Skills" level. Here students begin to learn interpersonal and social skills that will be invaluable to their lives. Many times these skills are referred to as "soft skills." At this level, the impact really starts to bleed the lines of inside and outside school. What is learned in Level 3 impacts you not just inside the classroom, but out in the world, too, and that's what my strategies in that level will do. Then it starts to get real. Whether we would like to admit it or not, we have all been in that place where our last button has been pushed and we go nuclear. Some of us are even good at hiding it, but it still happens, even to the best of us, sooner or later. Level 4 and 5 are somewhat linked, but I am still going to address them individually. When a student gets to this point, they are too emotional and trying to reason with them will often stoke the flames, if do anything. If a student gets to this point there needs to be a "Somewhere Else" that they can go, away from the class, but still in the school and staffed by adults, where they can get to a state of calming, thinking, planning, and committing to this plan on moving forward. This will be discussed more and I will give my strategies for dealing with it in the Level 4 section below. Finally, there is Level 5 - "Wraparound Support." It is really individualized support and similar the the individual support the a student with an Individual Education Program (IEP) might have. The difference here is that there is no other issue - no disability that requires a plan like this by federal law, but if the student in question has repeat visits to the "Somewhere Else" or "Planning Room," there needs to be this final step that is taken to try to identify the reason for such behavior and work on trying to fix it. This support is often ongoing and there is a reason it is the last level on the pyramid... it should hardly ever get to this point. Often times, Level 4 is the last resort... the plan when all else fails. But in the rare event that the disruptive behavior continues, we have this Level 5.
As already stated a few times, below are links to pages that individually deal with each of these levels and give strategies for dealing with each. It should be noted that this is in no one way exhaustive, but just the strategies I have chosen to employ in my classroom. I hope you enjoy browsing at your leisure.