Mr. Cunningham’s Discipline Techniques
The maturity of an adult such as Mr. Cunningham is a major determinant in his ability to employ positive discipline techniques. Dealing with children, especially in a group setting such as a class, where individual differences and behaviors are still in the process of being tempered to fit within the bounds of socially accepted norms requires the capacity to be patient and self-controlled. It is in recognition of his role in the social formation of children, that their future functioning in society is dependent in part on how he performs his role.
This maturity is complemented by knowledge of the theories of child psychology. The range of an individual’s physical and mental capabilities, emotions and responses to situations, needs and construction of reality generally differ when we consider chronological age. Children tend to focus on the self, have limited self-control or ability to focus and need much care and attention. They are not yet apt to conform to rules, they learn through repetition and live by a reality built around routines.
The use of positive techniques in effecting discipline in his dealings with children comes from the precise application of this knowledge. For instance, he analyzes a child’s behavior in terms of the context in which it occurs for him to understand that Meg’s disregard for a limit may not be a deliberate effort to disobey. He saw that consistently repeating, Meg will learn to adopt the desirable behavior.
He also viewed discipline as measures that should help a child develop him or herself and should also be in recognition of children’s rights. Thus, he sought to instill self control in the children through withdrawing from the situation as a responsible management of anger. Mr. Cunningham also inculcated compliance with rules through asking open-ended questions to help the children realize the rationale for such rules and appreciate why they should comply. In essence, he understood why children behave as they do and on the mechanisms of modifying them.