Classroom Management And Discipline In The Sunday School
If your Sunday school is going to reach into your community, you must recognize that many children who come will not know what is expected of them in a church setting. Discipline is a necessity in any successful Sunday school. Following are some steps to help you maintain control of your class.
PRAY! We often underestimate the power of prayer. As you pray for your Sunday school program, staff and participants, pray also specifically concerning the matter of discipline in your Sunday school. Ask the Lord to give the children eager, attentive hearts. Children who are eager to learn will not be discipline problems. Pray for wisdom for your staff. Often, teachers and workers create discipline problems because of their attitude or lack of experience in handling a classroom situation.
PLAN! Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Careful planning and preparation are a must if you are to have a Sunday school that accomplishes what we feel it should. Plan opening moments thoroughly so that you will start well (and always on time) and proceed smoothly through the schedule. Never “play it by ear.” Try to foresee possible problem areas and have solutions ready. If students are expected to be interested and attentive, the effort must be put forth to present the lesson and class activities efficiently and in a manner that will command attention and positive response from the students.
BE ORGANIZED! The best plans, coupled with hours of studious preparation, may not produce the results you desire if you are not organized. Teachers must organize their rooms, their lessons, their visual aids and anything else that will affect the Sunday school hour and their presentation. The Sunday school will operate more smoothly when everyone involved knows what they are to do, how they are to do it, what materials they will use, and how much time they will have.
CHECK YOUR ENVIRONMENT! The importance of the learning environment is many times overlooked. A disorderly room often encourages disorderly conduct. Discomfort causes restlessness and lack of concentration, and distractions or disturbances break the train of thought being developed.
Be sure classrooms are tidy and attractive with materials neatly stored. Check on temperature and ventilation in each room. Try to provide furnishings that are the proper type and size for the child expected to use them. Carefully survey your classroom and seat children in such a way that distractions will be minimal.
DEFINE THE LIMITS! Always let children know what is expected of them. They like to know where their boundaries are. Remember that attention spans vary a great deal as children mature. Variety and physical activity in the class period are especially important when working with your children. Once the children have been made aware of the rules, discipline must be carried out in a consistent manner.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE! Manifest a POSITIVE spirit! Expect the best! Children usually live up to what we expect of them.
BE ALERT! Most discipline problems can be kept to a minimum, or avoided entirely, if teachers and helpers are alert to probably causes and trouble spots and remedy the situation before it gets out of hand. The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is never truer than in the area of discipline. Lack of discipline (or control) can ruin an otherwise excellent Sunday school.