Inner Discipline

Description of Discipline

Principles of Good Discipline is when a discipline is used as a means to teach students how to take positive charge of their lives.
This discipline does not include punishment, because it is believed to be psychologically harmful to students by promoting anger, resentment and additional conflict. The authors believe the common response to punishment is fear, fight or flee. And as a result does not promote learning in an effort to avoid a mistake.

Inner Discipline provides opportunities for students to earn trust, assume responsibility and acquire power to make decisions. Give students the opportunity to solve their own problems. Provide guidance and structure to help them develop a plan.

Use RSVP: Reasonable, Simple, Valuable and Practical checklist to test a
consequence to solve problems - avoid bribes, rewards and threats.

Developed by Barbara Coloroso in 2002.

Based on These Beliefs

  • Students are worth all the time, energy, and effort it takes to help them become resourceful, responsible, resilient, compassionate human beings.
  • Golden Rule: “I will not treat a student in a way I myself would not want to be treated.”

Power is Perceived As

  • Student centered
  • Teachers must trust students with this responsibility and power.

Contributions to Education

1. Depicted classroom as places to learn problem solving and develop inner discipline.

2. Clarified the differential effects of consequences, rewards, bribes and punishment.

3. Delineates three types of misbehavior: mischief, mistake, and mayhem.

4. When good discipline is used it shows students what they have done wrong, has then assume ownership of the problem that is created, gives them ways to solve the problem, and leaves their dignity intact.


  • Instills responsibility in students.
  • Gives the students a sense of positive power over their own lives.
  • Gives the students opportunities to make decisions.
  • Provides opportunities for students to be able to learn from their success and mistakes.


  • System is easily manipulated.
  • If students don’t have the right self-discipline or moral, their own natural consequences may not be enough.
  • Systems will not work for students who don’t “care” about owning up to their own problems.
Anne René Elsbree,
Jun 6, 2013, 11:22 AM